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Heaven's Needle (Ithelas, Book 2) Mass Market Paperback – April 26, 2011


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Product Details

  • Series: Ithelas
  • Mass Market Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Pocket Star (April 26, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1439159165
  • ISBN-13: 978-1439159163
  • Product Dimensions: 1.1 x 4.4 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #300,930 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Liane Merciel's second novel set in the world of Ithelas comes factory-equipped with the deluxe High-Fantasy options package: a Manichean conflict between the virtuous priests of sunlight and the evil practitioners of blood-magic we met in the first book, The River King's Road. But Merciel tweaks the formula — and deepens her storytelling — by introducing a third element: a plague of pure chaos capable of tempting noble knight and nasty necromancer alike into despair, madness and unspeakable violence... Merciel splinters her narrative and discretely parcels out clues to the mystery so that the reader stays one step ahead of her characters — and watches in mute horror as they blunder into situations that could cost them their very souls." -- NPR.com

About the Author

Liane Merciel spent most of her childhood bouncing around the world as an Army brat. She has lived in Alaska, Germany, and Korea, and has gone camping in every one of the fifty states. Her hobbies include yoga, training rats, and baking cupcakes capable of sending the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man into sugar shock with one bite. Currently she lives and practices law in Philadelphia.

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Customer Reviews

Spend your hard earned money elsewhere.
giftbuyer247
Loaded with action, fans will relish this thought provoking look at the relativity of good and evil based on what the person's beliefs, baggage and situation are.
Harriet Klausner
That bit aside, the slight romance was well done, the teamwork between fighting characters was believable.
maeve04

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By R. Murphy VINE VOICE on May 6, 2012
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I really enjoyed The River King's Road, so I thought I was all set for "Heaven's Needle" -- but not so much. The writing here is extremely strong and descriptive, but what it describes is fundamentally disturbing and horrifying. A lot of really, deeply horrifying deaths, fates worse than death, and corruption of the mind. It's creepy stuff. The River King's Road had some fairly graphic stuff concerning the Maimed Witches and their use of pain as a part of worship, but Liane Merciel's introduction of the Mad God takes the disturbing elements of the first book and dials them up very significantly. It's all very well written, but at times starts feeling excessively gratuitous, and a bit piled on past the point where it was necessary for the plot.

If horror appeals to you as a reader, than go for it. It's a very intricate world, and not many people are writing horror fantasy right now in the larger markets. But here are my two best descriptions for it -- firstly, Liane Merciel would've been very at home writing in the old Ravenloft series, except that she's probably far too graphic for them. Secondly, this book reminded me very significantly in terms of themes, horrifying deaths of innocent characters, and the warping of characters' minds, to Stephen King's "Desperation." So just be warned before you pick this up.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Boomer49 on May 25, 2011
Format: Mass Market Paperback
It is as if a different person wrote this book compared to the River Kings Road.
Way too much discussion about magic and gods slows it down like an excess amount of rain keeps a garden from properly growing. You will be able to gloss over large amounts to get to the meat of the story.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Sneaky Burrito on July 16, 2013
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Heaven's Needle is Liane Merciel's second "Novel of Ithelas." It follows the events in The River Kings' Road though I hesitate to call it a sequel, exactly. The plot from the previous book did reach a logical conclusion, and maybe Merciel will revisit those characters in the future, but you don't necessarily have to read The River Kings' Road to understand Heaven's Needle. It will help you understand some subplots if you read both, though.

There is some overlap with subplot from The River Kings' Road concerning Kelland (a knight associated with a particular religious order) and Bitharn (a woman who travels with him). Kelland starts off Heaven's Needle imprisoned by some bad guys (Thorns). If you liked Kelland and Bitharn in The River Kings' Road, you'll be happy with this book because they're major characters. The only character who really undergoes a transformation, however, is Asharre (a woman who excels with weapons). She's unsure of her place in the world after the death of her sister, but agrees to go on a journey protecting Evenna (an Illuminer, which is kind of like a priest or priestess/healer). Asharre experiences a nice resolution at the end of the book, and you're left feeling glad for her.

Merciel does a couple of things really well in this book, and so I'll start with those. I feel like most of the major viewpoint characters had a lot of depth, including complex personalities and internal conflicts. They're also largely sympathetic because even though they sometimes have to make decisions and do things they don't want to, we can understand their reasons for doing so.

I felt like the pacing was excellent, as well. The major characters are nearly always in danger; it was hard for them to catch a break.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By maeve04 on May 17, 2013
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Alright, I'm a sucker for covers. Awesome artwork on the cover. If it had had a map, I would have been even more smitten. This book was such drudgery to get through though! I can't warn you enough about how many hours of gristle, guts and gore this book took me through! I was so distracted by the gore that I'm not even sure I got much more out of it in my memory, it was that distracting. I even read parts of it to my teenage son to demonstrate that yes, it was way too much gore! That bit aside, the slight romance was well done, the teamwork between fighting characters was believable. I think it could have used a map. The writing wasn't bad. Just, if shock value gore turns you off- people exploding, that kind of thing- skip this one.
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