Cover Image: Eight Will Fall

Eight Will Fall

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Member Reviews

It starts off slow and kind of dense, but once the action begins, it's hard to resist the story as it drives forward. It reads as a true epic, one that makes you feel the world really has been reshaped as you read it. Would recommend.
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A riveting fantasy-horror journey with a fascinating system of magic. I would describe this as speculative horror in the tradition of Jules Verne, with a cabin-in-the-woods vibe – which seems like a mismatch, but I think it's a fair description. It's a story about exploring the unknown parts of our own world, and discovering the magic and monsters that have been here all along....and waiting for them to pick you off one by one.

The story focuses on a group of empaths who have been forbidden to use their magic for generations – and yet are sent into an underground cave world in hopes that their magic can help them defeat the thousand-year-old maybe-god who lives beneath their city. What they find beneath the earth is horrific and imaginatively grotesque. And, as the title implies, the empaths begin to be picked off, one by one.

Though there are monsters, blood and body parts, and strong elements of horror, I found the tone to be more of an adventure story than a terrifying horror. There are strong YA elements, with a mismatched group of companions, familial ties and responsibilities, and the dim hope of a spark of romance.

Though diversity is not the focus of this book, you'll find a lesbian love story that the other characters absolutely fight to protect; it's not the main plot, or the main characters, but it is a constant thread of hope and love. I didn't find clear racial diversity, though you'll find strong class divisions including rights to access. As is often the case in speculative fiction, I read these class and political structures as standing in place of racial diversity, and I read the empaths as being perceived as a separate race (but I wish we could have both!).

When I read the description of this book, I wasn't sure it would be a win for me, but the cover made me want to read it. Shout out to the cover designers – thanks for catching my eye. I really enjoyed this one, and I'll definitely be reading more of the author's work!
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I really enjoyed this book - it had a little bit of everything in it.  There was magic, horror, a little romance, and a battle between two different kinds of villain.  My only true issue with the book is that I wanted more backstory and world building.  I felt like the first 50 or so pages flew by too fast and I was left with a lot of questions about the society in which Larkin lives and while a lot did get answered throughout reading the book, I still felt I could have used a little more up front to better understand the story.  I enjoyed the scarier aspects of the story but will caution readers about the violence and gore throughout the book.  I will definitely be recommending this title for my store's "book talk" with high school librarians with the only caveat being a warning about the violence and gore described in the book.  I believe that the fantasy/horror genre of this book will be popular among teens .
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I received an e-ARC of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Eight Will Fall follows seventeen-year old Larkin and seven other criminals who are sent on a mission to destroy an ancient evil that’s begun plaguing their kingdom. Once down in the labyrinth of caves known as The Reach, the team begins to encounter terrifying creature, long-dead followers of a fallen God, and difficult truths about themselves and the world they know above. 
I’m not going to lie- this book kind of snuck up on me! While I was surprised by the horror/dark fantasy vibe I was absolutely hooked from the moment they entered the caves. There was a good deal of blood and gore throughout the book but it made sense for the story even if it gave me the creeps at times. There was only one part that it got to be a little too much for me but otherwise it was fine. 

What I liked: 
The magic system was very clear and interesting. I haven’t read many books about Empaths and I thought that their ability to create/destroy based on the moods of those around them was unique. I also really liked the world building in this story. The players were all well-defined and it made for a fun, quick read. 

What I didn’t like: 
The only thing that kept me from giving this book five stars was that I didn’t really connect with the characters as much as I would have liked. From the blurb you would expect this story to be told in multiple points of view but it is told from Larkin’s view point and I don’t know that I ever really connected with her character. This also left most of the other characters somewhat underdeveloped, especially ones who dies early on. 

Overall, I think this is a really good stand alone and an enjoyable read. If blood and gore isn’t your thing maybe steer clear but again I thought it was really well done and made sense for the story.
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It was boring, I'm sorry. The plot was confused, the narrative with eight characters it's too much to handle.
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4* read

This was an excellent, original book with an intriguing magic system and a plot twist I did not see coming. It was also incredibly dark and gorey with inconsistently developed characters, although that last part is kind of a side effect of the nature of the book. As indicated in the blurb, this book involves a fair amount of side character mortality. While it is somewhat disappointing that the characters who die are not as well developed as the characters who don't - making it less of an emotional roller coaster since you don't really have time to get to know the ones who die - it is also understandable given the length of the book and the number of characters required for the premise to work out.

Readers who are looking for a darker "Six of Crows"-esque type read, or who are fans of gorey horror, will enjoy this book.
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I might suggest this book to reader's who liked Children of Blood and Bone but want a little more gruesome horror in their lives...or maybe fans of Wilder Girls who enjoy fantasy quests and forbidden magic.

Larkin is an empath, born with the ability to turn the emotions of others into magical conjuration or destruction. Using her abilities is a crime. And that is how she ends up on a doomed expedition from the castle dungeons to the heart of the island to defeat an immortal evil.

The good: I thought the horror elements were done well, particularly if gruesome details and bloody transformations are your thing. The description is what truly carried me through this story.

The bad: The character development was a little off for me. Not sure that the actions they took and their supposed personality traits always lined up, and their were a lot of them to keep straight. (This makes sense in a horror film where you expect some characters to die, but I'm not sure it translated well into book form.) I'm also not a fan of romance just for the sake of having a romantic story line...the relationship felt forced. And the ending felt too neat. 

Not a bad story, but not my favorite either.
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*I voluntarily read and reviewed ARCs of these books. All thoughts and opinions are my own.*

DNF @ 33%

I really wanted to like this one. I honestly thought I would, too. There is a magic system, there are criminals on a mission to save the world, and the potential of character death. And yet, the book wasn't catching my attention. 

I was actually kind of liking Larkin, but some of her decisions or actions just were hard to believe. The whole premise is that they are being forced underground to find a man, who should be dead, and kill him for the Queen, who hates their kind. Yeah, there are reasons to help the Queen, but the dude underground is like them and would probably help them overthrow the Queen, so... I didn't understand why the Queen would send empaths to deal with a dangerous empath and why the "criminals" (calling some of them criminal is such a stretch...) weren't wondering if maybe there is a better life than servitude. 
Perhaps this would all be explained later on, but I needed it to keep my interest. 

I would have also liked to know more about the magic system-- how does it work and what can it do. I did get to a creepy moment, but we hadn't gotten to like the characters enough for me to care. In fact, I was still mixing up some of the boys. And then there were little tidbits thrown in about the lore, which I would have liked to know, but I just didn't care about anything by that point. 

I will say the darker moments are pretty dark and the concept is fantastic. I really wish I could have liked it.
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Recived this ARC in exchange for an honest review. 

To begin I'll start with the cover. It was brightly colored, unique and eye catching. It drew me in right away and looks beautiful in my shelf.  The characters where unique, well thought of and made the story interesting with there interactions, disfunction and powers. There where characters I loved and ones I loved to hate. The world building, politics and magic where unique and interesting.  It reminded me alot of the hunger games meets X-Men and that was a really fun element to the story and definitely keep me intrigued through the story. I like the concept between the magic and monsters. Some part were delightfully creepy and well written and the horror was a fun element to the story that I wasn't expecting but that was really enjoyable and keep me reading late into the night to see what would happen. The ending was great and not to rushed and summed up the book well. 

With all of these elements it's a title I would definitely be happy to have on the shelves in my YA section and will highly recommend as fun spooky read. 
Definitely give it 4.5 stars.
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Led By An Emotionally Charged Magic System Eight Will Fall, by Sarah Harian, Steals Your Breath Through Dark Depths Of Fantasy Bending Horror

I threw down a gauntlet, of sorts, when I reviewed Steel Crow Saga. By laying out a recent list, Steel Crow Saga included, of unique magic systems I tried to quiet my fears that authors would soon run out of ways to create these brilliant and fantastical worlds in which to capture the hearts and imaginations of readers, like me, that lived for worlds of magic. Not just magic but one that is thoroughly flushed out, rooted in a system that provided true buy-in and with a voice unto its own.

Today, Eight Will Fall hits shelves and Sarah Harian’s, becoming the latest exhibit of my faith restored that the magic system well isn’t running dry anytime soon. Harnessing emotions within themselves and others, Empaths can destroy and conjure any form of matter; including the hurting and healing of others.

It stands to reason that it is the utilization of emotions such as fear, anger, rage and pain that causes “destruction magic,” and love, joy, hope and courage that causes “conjuring and healing,” magic.

Harian doesn’t just utilize this thoroughly imagined system to create a genre bending story that is horrifyingly entertaining. It is interwoven with themes of oppression, social injustice and what happens when the common people are caught between warring extremest.

Empaths can range in both their strength and tangible ability to wield this magic. Much of the knowledge on where their abilities lie are in the lineage and heritage of their families. When Empaths are declared dangerous by the queen not only does she immediately control their magic by the utilization of a mineral but that indentures them into mining it.

She expunges their culture and heritage and makes it illegal for them to learn how to read. Thus, Empaths are never able to realize their true potential or even become aware that there is a particular skill that their lineage excels in. This keeps their levels of ability erratic at best, unintentionally reckless and dangerous at worst.

When Empaths start disappearing the Queen brings together a team of Empaths led by Larkin, a strong female lead character and sends them into the underground depths of The Reach. It is there they are to find the origins of what is long thought to be a myth. And the beginnings of the Empaths demise on the surface.

Harian brings to life a group of Empaths that each have their own unique voice and motivations. Throughout the book they struggle to coexist and work together. Their inability to trust each other is furthered hampered by the constant ability to draw on each other’s feelings. It is through anger, rage, despair and grief that they must find it within themselves and as a group to have courage and hope or they will be lost forever. And if they lose, not just their families but the entirety of the surface will be lost.

I could go further into the secrets and the reveals of the characters, what they learn throughout their journey into the reach but I don’t do spoilers and that would take too much away from the story. Two. There is something much more fun to discuss here… well, my dark soul screams fun.

The reach. Sarah Harian has created another character of formidable disgust in The Reach. It is a wretched, claustrophobic, monster ridden and gruesome place. Driving tens of thousands of soldiers mad before our group is forced into their mission, The Reach is a horror of nightmares that Harian leaves no detail to spare. Are you squeamish? Don’t. Are you not squeamish? Good luck.

…wounds have sprouted new limbs. Hands grow from his chest. He tried to slit his own neck to kill himself, but the wound simply transformed into another mouth… Grub-white skin draped his bones. His arms rested on either side of his plate, and his writs tapered into hands layered on top of hands, bony and blood crusted… He cocked his head to the side, the bones in his neck cracking. “This is where everything ends.”

The reach is made of the tortured, the not living and the misfigured. Made to terrorize and drive people mad and into submission of its will. The eight only have one choice: move forward, wield their fear to destroy what will be their destruction and conjure the light or be the downfall of all.


***I had already posted this review to my website, twitter, linkedin, Amazon and Goodreads.**
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Usually books with magic are my cup of tea but I unfortunately couldn't get into this one. There are just too many perspectives to follow that it took me away from the story. 

Thank you to Netgalley and Henry Holt and Co for an e-arc of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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I wasn't sure what to expect, but I enjoyed reading this. An interesting story with fun characters. Well written.
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Things that make Eight Will Fall a solid dark-fantasy:
--> the empath magic - interesting, well explained, vivid imagery used to describe 
-->descriptive world building, particularly in the reach, especially with Kyran's monsters

Things that hinder Eight Will Fall
--> Having 8 main characters is tough. Only using one character's point of view for the entire story hinders the development of the rest of the main cast.  The rest of the characters are left shallow, lacking the depth and detail given to Larkin's character
--> The ending. UGGH! So anticlimactic, wrapped up too quickly and too nicely - seemed rushed.
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In Demura, using magic is against the law.  So, when Larkin ends up arrested for using her magic, she fears she will be imprisoned for life or even put to death.  Why couldn't she just listen to her brother and *think* before she acted sometimes?  Yes, it was frustrating being a miner who barely earned enough to help her family survive.  And, yes, it was infuriating that a shop keeper would refuse to sell her goods when she clearly had the money she needed to make the purchase... but it certainly wouldn't help her family if she ended up in jail, or put to death, instead of continuing to make what little she could with her work in the mines.  And while it was a slight relief to learn that the queen didn't intend to kill her, it was a bit unsettling to hear of the alternate plans. Although Larkin always thought the stories of ancient magic and evil forces trapped far below ground were myths, it seems they must have been based in reality -- because the queen was sending a party of Empaths (including her) deep underground, into The Reach, to battle an ancient power.  Can you even imagine growing up with the belief that magic was wrong and never learning to use your magic only to be sent on a mission that would *depend* on using magic to survive?!?   

Aside from the fact that this is a standalone story [hallelujah!], there were a couple of things about this story that really spoke to me.  One was the fact that it was reminiscent of The Goonies, which was one of my favorite movies growing up.  I wondered whether I was silly for thinking this, but then I saw that even the author said, "For movie geeks, The Descent meets a high-fantasy version of The Goonies."  [Awesome!  I'm not crazy!]  The other thing that I really loved was that there was so much power derived from emotion.  Too often, it seems that people think of emotions as limiting or even crippling, so I was really pleased to see a world in which magic could be fueled by emotions.  This book is due out in only 5 days, so you can probably even place a request for it at your local library!

Happy Reading!
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I received a complimentary copy of Eight Will Fall by Sarah Harian from Henry Holt & Co through Netgalley. All opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. Eight Will Fall will be released on November 26th.
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Long ago, Ilona cast Kyran and his disciples into the cavernous Reach. Since then, Ilona has been canonized as a goddess, the savior who exiled dangerous and powerful Empaths like Kyran. Now, Empaths have been subjugated  and treated like slaves, working on farms and in the mines. When destruction magic resurfaces, Queen Melay sends soldiers into the Reach to confront Kyran, but they don't return. In a final effort, the queen sends seven Empaths and a scholar into the Reach, imprisoning their loved ones as leverage. The group of eight finds unspeakable horrors in the cavernous Reach.
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I would categorize Eight Will Fall by Sarah Harian as fantasy horror. The overall story concept and the magic system are both really good, but this book has some execution issues. Many of the scenes with the most action were confusing and the romance felt forced. I didn't feel connected to the characters. Eight Will Fall started out with a lot of promise, but I was pretty disappointed by the end. This book is very violent, gory, and creepy, so if you're squeamish this book isn't for you!
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DNF @ 63%
I've tried to read this book for just over a month now, which is a very long time for me and it just isn't keeping my interest. I was really interested in this book due to the dark fantasy plot, since I like darker YA fantasy books. I think the world is solid enough and parts were creepy for sure. The horror elements are described very well and older teens will really enjoy this if they read this genre. But for me, the Empath magic system is very underdeveloped to picture or even see as important. It also felt like there was too much telling of the lore with dialogue, instead of discovering more along the way. I also didn't care for many of the character group; many of them were forgettable or sounded similar enough that I forgot who was who sometimes. I wanted to love this so much and while I did enjoy parts of it, the pacing and the tension just didn't keep my attention long enough to finish it. I will recommend to teen patrons if my library buys it and maybe try it in the future, but for now, I couldn't finish it...
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Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher I was able to read this in exchange for an honest review.
***
Eight Will Fall is a crazy, terrifying adventure. It was not at all what I expected, fantasy horror did not necessarily come to mind and that’s my fault for not reading the summary better, but it was still very good. I’m glad this was actually changed into a stand-alone versus it’s original duology plan. Yes, character development suffered a bit but since the whole story was told from Larkin’s view it was fitting enough. 

Larkin is an empath in a country where it is outlawed to practice the skill and being one is looked down upon and your existence is basically one long drawn out punishment. Larkin and seven other people she’s never met before, but all labeled criminals, are chosen for a mission and will have to rely on their forbidden magic to survive and succeed, but scary things are living where they’re going (like actually terrifying) and everything they think they know may be built on a lie. Also, Larkin has secrets she’s holding close to the chest but she may not be alone in that regard.
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Whoa, what a read. Sarah Harian has given me a few nightmares with her descriptions and details in this dark and twisted tale.  Eight Will Fall is full of suspense and will keep you on the edge of your seat, or couch, or bed, or wherever you decide to read this book.  I do recommend that you do not read it in public as you might be prone to gasps and making cringe faces in polite society where they might think you off your rocker. Magic, creepy crawly, and many foes are in this book and it was perfect for me to ready leading up to Halloween. Have fun future Eight Will Fall readers but I’m now doing to go find me a sugar sweet romance to offset this darkness of athisbook. 4 stars! 

I was provided with an electronic ARC through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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Having these books fall into my hands was a godsend given that we are looking to add more female leads to our library—tough ones at that. It is so hard to find books that are written well in character development, plot, and female “tough” situations, but I think we’ve found a great one. The character design in this book quite nice but not written the best way. I enjoyed reading all the descriptions, development, and love put into the characters from the very beginning. Many of the characters have found their way in the world that is so important to that character that I can’t help but love them. Although the way they were written into the story it confused me quite a bit and I couldn’t quite keep it together when I was reading about them. 

I really loved delving into the world that the author created as it is such a magnificent creature in and of itself. The many traditions and customs that she created was great and I really enjoyed seeing that in a book—we don’t see that written so great often. This can be utilized for many grades and many different groups of people—it would be a great book club book.

I enjoyed the fighting, exploring, and action that this book provides in a multi-dimensional way (nothing is just black & white here),  There is a lot of backstory that can help you understand what is happening cover to cover. I would suggest this book for a book club or even independent reading as it is not a difficult read and definitely has the high interest aspect to it that all students can get with. The characters that rush into danger is immediately something that my students would gravitate to and love to read—because who doesn’t love action in every form?
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Eight teens are forcibly sent on a doomed mission to save the world...

I absolutely loved this book. I was also spooked throughout most of the book!  This book is horror meets fantasy is the most delightful way. The action started right from the very first page, and it kept me hooked throughout the entire book. 

I found the magic system to be very interesting, as well. People who are empaths can use others' feelings to either create things or destroy things with their magic. Positive emotions allow empaths to create, whereas negative emotions allow empaths to destroy. I thought this was very original. 

Overall, I loved this book and highly recommend it to anyone who loves horror and fantasy! We don't get too many dark fantasy novels like this, and I can only hope for more.
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