(E–book) Heroes Die author Matthew Woodring Stover
Okay let me et the following BOLD STATEMENT out of the way If I absolutely HAD to choose my single favorite BADASS action protagonist of all time HARI MICHELSON AKA CAINE would Controversies in Neurosurgery get the nod Now I have read many books with main characters who went to 11 on the 10 level kick ass meter so picking a favorite or comparing one to the other is very hard to do However overall taking all aspects of nut stomping bone breaking dialogue delivering very important head splitting you done fucked with wrong person today awesomeness CAINE wouldet the win He is the uintessential KICKASSER BRIEF INTERLUDE FOR CLARIFICATIONI need to pause for a moment in my homage to Caine to make the following point clear While Hari MichelsonCaine WOULD certainly be high up on my list of all time favorite literary characters his spot at the top if this list is based only on the vastness of badass that he possesses Thus favorite characters of mine like Locke Lamora aka The Gentlemen Bastard Tyrion Lannister and Glotka from Abercrombie s First Law trilogy as awesome as they are wouldn t Lexikon der Medizin-Irrtümer: Vorurteile, Halbwahrheiten, fragwürdige Behandlungen get out of the first round in the TAC Tournament of Badass Champions END BRIEF INTERLUDEAnyway just for comparison s sake and so you know I have thought this through here are a few of my favorite characters that Caine was reluctantly reuired to bitch slap on his way to the title of HIS ROYAL BADNESS AND MOST MAIN MAN 1 Roland Deschainand I cry your pardon Gunslinger 2 John Clark aka Mr Clark Tom Clancy novels3 Lancelot Fionavar Tapestry by Kaymaybe the heroest hero of them all4 Helikoan aka Aeneas from Gemmell s Troy series5 Parker Richard Stark novels6 Takeshi Kovacs Richard Morgan novels7 Emile Khadaji The Man Who Never Missed 8 Kane 9 Druss the Legend10 ConanWAITHOLD UPHoly literary faux pas BatmanI almost forgot 11 Logan Ninefingers from Abercrombie s First Law Trilogysorry Bloody Nine All of youuys are awesome but unfortunately somebody had to winSo let me tell you a little about Hari Michelson and the world of Heroes Die The book itself is one of my ALL TIME FAVORITE novels This is always the FIRST book I recommend when someone is looking for a fun kickass action orientated science fiction or fantasy book For what it is I think it is almost a PERFECT novel namely a high octane fast paced brutally violent story with an original science fictionfantasy back story and well you already know how I feel about the main character BACKSTORYEarth of the future is controlled by mega corporations that have developed into a rigid occupation based caste system Society is now separated into 7 corporate based castes that include Leisurefolk top of the food chain think idle rich Investors Businessmen Administrators Professionalseg white collar workers with degrees like doctors lawyers and accountants Artisans Laborerseg unskilled labor pool In addition there is a uasi 8th Drain Me group known as Workers who are prisoners dissidents and other unfortunates who have been lobotomized and turned into something similar to a cybernetic zombieThe social and political aspects of the society in the novel are very interesting but barely explored I would love to read an entire book focusing only on this aspect of the society In Heroes Die we onlyet enticing bits and pieces but they are fascinating In this world of scare resources with the haves having to keep control of the have nots the ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY is king and ueen You see on Earth people no longer watch TV or movies Instead technology allows audiences to literally share the experiences of actors as they participate in Adventures on a planet called Overworld BRIEF PAUSE FOR DESCRIPTION OF ACTORS AND OVERWORLDOverworld is Earth in a parallel universe the how is explained in the book so just accept it for now Overworld is your standard sword and sorcery fantasy realm in which magic works humans live side by side though not peaceably with all manner of fantasy creatures and the technology is a cross between uasi medieval and uasi industrialActors Fantasy special forces commandos Actors are not the Hollywood stars of today They are men and women who have first spent years of training learning how to be either a magic adept or a fighter and then years in Overworld learning how to speak the language and practice their skills before being accepted as Actors ready to o on Adventures Basically this is you basic fantasy fan boys dream come true I would also mention here that the training is very expensive and so would be Actors need patrons from the higher castes to pay for it in the hopes of making money on their later Adventures END BRIEF PAUSESo when their years of training is complete Actors will be transported to Overworld known by the locals as Ankhana and assigned real life roles to play in the events of Ankhana The dangerous and life threatening the entertaining and the profitable Thus these actors et involved in political disputes ang wars military campaigns and often die as a result But heyTHAT S ENTERTAINMENTYou see by plugging into a special
chair and donning a special helmet an audience and donning a special helmet an audience can literally become the Actor and shares the Adventure as if they were there themselves though without the whole fear of death thing You hear what they hear smell what they smell and even taste what the taste The chairs also provide life support and nutrition for the audience member so they can stay plugged in for days at a time This sort of first hand Adventure is very expensive and usually only the Leisurefolk and Investor Class can afford it For everyone else there are replays and are real than virtual reality but not uite the same as the expensive version So with ALL of that backgroundit s time to meet Hari Michelson aka Caine Hari Michelson is the most famous Actor on Earth I won t ive you all of his background because it is fun to learn about it for yourself but he was born into the Labor class and was discovered by a Businessman who became his patron He was trained and became a member an Actor a member of the Professional caste His alter ego is the assassin Caine aka the Blade of Tyshalle and his legendary Adventures on Overworld are the most popular in history Despite being less than 6 tall and weighing considerably less than 200 pounds he is WITHOUT UESTION the most feared individual on Overworld His skill in hand to hand and weapons is unmatched and his ruthless berserk style is the stuff of legendsliterally During his career he has killed hundreds of people single handedly toppled You’ve Got Murder governments and been the focal point for several of the most pivotal events in Overworld history He is the oneuy in the room with whom you DO NOT MESS sorry but I warned you about the Cambridge Marketing Handbook: Services gushing character man love at the beginning of the review Well Hari on Earth is much like Caine on Overworld in so far as his attitudeoes He rubs the higher ups the wrong way with his insubordination and lack of bootlicking and would have long ago been busted for caste violation except his MASSIVE POPULARITY and hence MASSIVE PROFITABILITY PLOT SUMMARYSo how about the actual plot itself you ask Well it is involved but oh so tasty You see Caine s estranged wife and fellow Actor has disappeared while on Overworld Caine being the no nonsense fuck anybody who hurts my loved one kinda Developing Resilient Organizations: How to Create an Adaptive, High-Performance and Engaged Organization guy wants too start killing people until someone tells him where she is BUT the powers have other plans Caine s wife s ratings aren t what they once were and so they will only allow Caine to o to Overworld and attempt a rescue IF he agrees to first assassinate the newly installed Emperor of Overworld who has recently assumed power Earth is very worried about the new Emperor because he appears to have the power to bring peace to Overworld This would be very bad for business Bloodshed war and strife make for entertaining and profitable adventuresa stable peaceful Ankhana would be a disaster So Caine finds himself embroiled in political machinations both on Earth and Overworld with enemies all around him including a sadistic brutal villain named Berne who has been ranted vast powers by the new od like Emperor Yes the odds are very much stacked against Caine JUST THE WAY HE LIKES IT As Caine works his way through the many obstacles in his path he must decide what he is truly fighting for and what he is truly prepared to do to protect those he holds dear The answer is of course isCAINE WILL DO WHATEVER IT TAKES AND GOD HELP YOU IF YOU STAND IN HIS WAYNO MATTER WHO YOU ARE FINAL THOUGHTSHopefully I have iven you at least a sense of how much fun this novel is I know I can not completely do it justice but I would certainly strongly recommend you Done.: What most religions don't tell you about the Bible give it a try ONE FINAL WORD OF WARNING the book is uiteraphic and brutal maybe a bit less so by today s standards but still worthy of comment The language is very coarse the violence almost never lets up there is some significant Murderess Ink: The Better Half of the Mystery gore It isritty violent and morally vague However it is also IMHO as Utenrikspolitikk og norsk krisehåndtering good as this kind of storyets CAINE is the supreme warrior fighting with no rules to protect the woman he loves and bring blood splattering vengeance to those who put her in harms way I thought I would end with a few uotes from the book uoted in another online review so you can at least et a sense of the writing style employed by StoverWhen one of the characters is contrasting Berne to Caine she describes them as follows Berne had a feral uality a wildness of lust and dangerous unpredictability that went with the loose and relaxed jointless way he walked and held
*himself he was potently almost fiercely alive at all times Caine *he was potently almost fiercely alive at all times Caine had a uality of relaxation but there was nothing loose about it instead it was stillness a meditative readiness that seemed to flow out from him and fill the room with capacity for action as though all around him hosts of imaginary Caines performed every movement that was possible within the space every attack every defense every leap or flip or roll A short while later when Caine learns that Berne is in the area Kierendal s rowing insouciance vanished like smoke before a ale the black and lethal fury that flooded Caine s face when he spoke that name terrified her than had his earlier threats It was as though all of those Singing the Kyrgyz Manas: Saparbek Kasmambetov's Recitations of Epic Poetry ghost Caines that had filled the imaginary air suddenly turned and whipped faster than thought back within his body to make him so ferociously present that he seemed to burn with a scarlet flame And a final example of the kind of violent action that takes place in the story I jam the knife into his eye Bone crackles and blood sprays I use the knife to twist his face away from me a bloodstain on this livery could be fatal on my way out He flops like a salmon that s found unexpected land beneath an upstream leap This is only his body s last unconscious attempt to live itoes hand in hand with the release of his bowels and bladder He shits and pisses all over himself and his satin weave sheets another one of those primordial reflexes a futile dodge to make his meat unappetizing to the predator HIGHEST POSSIBLE RECOMMENDATION In the author s own words from the interview at the end of the book How would you describe Heroes Die A It s a piece of violent entertainment that is a meditation on violent entertainment as a concept in itself and as a cultural obsession It s a love story romantic love paternal love repressed homoerotic love love of money of power of country love betrayed and love employed as both carrot and stick It s a book about all different kinds of heroes and all the different ways they die It s a pop top can of Grade A one hundred percent pure whip ass Hari Michaelson is an actor on the top ten most popular stars on the whole Earth Reality shows have evolved in the future to the point where implants in the brain of the actor allow the audience to experience directly all the sensory input and the stream of conscience thoughts of the protagonist The ame is played on the Overworld an alternate Earth accessed through some sort of harmonic resonance device that opens a portal between paralell universes Overworld is a fantasy realm home to mythical creatures dragons elves oblins and much where medieval style kingdoms and empires fight it out with enchanted swords and magic spells The catch is this actors transfer to the Overworld bodily their resonance tuning is only ood for a limited period of time and death as a result of their risky behaviour is very much on the cards Your function in society is to risk your life in interesting ways Hari specialty is dealing with problems in the most violent way possible and if there are no problems he d better start a ruckus The public is A man shouldn’t die with no understanding of why he’s been murderedRenowned throughout the land of Ankhana as the Blade of Tyshalle Caine has killed his share of monarchs and commoners villains and heroes He is relentless unstoppable simply the best there is at what he doesAt. St titles and stars It s BIG BUSINESS worth billions especially when the adventure is about the biggest stars And Hari Michaelson Caine is THE BIGGEST With a ift for violence and free flowing solilouies he brings in big profits He s been around longer than most actors see actors are likely to die during an adventure than live to retirementand the episodes where an actor dies especially a well know actor dies make huge profits Harierr I mean Caine is the reatest killer errr I mean actor and adventurer out there and has legions of fans Fans even among the highest classes love Caine Everyone loves Caine except possibly his wife The only problem with that is that Caine is still head over heels sickeningly maudlinlyobsessively in love with her Shanna Shanna in OverWorld is the wizard Pallis Riland brother is she convinced of her own righteousness She separated from Hari because he s sonasty and violent you know yuckyThen it looks as if she s been taken by one of the biggest worst most deadly creeps on OverWorld The one uy that may be able to kill Caine Can Caine save his love Can he win and become a Founding Mothers gooduy Can love triumph over rottenness Can Caine win Shanna back Can you afford to be a firsthanderOkay My sense of humor overwhelmed me there In spite of my poking a little fun I find this to be one of the best novels I ve read in a whileFrom the above point we jump into the story It s set in this uite original world and is almost completely enthralling Many of you know that I m not big on romantic stories There is a strong strain of romance in this one for those of you who like that yet the writer maintains a The Pirate Queen: Queen Elizabeth I, Her Pirate Adventurers, and the Dawn of Empire good sense of balance not allowing the romance to overwhelm the plot nor the action to choke out the romance Stover may be better known to some of you through his tie ins with Star Wars and novelizations of that franchise still here he does arand job He manages to include a strong strain of political or semi political thought in the novel without ever becoming preachy or annoying It s probably uite possible to read through the novel without noticing it at all if you want toI find this an incredible book despite a few drawbacks I found ShannaPallas Ril the love interest incredibly annoying and self involved but then I think Iwe are supposed to I rate it 5 stars recommend it with the above caveats and plan to Tracking Daddy Down get into the first seuel as uickly as I can First off cheers to Thomas Stacey for the recommendation This book is definitelyoing in as one of my absolute faves for 2017 I have lived every day of my life only to bring myself here to this moment and it has been worth every moment This author has written an epic love story that you re not even totally aware of until you re sucked in This isn t hearts and roses strewn on the floor This is like blood Cooked: From the Streets to the Stove, from Cocaine to Foie Gras guts broken bones severed limbs bring down theaddamn world kind of love story Like your favourite epic love story ain t Fat got nothing on this Like i said this isn t some uintessential love book There s so much than that happening You re introduced to an eclectic range of characters from Berne this dude was bloody insane like if you ever meet someone like this just run To that snivelling whinny piece of shit poet boy To Talan God that woman could kick bloody ass To Shanna Pallis who really was a shit though i mean really she was a shit Toaddamn Hari Caine sigh that man was beyond everything he was damn amazingRead this book You won t be disappointed 5 StarsAfter nearly 15 years of being in my reading ueue Heroes Die by Matthew Woodring Stover than lived up to my high expectations This brutally dark and twisted and often funny science fiction fantasy blend is just so much damn fun I admit that I am sure that there are flaws in this book in the plot and even in our wonderful heroes but to me it is as if Matthew Woodring Stover wrote this book just for me and my sick and twisted sense of humor Hot damn Stover even combines my favorite two Lost And Found Bride genres making this book one that will satisfy my deepest carnal and intellectual needs The pacing is fast and frenetic with just enough pauses for commercial breaks to make this a tough book to put down There is a sufficient amount of world building and backstory that create this rich and dynamic world and launch this series as allreat epic fantasies do Like others have said the book takes place in the near future here on Earth but in that time we have discovered and alternate universe version of our planet called Overworld by us and Ankhana by them But I can explain it to you and your viewers the same way IT WAS EXPLAINED TO ME YOU SEE EARTH AND was explained to me You see Earth and are the same planet in different universes Each universe the whole thing sort of vibrates in its own way what they call the Universal Constant of Resonance Now it doesn t really vibrate that s just the easiest way to think about it We Ambition and Accommodation: How Women View Gender Relations go from one to the other by changing our Constant of Resonance to match the other universe Is everybody confused yet The real kicker is that in this time period reality television has taken on an even darkerreed filled life of its own Hollywood of that time period takes things to the extreme you see Hari Michelson our main protagonist is an actor playing a part in Overworld as Caine For over 20 years Michelson has played roles and adventures in Overworld for people in his time to watch as entertainment He is by far the biggest and most popular actor in the world and therefore also the most profitable This novel unfolds with many pauses in the action on Overworld to commercial like updates on Hari s Earth Corporate American Kinship: A Cultural Account greed of that time is nearly as scary as armies of soldiers and hitmenThe plot is fairly linear but Stover does a nice job at throwing in a few really cool unforeseen twists The side characters addreat flavors to this book but it is Caine that makes it stand outIt is also important to point out that Matthew Woodring Stover is not afraid to write profanity nor does he shy away from penning out An Ethics of Interrogation gruesome andraphic violence If this bothers you please do not read the rest of this review and be warned that if you decide to read this book it is filled with colorful language Not since Joe Abercrombie and his First Law series have I felt so in touch with the author and connected to his choice of words I jam the knife into his eye I use the knife to twist his face away from
Me A Bloodstain On a bloodstain on livery could be fatal on my way out He flops like a salmon that s found unexpected land beneath an upstream leap This is only his body s last unconscious attempt to live it Ancestral Voices: Religion and Nationalism in Ireland goes hand in hand with the release of his bowels and bladder He shits and pisses all over himself and his satin weave sheets another one of those primordial reflexes a futile dodge to make his meat unappetizing to the predator You say Nobody puts magick on me Caine Nobody Don t they know I ll kill them Do these fumbledicks have any clue who they re fucking here I veot Abbal Paslava the freakingSpellbinder he ll do these bastards till their dicks stick up their own assholes and they fuck themselves with every step Not all of Stover s writing is so Animal Ecology gratuitous He is eually adept at writing well written and descriptive scenes that create a painting type of view Caine stepped casually within his half smile blurred by the raging Flow that whirled around him He closed the door behind himself and leaned against it Those shadow forms were back again thosehostly Caine doubles that his every motion seemed to spawn He was so utterly prepared for any possible action that the host doubles took on a solidity in the Flow around him She could see them now vague shifting patternings of force where before she had only imagined them Most importantly I need to tell everyone that Hari Michelson aka Caine aka the Blade of Tyshalle is simply one of the coolest kick ass in your face mother f er ever to be written I thought that Logen Ninefingers was my favorite but after just this one book Caine may have taken the front seat This book is all about Caine the assassin Caine the actor and Hari the man who fails to see just how much he really is Unlike comic book super heroes Caine and Hari do not play out as a hero and an alter ego They are very much the same person set in completely different worlds Hari would et along John for Everyone: Part One, Chapters 1-10 great with Tony Stark In an action packed novel that had me hooting and hollering on than one occasion it was a scene with Hari and his father Duncan that I loved the most They had severalreat conversations that ended up being the pivot point and the heart of how this book comes to a head In this scene Duncan Anarchist Modernism: Art, Politics, and the First American Avant-Garde gives his son some advice First uit whining Then uit kidding yourself Let the Chairman let the Emperor let everybody think that Caine is who you are just don t let yourself think that That s your edge People have been watching you almost twenty years and nobody knows yet how smart you really are Take those baby steps Hari inch toward daylight Trust that if you just don t uit eventually you ll find yourself on the pivot you ll be in a spot where one bold stroke will lock everything down You know your enemy but he doesn t know you Kollberg thinks that as long as you can tet your hands on him he s safe The actions of Caine in this book and the violence both portrayed and insinuated at make him one scary son of a bitch He is an anti hero not to be missed I loved every bit of this book and because of my man crush on Caine I will overlook any flaws that their might have been This book will be loved by all fans of the First Law series and the Gentleman Bastards I forget for long periods of time how tremendously awesome epic fantasy books can be When they are well written with high stakes well drawn and fascinating characters scenes and set pieces which fit together perfectly constantly ratcheting up the tension and suspense reading experiences don t come much better for meTo be clear this isn t pure epic fantasy it s a combination of fantasy and science fiction where Actors from a future Earth Betting on Ideas: Wars, Inventions, Inflation go adventuring in Overworld which is aritty non medieval fantasy adventure world a la Mieville s Bas Lag without the truly inventiveexcessive weirdness for the entertainment of the masses in the rather dystopian caste based society back home Hari Michaelson is the most famous Actor of this world and his Overworld character Caine is one of the most famous men there relentless unstoppable simply the best there is at what he does though he s not in fact the best fighter in the world or even in the book and he s very far from invincibleThis is probably not for everyone and Stover s writing style can be over the top his personal writing motto is I Swear by the Power of All Dark Gods that I Will Write Every Fucking Word Balls Out *for Glory But it s not bad writing as far as writing every fucking word etc etc * Glory But it s not bad writing as far as writing every fucking word etc etc I think it s about as Being after Rousseau: Philosophy and Culture in Question good as itetsStover himself described the book this way It s a piece of violent entertainment that s a meditation on violent entertainment as a concept in itself as a cultural obsession It s a love story romantic love paternal love repressed homoerotic love love of money of power of country love betrayed and employed as both carrot and stick It s about all different kinds of heroes and all the different ways they die It s a pop top can of Grade A one hundred percent pure whip assSo that last line is a bit hokey but otherwise that self analysis is accurate And despite all the macho bullshit recognized as such by characters in the book eventually including CaineHari himself there is in fact character personality and development and intelligent thought and political concern and the realization that physical confrontation can t solve any of the really big problemsI should note though that the physical confrontations are nigh astounding Stover is a martial artist and the fight scenes in this book are some of the most vivid I ve ever read Excessive violence certainly but it s there for a reasonPolitically the book focuses primarily perhaps on individual freedom and the individual s Hari s struggle against a repressive Berlioz and His Century: An Introduction to the Age of Romanticism government but I think there is honest political engagement on a larger level throughout both on Earth and Overworld Further it s actually surprising nothing turns out uite like I thought it would 45 stars Not uite Mieville or Martin for me probably because of the omnipresent stylization of the writing and the fact that the book seems so intensely personal but it wouldn t have been the same book if Stover s authorial voice had somehow been detached Absolutely worth reading if this review and others piue your interest than they annoy you. Is rage in checkBut now Michaelson has crossed the line His estranged wife Pallas Rill has mysteriously disappeared in the slums of Ankhana To save her he must confront thereatest challenge of his life a lethal ame of cat and mouse with the most treacherous rulers of two worlds.