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Customer reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
Format: Kindle Edition|Change

on 13 July 2012
I found this book very difficult to read. It was [to me] very confusing at first. I got half way through and decided I couldn't really tackle reading any more. It wasn't the writing, it was very well written it was the storyline that I just couldn't get into. It was very dark, very depressing.

Its probably because its not the kind of topical story I would choose to read. You may enjoy it, it just wasn't my 'cup of tea'
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on 31 October 2011
"Under-Heaven" follows the paths of two boys' lives. You first meet Jesse, a five-year-old boy who lives in Boston with his mother. He comes from a troubled home and his parents have split up recently. This isn't easy on him as he has fond memories of the three of them as a family. Unfortunately, his father has become a drunk and drug addict which has caused a lot of problems. Jesse wants his parents to reconcile, as he loves his father a lot and misses him, but also knows his mother can't handle his dad under the current circumstances. In the boy's young mind, he doesn't understand why things have changed so much and he is willing to try anything to fix them. Unfortunately, it may be a task too great for his small shoulders to handle alone.

The other boy, Nate, also has a strong presence in the novel. He died at the age of nine in the 1940s and went to a place called "Under-Heaven". This isn't necessarily a bad place, more of a transition point for most souls. Yet Nate can't resolve the tragedy that happened in his past life to move on. For awhile, he can't even allow himself to remember it, but knows that unlocking the mystery behind his death is key to knowing what step he must take next in his afterlife. It is not something he is capable of for a long time, though, and the novel follows his experiences in "Under-heaven" and the other souls and angels he meets there who try to help him.

I must say this book was difficult for me in the beginning. It starts in a dark place for both boys and felt rather depressing. The multiple points of view also caused me some trouble until I got into the flow of the story, but I stuck with it believing it would get better. As it turned out, I was right. Somewhere around the fifteen percent mark, the novel picked up speed and the suspense became intense. I found myself getting attached to both boys and needing to know what would happen to them. They came alive for me and I knew at some point the author would entwine their stories together, despite the time difference. How exactly this happens, I won't say, but it wasn't in the way I anticipated. The depth of the novel is far greater than one can even predict.

For those considering this book, I would say that if you are like me, it may be tough to get through at first. Do not let that deter you, because the story progresses and once you reach a certain point, it will be nearly impossible to put down. So many unexpected events happen and you meet some very interesting characters in addition to the main two boys. The way the author gets inside these kids heads is amazing and you will feel like you are right there with them, suffering through the hard times and smiling through the good. When the conclusion came, I found myself misty eyed as all the pieces came together, even parts I hadn't considered as significant.

If you are interested in alternative versions of the afterlife and enjoy stories where something good comes from tragedy, this is the perfect story to read. "Under-Heaven" will touch you in ways you cannot even imagine and bring a whole new perspective to how you view the world. I certainly enjoyed it and plan to read the novel again!
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This is almost two stories in one but they do converge at the end in an astounding way. On one hand we have Nate (9years old), newly dead - murdered in fact, living out his death in Under-heaven (a sort of pre-heaven where souls come to terms with their death). Then we have Jesse (5 years old), very much alive, but gets caught up in his dads and things don't go so well for him.

This was very much a poignant story. It started off slowly but I think that was essential as the two tales were being told simultaneously. It certainly picked up after about 15% and ran away with itself! Nate's story was one of indecision. He didn't know how to resolve the fact that he had been murdered. After many years, with the help of various relatives (as angels) he makes a momentous decision.

Jesse's story is profoundly sad, he loves his dad with a passion but sadly his dad is a terminal screw up and just keeps letting Jesse down. Where does this leave him? At first it was hard to see what each story had to do with each other but then -bang- it hits you between the eyes. The merging was very cleverly done and when I came to the dramatic end I was in tears.

I totally recommend this book. Under Heaven is a moving and well written story.
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on 17 March 2012
This is a unique and wonderful story that had me on the edge of my seat and turning page after page. The MC, Nate, and some of the other characters suffer badly and it really pulls at the heart strings. Gosh, it's hard not to cry when you know that these things really go on in the real world. Tim Greaton is a fantastic writer and I loved what he did with the spiritual side of the story. It read real to me and I felt connected to the story and characters, even the mean ones.

This story certainly has you wondering what happens after death, and though it's a dark tale, it's also filled with humour and endearing characters. In parts of the story, some readers might relate to the characters like I did, particularly the aunts and uncles. LOL.

Tim Greaton is one of my favourite authors, and as always, there were many twists and turns before coming to a rather unexpected finale. And like all his books, he tied all the strings at the end. I'd like to say more, but don't want to add spoilers. I often wonder how the author came up with all his fantastic tales and I'm really looking forward to his next books. His stories are brilliant and would all make great movies.

I highly recommend this book and give it five stars. If I could have given it ten stars, I would have.

 Velvet Ball and The Broken Fairy (Velvet and Roseberry)
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on 1 July 2013
Nine year old Nate has died. But where does he go from here? Five year old Jesse just wants his family back together. How can he halt his father's descent into self-destruction? In Under-Heaven we follow these two young souls as they struggle to understand and deal with dilemmas That would test the very best of us.

This is story telling on an epic scale. It is a deeply moving tale that explores some of the most profound aspects of our world, life, death, love, loss and the very nature of existence. All of this is done in an entertaining and engaging way.

Most of the story is told from the perspective of young Nate and Jesse who, perhaps, represent the children in all of us. This point of view ensures that the weighty issues considered here are accessible to all readers, in much the same way that Sophie's World by Jostein Gaarder was able to make Philosophy more accessible.

The skilfully described scenes give Under-Heaven a realism that it may have lacked in the hands of a less talented writer. Similarly, the earth bound scenes and characters are very well drawn. This means that the whole story keeps its feet firmly planted in the reality of everyday life. A reality we can all relate to. The murder mystery elements of the story are equally well constructed. This allows the narrative to cross genre boundaries without detracting from the central themes of the story. The important characters were all well-defined, having both depth and multi-dimensionality.

I did feel that a couple of the threads were a little confused. It was as if the author had decided that those ideas may be better examined in another story. This, however, merely altered the rhythm of the piece for a time. Ultimately, this was a well constructed, moving and thought provoking story. At times it was a little heavy going as a result of the themes it deals with but, well worth the effort.

A great book from a very talented writer
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on 30 June 2012
This isn't the usual type of book I read. The sample intrigued me so I bought the book. I couldn't put it down. What an absolutely amazing story, at times it sent shivers through me. I don't usually read books again but this one will stay on my kindle. I cannot recommend this highly enough - everyone should read this book! It had such an impact that I don't want to start reading another book yet, the story stays with you. Just fantastic!
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on 21 February 2014
Ive read nearly all Tims Books and he is a brilliant writer of books at that! The Santa Shop is one of my favourite books. This far surpassed that book as my favourite by him. This book Under-Heaven, tells several tales about various characters. They all die fatality usually by murder and all end up in what is known as Under-Heaven. Its what Religion would call Pugartory. All the characters move on to Heaven but DO get a chance to go back to the Earth and be born again as in Re-incarnate, it tells some heartrendering stories before they do as it features thier lives. The 3 main characters that are featured are Jesse Ricky and Nathaniel known as Nate. All youngsters.They meet up with thier relatives that have died. Its an intersting book ALL the way through n i couldnt put it down. Loved it. Would give this Book 10 stars IF i could! It flits from story to story Bit like a Tv Soap! Its all relevant to the overall plot-story. It can be difficult to follow at times but as long as you keep on top of story you will follow the story ok. You WILL love this book! RECOMMEND!!!!:-)
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on 3 November 2012
I alsolutely loved this book! The two stories being told were sweet, heartbreaking and funny. I couldn't put it down and just wanted to know more! I was very sad when it ended and was honoured to be able to join them both on their journey
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on 17 June 2012
This book was a real page turner from start to finish. Fantastic read, captures you. Buy it, buy it now. You will not regret it. Fabulous!! x x x
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