Book Review: Heaven (The Afterlife Series) by Mur Lafferty
[rating:3.5] “What if you died and went to Heaven and it wasn’t all that? What if it was flat-out boring?…
“What if you died and went to Heaven and it wasn’t all that? What if it was flat-out boring?
Would you leave?
After their deaths, best friends Kate and Daniel learn that Heaven is not their cup of tea, so to speak. Roads connect the afterlives of all religions, including those from other times and even other species. But turmoil keeps churning back on Earth, and Kate and Daniel discover secrets between themselves, and secrets about the world they left, and they begin to wonder if their “aimless” wandering is part of a much bigger design.”
Heaven is the first book in ‘The Afterlife Series’ by prolific podcaster, Mur Lafferty. Initially a podcast series of the same name, Lafferty has found the time to adapt and adjust the book for the relaxed reader that may want to take a story at their own pace.
The book follows two main characters, Kate and Daniel, on their adventures post-mortem, as they wander through various afterlives created from the myths and legends of humans past and present, their path takes them from the Christian heaven, to the Greek heaven and beyond.
Kate is the first character that we’re introduced to, and we read the book from her point of view for the first half. Initially she comes across as quite wet, she’s the typical unrequited love character, and doesn’t seem to realise when she’s becoming slightly too depressing to be interesting. Lafferty does address this character flaw later in the book, turning her into a strong and independent woman, so long as you can get through her first few scenes.
Strangely the story doesn’t seem to know what to do with Kate, and the point of view switches to Daniel, quite suddenly, half way through the novella. The flip is quite the change to the structure of the story and suggests that half way through writing the author may have realised that Daniel’s character is more interesting, and he is.
The book really seems to pick up in the second half, Daniel has a purpose, a mission that he needs to complete, and he seems to be willing to do anything to do so. Daniel is the character that makes you forget one of the obvious problems with the book, and the series as a whole, which is that the main characters are already dead, the feeling of ‘well no harm can come to them now’ is dispelled in one great scene involving Daniel, not to give too much away, it’s quite close to the end of the book.
‘End’ is a loose definition for this book, in actuality it just seems to stop, and were it a physical copy it might have demanded flipping backwards and forwards a few times just to make sure you didn’t miss anything. The story simply stops after a threshold moment, and doesn’t even explain the moment in any detail, literally leaving the reader guessing. The reason for doing this could be obvious, the book is part of a series, and the author wants you to buy the rest.
In summary, the idea behind the book is interesting, even a legendary writer would have trouble pulling off the ‘already dead’ hook, and Lafferty does manage to get you to forget about it in parts, though not completely. The book is short, with interesting nods towards myth and magic, which make it worth reading. For less than a pound you could find considerably worse bedtime reading.
I highly recommend checking out Mur Lafferty’s other endeavours, such as her ‘I Should Be Writing’ podcast, which makes for great listening.
The book is available for purchase on the Amazon Store, priced at £0.77: Heaven
The author can be found on Twitter: @mightymur
The author’s page can be found here: murverse.com