I can say, without a trace of doubt, that Matthew Woodring Stover is the best writer I've ever had the pleasure to read, being Heroes Die (and the whole Acts of Caine series) his absolute masterpiece. Since the very first line, until the last word, this book will take your breath away. Its characters are so charismatic and complex, so full of flaws, you'll sometimes laugh at the fact that in a way this fantasy novel is way more realistic than any other book. As for Caine, the main character, one can't help "loving all of him, even when he has to hate some of him", as Faulkner would say. Besides, its full of humor as well as philosophy. The author knows how to deal with both tragedy and comedy, at the same time he raises questions that make you think. To those who love reading adventure books, and to those who simply like reading good books, this is the one. You won't be dissappointed.
This book was in and out of my wishlist a number of times purely because of the really naff cover which reminds me of the SF books from the 70's! I finally bought it on the strength of the reviews and I was not disappointed. This is SF at it's best and enough hack and slash to keep even me happy. A very clever and readable book which although not by any standards simplistic, it does not baffle you with degree level science. Why can't I get "Blade of Tyshalle" for anything less than a stupidly inflated price though?
Normally I'm not a big one for SF or fantasy. I was pleasently surprised when I got "Heroes Die" on a whim and as it turns out I loved it. I'm not sure I agree entirely with Stover's rather dismal view on our society's future, but it's possible. The characters of the story were very well written and surprisingly versitial. One of the aspects of the book I liked the most was the fact that people (both heros and villians) didn't do things just because they were good, evil etc. They had motives for their actions and weren't just radomly good or evil as the plot needed them to be. The settings and plot twists (there were many of those) were believable and entertaining. In my humble oppinion, this book was an all around good read. Can't wait for the sequal! Hint, hint, publishers.
I have to agree with some other reviewers of this book, never judge a book by its cover. The cover artwork is catastrophic, and must have had a detrimental effect on sales. That said, the rest is truly superb. I read this book in three days, devouring every page. And as the author says in the printed interview with him at the end of the book, a story has to move. And my word, move it does. I loved the pace and the balance. In fact, overall there were only two or three places where I thought there seemed to a touch of meandering and they were extremely short lived, perhaps a page or two - believe me it really is that good. Prior to this read I had just finished Tad William's Shadowplay the second in the Shadow-trilogy (which is now no-longer a trilogy apparently) and his books are so dry in comparison. Especially with the really annoying abrupt switching between story-lines. None of that nonsense here. Stover's writing is tight and very clever at times. A couple of things snuck up on me in the story that I hadn't been expecting and I had to grunt my approval as I read on. Great job Mr. Stover.
The concepts of the storyline are fabulous. I found myself making connections with the original Rollerball file with James Caan, The Watchmen and The Running Man with Arnold. A very very gritty book, and my first foray into gritty/dark fantasy, and now I want more more, give me more. Violent, yes, but not gratuitously so. The dialogue is sublime, actually as you would imagine it really would be. I really can't believe that I have been missing out on this book for so long, what a diamond.
No doubt it would make a fantastic film, but films never do stack up to the books as every reader has their own imagination and particular delights. And the casting would have to be so carefully done, as any actors carrying any kind of typecasting baggage would just ruin it for me.
Most definitely worth the full 5 stars. Not for the fainthearted. Hey, but what a ride.
WOW!! I just finished readin an advance copy of this book (thanks to Coosin Al- a definite Hero). The setting of the book flips between a fantasy setting, and a harsh look at the future of humans on Earth. Both settings were blandly generic though a few original twists and ideas have been thrown in. The compelling points of the book did not involve the setting. However the characters have been carefully formed and well rounded, and more importantly- realistic. Even the supporting characters have a suprising depth to them, with their own beliefs, desires and plots. "Heroes Die" (listed here in Amazon as "Caine") is a masterfully built book. A story within a story, independant plots and intrigues are woven together for a believable resolution. Romance, grim humor, blood and death thread themselves through the story, creating a complex pattern that will delight and enthrall the Reader. Matthew Woodring Stover has brought us a book with something for everyone. The story is compelling, and the characters will hook themselves into your heart as you find yourself fighting with the main character against all odds. If you want to read an epic adventure that leaves you wanting more, give this masterpiece by Stover a try. This is the first novel I have read by Stover, and I am now planning on going back and reading his prior novels, "Iron Dawn" and "Jericho Moon."
This is the first novel I read by Mr. Stover, and I would have to say it was a great read. The title of the novel was the first thing that attracted it to me. From then on I loved the book. The crossing of science fiction and fantasy were fantastic. The description was enough to allow you to see everything in the scene, but not too much to make you start wandering off. Mr. Stover give you action, betrayal, redemption and romance. The best thing about Heroes Die is that it is just ONE novel. Not an ongoing series like Jordan's WoT. The only thing I have against the book is the title. Its more like A Hero Reborn...but no matter, its a great book!
This is my first "adventure" into the type of fictional world that Matthew Woodring Stover creates in HEROES DIE, but his work in IRON DAWN and JERICHO MOON made me chance it -- and it was definitely worth the risk of the trip. I never thought I'd like this genre, but Stover changed my mind with Caine and Pallas Ril and his skillful rendering of characters who are everything from loyal friends and passionate lovers to brutal warriors who carry never-ending grudges. If you've never tried this area of fiction before, Stover gives you an excellent place to test the waters. You'll find them addicting indeed.
I've been reading Sci Fi and Fantasy for twenty years and it takes a lot to impress me but Stover blew me away...If you want edge of your seat action/suspense/adventure set in two great backdrops/worlds this is your book. The characters really hold your interest (always a problem for me) and the action/fighting sequences will satisfy even the most blood-thirsty fan...Bravo Mr. Stover, can't wait for the sequel!
The premise of a more advanced technilogical society that is able to transport a person/persons into a less advanced society and then being able to experience his adventures through an advanced virtual reality machine is very well thought out. Overall, a very entertaining book that has promise of more to come. Anyone who enjoys fantasy will enjoy this book.
This is not a book for the faint-hearted or weak stomached -- I couldn't put it down. There's much more going on here than meets the eye. I LOVE Caine, and when I finshed the book, I was sorry that the story was over. I hope that there's a sequel. Read. Think. Read.