“What Remains of Heroes”
I wish I could’ve liked this book more. The world building was fascinating – it’s that sort of “big things happened a long time ago” feeling that I really enjoy, and there’s a lot of ‘lost ancient knowledge’ sort of stuff added in for flavor.
Basically, this is the Chosen Kingdom of the Gods, the site of the Final Battle of the Gods. Clearly, it’s been prosperous, and is widely regarded as the Place to Be. And yet, that Final Battle was something like 2,000 years ago; a lot can change over that amount of time. Mostly what changed was that people are terrible, and greed is a thing. The King banished the servants of the good God, something like a thousand years past, and it’s basically been a downhill slide since then.
My problem with this book, then, is how much of that downhill slide it is: there isn’t a full plotline to it. It’s an entire book of ‘rising action,’ with no actual arrival point or anything. About 3/4 of the way through, I looked at how much of the book was left, and how many different plotlines were going on, and realized that it was either going to have a really unsatisfying ending, or it was going to fob it all off on the next book. Which would then fob it off on the next one, and the next one from there.1
I dunno, folks. I’ve been watching a lot of TV lately,2 and this book feels less like a complete story than a single episode. But it wasn’t done right: with a TV show, you generally get a story arc complete within the episode, and then portions of the larger one that carries the show through the season or several seasons. The book just didn’t have that- there’s no sense of completion. The closest to closure you get is “oh, turns out the people who you thought were going to be the Final Boss are also working for someone else!” It’s just… irritating, overall.
So, I can’t really say I recommend this one. Which is weird – most of my book reviews tend to be very positive things, and I don’t like being this negative. But sometimes it’s the only way to be accurate. Blah.
- Based on the title of the series, “A Requiem for Heroes,” there’s probably going to wind up being something like nine books? That’s based on the number of movements of Duruflé’s requiem, which might not be entirely accurate. But still. ↩
- A research program is mentally exhausting in a way that even an above-maximum credit load isn’t. Netflix has suddenly become a much more valuable proposition to me than it was during the school year. ↩