The Wreck of Heaven is the second novel in the World Gates series, following Memory of Fire. In the previous volume, Molly McColl has died to revive her nephew Jake, her half-sister Lauren Hotchkiss Dane has killed a rron as well as the traitorous Sentinels in Oria, and Sheriff Eric MacAvery and his deputy Pete Stark have killed the Sentinel traitors in Cat Creek. Lauren and Jake are back in Cat Creek, having attended Molly's funeral, and are now trying to recover from all the trauma. Pete and Lauren have been inducted by the survivors into the Cat Creek Sentinel's circle.
In this novel, Jake refuses to go near the big mirror in their hallway and is even unhappy entering the kitchen. He has begun to talk again, but he is much too passive. She has just returned from the store and Pete has dropped by, so Lauren asks him to sit on the stairs with Jake as she puts up the groceries. Pete teases Jake about a story that he had once liked, but now scares him. Pete insists the scary pumpkin is saying that he has a cookie in his tummy and Jake knows that it is really saying "Boo, Boo". They both get the giggles and Jake even lets Pete carry him into the kitchen without protest.
Then Lauren discovers a messenger from Oria in her kitchen and quickly maneuvers Pete out of the house. The messenger states that Molly has returned from the dead through the powers of the Vodi necklace. Lauren quickly makes arrangements to be gone for a while and takes Jake with her to Oria. She finds Molly at Copper House and they start preparing for their roles as planned by their parents. However, Jake is more precocious than expected and manages to open a link leading to his deceased father in the afterlife.
Pete finds a note from Lauren on his kitchen table and decides that she probably used a small gate to deliver it. Although she writes that she is taking Jake to visit his grandparents, Pete notices that she has left her primary keyring with him and, after visiting the house, finds that the car is parked in a shed and that nothing much is missing. He reckons that foul play is unlikely, given the evidence, and that Lauren probably has been called back to Oria. To cover for her, he passes on the note to the other Sentinels and adds a few embellishments.
This novel extends the storyline to explain the difference between the old gods and the dark gods as well as the nature of the disasters that have destroyed worldline after worldline. We also learn something more about the rron and their motivation.
The romance between Molly and Seolar develops and even continues after her death and resurrection, but not without some hard moments. Seolar knows that his duty to the Veyar is primary in his life, but now he begins to realize that, without Molly, his life will not have any joy or satisfaction.
This novel is full of action and excitement. Dangers arise and are handled somehow. Once again, the story focuses on the interpersonal relationships between Molly and Seolar as well as between Lauren and Pete, but not as much so as the previous novel.
One interesting scene is the confrontation between Lauren and the Administrator in the Afterlife. Maybe a bit of catharsis for the author after a bad encounter with bureaucracy. Probably a good thing that she didn't write about Hell.
Recommended for Lisle fans and anyone who else enjoys a new approach to the salvation of the universe plot.
-Arthur W. Jordin