Book Review — Heroes Die (The Acts of Caine #1) by Matthew Woodring Stover

Heroes Die (The Acts of Caine, #1)Heroes Die by Matthew Woodring Stover
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

My new favourite book that probably no one has read.

Matthew Stover is the king of action. You thought Mark Lawrence and Joe Abercrombie were gritty? Heroes Die is outright nasty, then. Glotka doesn’t even hold a hot iron to this guy.

The premise is interesting–a mashup of sci-fi and fantasy, where “actors” in a future earth strap into these chairs which send them to an alternate universe (a fantasy medieval setting) where their adventures are watched by millions of people back home. Lots of opportunity for meta narrative here, and the author handled it wonderfully. Also, and I haven’t seen this before, modern words and metaphors were used to describe fantasy things (remember it’s someone from the future so they would think the way we do).

The main character, Caine, is the biggest badass you’ve ever seen. He’s damn good at what he does (killing) and he knows it, walking around with a feeling of complete confidence and control. He’s right up there with Kvothe, Locke Lamora, and Gavin Guile for the most interesting badass characters.

The world building is exquisite. Matthew Stover really holds to the rule that an author should only divulge 10% of what he knows. Perhaps not as intricately thought out at Rothfuss or Jordan; more along the lines of, how can we possibly raise the “awesome” factor in this world. You will read it and think “cool!” to yourself, over and over and over again.

Heroes Die has so many things going for it.
– Incredible fight scenes
– The most graphically violent novel I’ve ever read
– Hilarious character internal dialogue
– Pacing and tension were spot-on

It works as a standalone, and you owe it to yourself to give this a read.

View all my reviews


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