22 April, 2010

Review - Heroes Die by Matthew Woodring Stover

Matthew Stover is probably best known for his Star Wars novels and most especially the novelization of the movie, Revenge of the Sith [US] [UK] (which I loved - both movie and novel).

Heroes Die [US] [UK] is the first in the Acts of Caine series continuing with the elusive Blade of Tyshalle, then Caine Black Knife, and a few more planned though no solid dates (so says Wikipedia).

Goodreads blurb:
Rife with magic and adventure, this extraordinarily ambitious fantasy chronicles the adventures of Hari Michaelson--merely a popular actor on Earth, but a renowned and deadly assassin known as Caine, the Blade of Tyshalle, on the planet Overworld.
The front of the book calls it a fantasy novel, but I would say it's more of a fantasy/sci-fi mix. There are elves and trolls, but there's also a mix of futuristic science that actually fits together really well.

Heroes Die is amazingly well plotted with vividly memorable scenes that I couldn't get out of my head even if I wanted to. There are so many twists and turns throughout and not once did I see one coming until it was already happening.

I don't want to give too much away, but there are really two places or worlds in which Heroes Die takes place. One is on Earth where there is a caste system in place from the bottom Laborers to the top Leisuremen and women. Caine/Hari is an actor which is around the middle of the castes.

The other world is Overworld where all the action takes place and where the people of earth get to see what the actors do through their eyes. The more money you have the more you get to see of the action. This is where Hari Michaelson becomes Caine.

And Caine makes it worth your while. Nothing but death and destruction follow in his path and that's why he's the number one star on earth. His scenes are just the best, full of action and impossible situations where Caine gets beat up and bloody and does everything he can to save his wife who is stranded on Overworld.

I have to say, I liked Heroes Die a lot, but I can't say I loved it. I know I've been shouting its praises and rightly so, but there was a large amount of brutality and profanity, which I thought was overused. At points the profanity made me feel like I was back in Jr. High and the references were just too crude for me.

At the same time, if you don't mind this then I can almost guarantee that you'll love this book.

When Should You Read Heroes Die?

If you like action and adventure with lots of plot twists but don't mind a large amount of brutality and profanity, Heroes Die will work wonders for you. The plotting is stellar and consistent and will keep you turning the pages.

3.5 out of 5 Stars (really liked)

I base my rating in part on whether I can read a book again, and that just wouldn't happen in this case, but I will be continuing with the series.


Todd Newton said...

I LOVED his Revenge of the Sith... totally ruined the movie for me, because the film didn't have even HALF the quality of the book (as far as pacing/plot/characterization). I will definitely put this one on my list, since I haven't read any of his other books since then.

Bryce L. said...

Haha, me too. Loved Revenge of the Sith too. I listened to it on audiobook and it had music and light sabers and the narrator was amazing. It really makes the movie pale in comparison.

bloggeratf said...

This has been on my list for ages but I have never gotten around to reading it. Since I am in the mood for violence though... Then again, the premise (dual worlds, one sf and on f) reminds me a bit too much of Kay Kenyon's Entire and the Rose series which, not to understate it, I hated.

I think that all the reviews you have done so far here have had "(I liked it)" next to the post even though there is a fair amount of variation in the score. I am curious to see a review of a book you did not like at all.

Bryce L. said...

I usually go with this model:
0 = really didn't like
1 = didn't like
2 = okay
3 = liked
4 = loved
5 = mind-blowing, barely anything compares.

Anymore I hardly read anything not recommended by blogs or forums multiple times so I rarely read something I'm probably not already going to like.

Abe Lincoln Vampire Hunter might be a first though. Earlier this year I didn't like The Last Wish (Sapkowski) very much either.

ediFanoB said...

After reading your review I'm still not sure whether I want to read Heroes Die or not. I think it doesn't match with my current taste. Have to have a look again in half a year.

Anonymous said...

best book ever!s