In a way, I almost feel this review might be a tad redundant. That’s because I’m about to repeat and echo observations made by a number of other reviewers before me.
For example, I’m far from the first to tell you Rick Heinz immediately drops the reader into hot and heavy action in the very first paragraph of The Seventh Age and doesn’t slow down for the over 400 pages that follow. The book is dense, complex, and populated by a very strange cast of characters that include warlocks, vampires, demons, ghosts, shape shifters, sorcerers, mutant animals, as well as humans. In all this paranormal activity, earth as we know it is about to change as all these beings have different agendas about what they want to happen. There are apparently international rituals in the works to bring about a “Unification” and the resurrection of a super-entity named Lazarus to usher in a new age when magic will again rule.
In many ways, because of the layers of varying agendas and battles between the supernatural beings, trying to offer a useful and understandable synopsis isn’t really workable in a short review like this. Suffice it to say a human named Mike Auburn is our first point-of-view character in Chicago, a man who can see the dead. He meets beings who slowly reveal his important role in what is coming. Some of the supernaturals care nothing for humans and would be happy to wipe us out. Others see us as expendable inconveniences in the way as they invade earth from both Purgatory and Hell. Still others want to Shepard and protect as much humanity as they can in underground and street level battles. There’s a lot of blood, vampirism, and eating of souls. For those who enjoy conspiracy thrillers, there’s no shortage of secret societies who want to open or block the portals between the realms and keep their activities hidden from humanity as they plan a takeover of our planet.
One of my favorite aspects of this book is just how much Heinz is able to keep the reader guessing and surprised by what is going on, particularly as many of the characters you’d think are pure evil turn out to have far more mixed motives than you’d expect. While I can’t say my reading of urban fantasies is all that deep, I can’t recall a title in this genre with this much of an epic scope. This is especially true considering Dawn is obviously just volume one of this saga.
So, if you don’t mind your fantasy being on the grim and grisly side, the plot constantly challenging any preconceptions you might have as you go along, The Seventh Age is a chilling, engrossing read. Some books still prove literature can be very frightening indeed, even if everything is so fantastic that what happens can’t reflect real-world concerns.
This review first appeared at BookPleasures.com on Jan. 16, 2016: