Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Once a Hero” as Want to Read:
Once a Hero
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Once a Hero

3.99  ·  Rating Details  ·  622 Ratings  ·  23 Reviews
Already an unparalleled creator of fantasy role-playing games and game-related novels, Michael Stackpole now ventures one step further with an original epic adventure. Once a Hero unravels a riveting tale of a legendary human hero, who, in one life, built a kingdom, and who, 500 years later, must be raised from the dead to help save it. An intriguing tale of elven magic an ...more
Paperback, 528 pages
Published April 1st 1994 by Spectra (first published 1994)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Once a Hero, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Once a Hero

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,012)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Sep 30, 2013 Dragana rated it really liked it
It took a long time for world building and characterisation to be intriguing instead of overwhelming or sometimes even boring. Second part of the book was much better and real page turner.
I hope I will have time to write a full review soon.
Oct 12, 2009 Johnny rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
My autographed copy of Once a Hero was hidden in my basement game room for years. Now, after two major moves, I found it in my temporary storage area. Asking myself to remember the plot, I realized I'd never actually read the book. Looking at the very static cover art, I realized I had put off reading the book until "later."

So, it was a great surprise to me when I actually read it. I had always thought Mike's "Fiddleback Trilogy" written as game fiction behind the Dark Conspiracy role-playing ga
Jan 15, 2011 Lindsey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, ebooks
This is my third read through this novel and it comes about 8 years after I first picked it up. It holds up surprisingly well in many aspects, although it's not quite the tour-de-force I remembered.

Once a Hero is a novel about character and friendship and as such it differs from most fantasy novels where the world inhabited is as prominent as the people who move through it. Stackpole doesn't skimp on world-building, but neither is it a focus of the book. As a reader, I think of Stackpole as writ
Sep 26, 2012 Keith rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
This book had a cool idea but didn't pan out as well as it could have. My first problem was that the plot described on the back of the book says that the Hero, Neal, from long ago is brought back from the dead to help fight evil or something like that. Neal doesn't get freakin resurrected until freakin page 400 or so. You spend half your time in the present, and half your time in the past when Neal was first alive. My second problem is that during the time when Neal was first alive, almost all o ...more
Sep 28, 2007 Lissa rated it liked it
When I was in my high school and early college years, I was really into the science fiction/fantasy genre. I also overspent my budget on books. I refuse just to give away books that I have purchase, so while this is not really my favorite genre anymore, I am still making my way through the books of my youth. Some of them have pleasantly surprised me, transcending the genre and making me want to read more. This really isn't one of those books.

Once A Hero is the story of Neal Roclawzi - I mean, N
eden Hudson
Apr 08, 2014 eden Hudson rated it it was amazing
I should have stolen this book.

Let me back up a little bit and explain.

I read Once a Hero for the first time in high school. I was your classic antisocial book nerd, living vicariously through epic fantasy and in love with the tragic hero (two things Once a Hero absolutely nails).

My family was also extremely poor. I would check out books from the library, lose track of time reading and rereading my favorites, then bring the books back only to find out I had an overdue fee I couldn't pay. There
Jun 21, 2014 Caryn rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: adults only
Recommended to Caryn by: Stephanie
Did you know that elves are really 5'-10"? They are! This story delves into the history and heritage of the elves, and gives greater insight as to who they are and the powers that they have.

I must also admit that there is a bad scene in this book, so it is not for kids or youth. With the exception of that portion, I would say that it is a really great book!
Jan 14, 2011 Lindsey rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, favorites
Possibly Stackpole's finest work; good characters, plot, world building, and battle scenes. An excellent adventure for fans of epic fantasy or historic fantasy.
Caleb Mickel
I really enjoy Michael Stackpole's writing so far. I have read 3 of his books now and 2 of them were super enjoyable while one was sub par (maybe that's because I don't like Star Wars books?) Stackpole has a talent for creating a fantasy world that is very cool and easily believable in just one book. No 14 book series here. Talion: Revenant and this book both impressed me with how easily I'm pulled into the world. Anyone that is not quite sure if they like fantasy I will be sending them the way ...more
David Miles
Dec 27, 2015 David Miles rated it liked it
Characters were a bit simplistic and the story kept bouncing back and forth from the "past" to the "present" for my liking.

That said, Neal was a great self-effacing hero and the story was interesting overall.
Booknerd Fraser
Aug 09, 2015 Booknerd Fraser rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
This was a well-written surprise ; I was looking for something simpler, but this was interesting in the back-and-forth story, the smart-ass narrator, and the extended meditation on myth and history, as well the rich and poor.
Sep 21, 2007 Nicholas rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I had wanted to read this one for a long time. I was slightly disappointed, as I didn't find Neal to be as compelling a hero as Nolan, but the "hero across time" concept was pretty neat. I liked it a heck of a lot, and the braided chapters were cool, as usual.

I think the best part is his compelling 4th elder race (besides elves, dwarves, and Ents). They're well written, and the Reithrese fill a role in the Vedic-sort of mythology that the elder races usually hold; The dwarves are a creator race,
Nov 28, 2014 Mark rated it really liked it
Really good Fantasy book. 4.5 stars. interesting use of time in a book where some of the races live for hundreds of years. an excellent portrayal on the non-human mind and culture. Instead of elves being just humans who live in the woods and shoot bows, the author, Stackpole, does an admirable job of portraying the elder race as being outre and other than Man. Very good main character, straddles the hero/ anti-hero line really well. and, finally a really well thought out and interesting story in ...more
Feb 03, 2011 Lani rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy
A pretty generic fantasy novel that didn't really go anywhere. I agreed with someone else's review where they noted that the middle was really the highlight of the book.

If you read a lot of fantasy, this isn't a bad example of the genre and you'll probably enjoy it. If you're looking for a book to convince you of all that is awesome in 'ride around on horses with elves' fantasy, this should not be the book that you pick up.
Jun 29, 2012 Thomas rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
This is my all time favorite book. I don't know how many times I're read the German translation so far. I finally found an ebook of the original and what should I say?
It is as good as the translation oder the translation is as good as the original?
Well I don't care. It is a great book. It is easy to read, the characters are great and you get a good image of the world behind.
Caitlin Calloway
Sep 10, 2012 Caitlin Calloway rated it liked it
Impressive, especially considering this was Stackpole's first novel. His distinctive writing style might not appeal to some, and you have to suspend your disbelief a little at the end, but overall it's very good.
Matthew Shaw
Jul 08, 2008 Matthew Shaw rated it really liked it
Great piece of entertaining Fantasy. Elves, Humans, dwarves, and a 4th evil race that seems a bit like orcs. Magic and Romance destiny themes are prevelant. Uses time skipping to tell two generations of story.
Sep 17, 2008 Adam rated it it was amazing
One of the most unusual and engaging books I have read, this would be my favorite Stackpole novel if I hadn't read Talion: Revenant already. Beautifully crafted to keep the reader in suspense.
Aug 24, 2013 Nicole rated it liked it
An enjoyable page-turner, well plotted and structured. It lost a star from me because of the way it resolved (spoilers redacted), but otherwise a fun fantasy.
Apr 13, 2013 Ben rated it really liked it
I found this book to be a very enjoyable read. It's too bad more people aren't aware of Michael Stackpole, I find him to be a very good writer in the fantasy genre.
Feb 03, 2008 Crystal rated it it was amazing
Very good stand alone novel. One that you wish there were more coming.
Jun 25, 2013 Maria rated it liked it
This book does not get going until the end. Worth the wait though.
Mar 18, 2011 Jeffrey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
a superb fantasy that does not get enough attention
Michelle Elizabeth
Dec 04, 2015 Michelle Elizabeth marked it as unowned-want-to-read-3
Diana Parker
Diana Parker marked it as to-read
May 02, 2016
Chuck marked it as to-read
Apr 30, 2016
Daniel rated it liked it
Apr 24, 2016
Leonid rated it it was amazing
Apr 16, 2016
Karis marked it as to-read
Apr 14, 2016
Bonnie Johnson
Bonnie Johnson marked it as to-read
Apr 11, 2016
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 33 34 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Kedrigern in Wanderland (Kedrigern, #3)
  • A Wizard in Bedlam (Rogue Wizard, #3)
  • The Wiz Biz (Wiz, #1-2)
  • The Prince of Ill Luck (Warhorse of Esdragon, #1)
  • Dragons of War (Bazil Broketail, #3)
  • Time Bomb and Zahndry Others
  • Union of Renegades (The Rys Chronicles #1)
  • Hero Wanted (Jason Cosmo #1)
  • The Enchanter Reborn
  • The Chaos Gate (Bard's Tale, #4)
  • Sympathy for the Devil (Devil's Point, #1)
  • Littlest Lovecraft: The Call of Cthulhu
  • Król bezmiarów (Księga całości, #2)
  • Drsný spasitel
  • The Troll's Grindstone
  • Orcs: Army of Shadows (Orcs Bad Blood #2)
  • Temná hlídka (Hlídka)

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »