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At Death's Door (Freefall Volume 1) by Astrid V. Tallaksen

At Death's Door (Freefall Volume 1), Astrid Tallaksen, fantasy, supernatural, book review, On My Kindle Book Reviews

Source: I bought this book at Penned Con 2016.
Genre: Fantasy, Supernatural
Format: eBook, Print
Publication Date: August 17, 2014

Back Cover

The world is a pretty straightforward place. Even for medium Sara Stone things seem pretty simple, aside from the whole talking to spirits bit. But when the spirits get too hard to handle and Sara ends up admitted to a mental hospital, the world starts to seem a lot less straightforward. First her family disappears, including her four year old son. Then she gets the sneaking suspicion that not only are the staff at the mental hospital somehow connected, but they also have no intention of ever letting her leave the hospital.

Daniel reveals a world filled with angels, demons, and an impending war humans know nothing about. Sara wants to ignore her role in the whole mess – all that matters is solving the mystery of where her son has gone. But the forces of Heaven, Hell, and the Heart have other plans for her. Can she find her child before the world comes crashing down?


Sara Stone sees spirits and ghosts, which is why she wound up in a mental hospital. Nobody comes to visit her anymore; they disappeared, along with her four-year-old son. She doesn't play by the rules; she hates the hospital staff who are telling her that her abilities are "all in her head" and that her son is a figment of her messed-up imagination. Sara's not falling for it, but why hasn't anybody come to visit her?

After several months of isolation from the outside world, Sara receives a visit from a man she doesn't know by the name of Daniel. For some strange reason, he believes in her abilities and knows about her son. He also wants to help her leave the institution.

Unable to get any answers from this strange man, Sara must trust him in order to find her son. What she doesn't realize is that she must be prepared to face the forces of Heaven and Hell in order to find him.

Don't let the beginning fool you. This is not your typical "medium is warned by spirits that the apocalypse is going to happen" plot! Heaven and Hell are scheming to end up on top (figuratively speaking) in the upcoming apocalypse, and there's a lot of in-fighting going on in Heaven about the means that Heaven will use to thwart Hell.

The character building in this book is excellent! Tallaksen did a great of revealing the protagonists' history at crucial junctures without giving away too much and spoiling the surprise for readers. The chemistry between Sara and Daniel is well-written and meshes well with the revelations about the protagonists; which helps to drive the plot forward at a decent pace. My only complaint is that the plot slows down in some odd places. For example,  when Sara and Daniel are preparing to get her son back, the plot drags a bit. I'm guessing that this was meant to build suspense, but I found it a bit frustrating.

The plot is pretty complex. I liked Tallaksen's interpretation of the pre-apocalyptic machinations of Heaven and Hell. There were times when I thought I knew the direction that the plot was going and then Tallaksen added a twist; making what could have been a standard literary trope fresh and interesting.

For readers who enjoy pre-apocalyptic novels that explore the true purpose of archangels, without the overly dry and boring history of angels, I recommend that you give At Death's Door by Astrid V. Tallaksen a try.

About Astrid V. Tallaksen

At Death's Door (Freefall Volume 1), Astrid Tallaksen, book review
Astrid V. Tallaksen, author. Courtesy of Goodreads
Astrid V. Tallaksen grew up with a heart for stories of creatures and places outside of this world. Her love of reading quickly became a love of writing. She spent several years creating content and helping writers to improve their craft on the online world of Althanas, a creative writing workshop in the guise of a roleplaying forum. A self-avowed nerd, Astrid loves science fiction, comic books, and eighties fantasy movies in the vein of The Princess Bride and Labyrinth. Her geekiness extends to annual volunteer work at the massive sci-fi convention known as Dragon*con every year in Atlanta, Georgia. In the odd times that she's not immersed in geekdom or writing, Astrid loves to sing karaoke, crochet, and spend time with her family and pets.
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