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Edge of Heaven

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April 2119: in the ReserveNaturelle de l Auvergne, a dog walker makes a gruesome discovery - a badly decomposed body, half buried under a landslide. In that moment of horror, she sets in motion a chain of events that will bring catastrophe in their wake. Three hundred miles away, a bi-level city towers above the wastelands of Provence. This is Creo, a permanent relocation center for the dispossessed of a planet where livable space is at a premium. In the dark, honeycomb districts of the lower city, CreoBasse, Danae Grant nurses the sort of secret that can get a person killed, while Boston Turrow lives a little life and plans for a better future maybe even a job where nobody punches him. CreoBasse is not the land of happy-ever-afters, so, when they find themselves unexpectedly thrown together, neither one of them is prepared for the strength of their connection.

But a critical mass is simmering in the streets of the lower city. It started with the closing of the city gates and the gradual, insidious buildup of CDC operatives. In a city of almost 100 million people, shut off from the sunlight and fed air through ancient filters, they ve seen this sort of thing before but this is different. The night that Boston and Danae fall in love, martial law is declared. The city is dying, and no one knows how to stop it. Except Danae thinks she might have an idea. The secret she has been holding onto for so long may well be the key to ending the new plague, a pestilence that nothing else can stop. But stepping forward is tantamount to suicide. And then Boston begins to cough. Danae is going to have to make a choice: what will she give up to save the one glorious thing in an inglorious life?"

356 pages, Paperback

Published August 19, 2017

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About the author

R.B. Kelly

10 books13 followers
RB Kelly's debut novel, The Edge of Heaven, is published by NewCon Press and was shortlisted for the Arthur C Clarke Award and the ESFS Award for Best Written Work of Fiction. The sequel, On The Brink, was released in May 2022, also from NewCon Press.

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5 stars
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24 (40%)
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19 (31%)
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Displaying 1 - 12 of 12 reviews
Profile Image for Aoife.
1,288 reviews546 followers
February 7, 2017
3.5 stars

i received a free copy of this book by Liberties Press in exchange for an honest review.

It’s the year 2110 and 27 million people are living in an underground city called Creo, situated in France. As a mysterious virus makes its way throughout the city, Danae Grant tries to cling to a life that’s crumbling apart following the death of her father and an unfair eviction. She crosses paths with Boston Turrow, a young man struggling to care for his younger siblings after his mom walked out on them. Without knowing it, Danae and Boson’s relationship could be the key to help stop the destruction of the city they call home but it means revealing a secret Danae has kept for her entire life.

This is an incredibly detailed book that has a mixture of dystopia, science fiction with a touch of survivor story. There is so much in this book to love and RB Kelly worked incredibly hard at giving a reader a well-thought out and well-detailed story. It’s obvious a lot of work went into this book and it’s great to see a strong sci-fi book coming from an Irish author and Irish publishers.

It took me about 50 pages to really get into the story and that long for me to get a grasp of the world and what was going on. The world building for Creo though was incredibly rich in detail and I felt like the reader was really been given a lot of detail to work with and I personally got a great map of Creo in my head and some sort of idea of what ti must like and be like to live in.

The spreading virus was interesting to follow and I felt like, as a survivor story, it gave me just enough to keep me following with interest but the mix of dystopia and sci-fi made the story different and intriguing. It took me a while to really get the whole idea of a-naunts and what they were and what Rens were but with the help of the documents at the end of each chapter, it gave me a great idea of what had happened and I feel like i eventually got a good understanding of what was going on.

The book slowed up for me a bit at the end of the middle part, making its way to the end and I need lose a small bit of interest (I feel like the scene in the hospital with Boston and Danae lasted too long). But as things got going and the situation became more intense, I was on the edge of my seat and I loved the conclusion.

On a final note, I loved the developing relationship between Danae and Boston. They both needed each other so much and growing feelings between them were so raw and beautiful and I just loved them a lot!!

I’m really hoping to keep following this story and will have RB Kelly on my radar from now on as she has proven she can write a really great story!
Profile Image for Danielle.
126 reviews
November 30, 2022
I had the pleasure of being in Dublin for one full day in November 2016 during the Irish Book Festival. My husband and I attended a roundtable that included Irish Sci-Fi writers. They were all very talented, but Edge of Heaven was the only novel. I read it immediately and loved it. I've just finished it for the 2nd time about 6 months later. This book is rich in detail and imagination. Ms. Kelly creates a world, and she doesn't mind telling you EVERYTHING about it (unlike many sci-fi or post-apocalyptic stories where the reader is just plopped in the middle of it with no context). That's why I read it again. It is overwhelming, but it's worth it if you can stick with it. Her characters are real, and you're rooting for them. The bad guys are complicated, and the good guys aren't perfect. She includes a large chunk of history interspersed throughout the novel that includes newspaper articles, speech transcripts, etc to help build the reader's understanding as you go along. It's a brave undertaking, and Ms. Kelly does an amazing job.

My only criticism is the end. I don't know if she was trying to leave it open for another book, or if she wanted to simply leave the reader guessing; but I wasn't amused. The end is an exhausting crescendo that keeps you up too late at night flipping pages and then...ends. After all the time and energy the reader invests in this tale, I think we deserve some sort of closure. Highly recommend for the writing, the world-building, and the intelligent story. Don't be surprised if you want and/or need a second read to absorb it all.
Profile Image for Ed Morland.
48 reviews1 follower
August 9, 2021
This book is in many ways a great example of why I enjoy reading awards shortlists. I don't think I'd ever have picked it up by my own choice, fundamentally it's quite cyberpunk which is not a sub-genre I read given I've not enjoyed most of what I've ever read. But reading it it's clearly a good book, not a particularly me book and hence only three stars, but while I can't say I loved every page it was nice to see good, thoughtful and interesting work that I'd never have chosen to go and read.

If you want modern cyberpunk which eschews the action hero chrome and lithe women in trench coats for a humane look at two humans struggling to make do in a shitty system who get caught up in bigger events then you'd be well served by this and I'm glad to know it exists even if it's not making it's way to the the reread pile any time soon.
Profile Image for Abby.
30 reviews
February 26, 2022
Thought it was an interesting and well developed world, that is what kept me reading. The mechanics of the story and quality of the prose are not great. Too many sardonic and overblown descriptions of things, after awhile they become tedious instead of witty. The opening scene is way too long for what is essentially a throwaway character who just needs to find a dead body and kick off the mystery part of the plot. The ending scenes strain credulity, why wouldn't the a-nauts go in to help Turrow, yet in the last scene Danae is apparently an a-naut celebrity with her own shadowy body guard. After a book that sometimes drug on the ending was rushed and unsatisfying.
I really liked the creativity and cared about the characters but the quality of the writing wasn't as good as the intricacy of the story demanded.
Profile Image for Günter.
197 reviews3 followers
August 30, 2021
This was a difficult book for me. Mainly because of its detailed language that was difficult to understand for me (not being native in English). But it is also extremely lengthy, describing way too many details; and on the other hand still missing information. From other reviews I learned that there should be additional information from news paper excerpts and the like; but these were missing in the eBook edition I bought from storybundle.com.
Profile Image for Graham.
75 reviews9 followers
January 16, 2022
Not great. Just interesting enough to want to finish it to see what happened, but really not that good. Too much rain, too much walking, too much love story. The ending was disappointing and I still have no idea how the person in the first chapter ties into the story.
Profile Image for Clare O'Beara.
Author 21 books335 followers
February 21, 2023
I picked this one up at Octocon as a library lend, because the author is from Ireland; however, the story is set in central France.

This is a dystopian read, which seems to be a cross between a horror and Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? and the pandemic theme. I don't do horror, so someone who enjoys reading horror will probably give this tale better marks.

We follow a woman in France, but almost nobody speaks French; a few security people do near the end. This means no mention of vous or tu, for instance. There's a mention of an olive harvest failure but not an awful lot else, it has to be said, that sounds French. I think the reason for the location is that the landscape is stable enough to support a two or three tier city - some of the tiers are undergoing a collapse. And enough climate migrants can arrive to cause the need for the city. So, people are exploiting medical needs to charge for medicine, though I am not sure why, given that today, automation is supposed to be making goods cheaper.

The android (nearly said replicant) and datastream are the big topics, with flashbacks to news snippets or studies to show a breakdown in civilisation and development of androids for war, because that has to be better than one's own soldiers getting killed. In the city, we see violence, extortion, ingratiation, desperation, women obliged to serve cafe food (fried or deep fried) in skimpy clothing.

There's plenty of interesting material, and the author has clearly given her work a lot of thought. I would be concerned that this is a depressing read, and I would prefer to read something more cheerful, while it's just not YA friendly.
Profile Image for Sarah Cook.
86 reviews
August 20, 2021
Good, rompy action novel about cyborgs and plague in dystopian future Europe. A little too long, and some pacing issues but an easy and entertaining read.
Profile Image for Lera.
Author 1 book2 followers
January 28, 2023
Liked this one very much, I readily invested in the main characters and their complexities, wondering for a while if a ‘two households both alike in dignity’ romance was going to emerge. I had some trouble suspending disbelief around the particular biotech that was central to the story but ymmv. Absolutely would recommend.
Profile Image for Ciaran Finnegan.
36 reviews1 follower
September 14, 2016
An impressive and very 'human' novel, despite the themes of artificial intelligence and future mega cities.

Any seasoned sci-fi movie fan will find a number of common genre tropes in here - AI beings almost indistinguishable from humans, a future city to house a population displaced by global warming, and endless dreary, soaking rain. That said, the dialogue is crisp and absorbing even when the scenes switch between the struggling proletariat and the scheming political/corporate masters.

The Irish Times described the setting as bearing a resemblance to the author's home town of Belfast, but I struggled to see that in the text.

The descriptions that stayed with me were the lifestyles of the workers, endless alternating between long hours in poorly paid jobs and trying to keep a family home running, often with sickness in the mix and everyone being constantly exhausted. It's not like Metropolis, the feel is much more contemporary, but the 'normal' humans are often forced into a life that makes then little more than automatons. The distinction between real people and the AI 'a-nauts' becomes increasingly blurred.

As is often the way with science fiction, the emphasis is mainly on the description of the time and setting and it's unclear if there's any author's message.

I was very drawn in by this book. Irish sci-fi is not abundant in material but genre considerations aside this book has something for everyone who works for a living.
Displaying 1 - 12 of 12 reviews

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