Heaven’s Forgotten by Branden Johnson
Publisher: European Geeks Publishing
Publication Date: October 2015
Moira just wants a normal life for her daughter, Penelope. And sometimes, it seems like she has achieved it. Penelope is a sweet, smart, and precocious four-year-old girl. However, she is also the product of Moira’s affair with an angel. Her parentage gives Penelope strength far beyond what any child should possess. It also makes her the target of fallen angels who intend to use her mysterious powers as their way back into Heaven. Worse yet, one of those fallen angels is her own father. Now, Moira finds herself caught up in a terrifying struggle for Penelope’s life against beings more powerful than she can imagine. And when Penelope’s true power is revealed, it will shake the foundations of reality.
Suspenseful and action-packed, Heaven’s Forgotten demonstrates the power of a mother’s love against the longest odds in Heaven and on earth.
*I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review.
I honestly didn’t know what to expect from this story; because it’s clear from the blurb that though Heaven’s Forgotten is about fallen angels, it doesn’t really employ the usual myths that we all know about.
Moira has most things going wrong for her. She’s a young, single mother whose parents disowned her and left her to raise her child alone, and with virtually nothing to her name. Her daughter (Penelope) is a menace who has been kicked out of a number of day cares because of her strange fits of violence. There is also the fact that Penelope’s father is a fallen angel, which makes her Nephilim, and which explains her super human strength and strange behaviours. When Michael (Penelope’s father) suddenly reappears, hell bent on finding and killing Moira, a cat and mouse chase ensues. From there, things start to go downhill for most people concerned.
As far as characters go, Moira is very well thought out and portrayed. Her life is anything but put together, and she feels like a failure because it doesn’t ever seem like things will get better, or that she’ll start to understand her daughter a little more. I like the fact that the author was able to show in print how perfectly flawed Moira is without making her situation read as too farfetched (even though in reality, it is). I also like the fact that towards the end of the story, she wakes up and begins to think more sensibly (a fact that contributes to the more than satisfactory ending of the book).
I like the fact that even though the story gives the first impression of being primarily about Moira, the other characters are very intertwined in the story. The multiple perspectives also do a good job of reflecting the characters’ thoughts and emotions. I like how Penelope really wants to be good, but doesn’t seem to know how. It just shows how she’s- more than anything- a little girl; and the fact that she might know what’s going on doesn’t necessarily mean she understands it all.
The pacing of the story is just right: slow when necessary and fast when it’s supposed to be. I appreciate the author’s effort to revise the usual Fallen Angel myths; his own ideas work with the events that take place in the book, especially with all the drama and chaos. I’m usually not big on dark fiction (especially dark fantasy), but Heaven’s Forgotten is good enough to make you forget your hang ups (at least for a while).
In all, Heaven’s Forgotten is a book to be remembered. A very interesting story with lots of twists and a different approach, it is dark, exciting, and quite captivating. As a debut novel, it’s a job very well done.