Joe's Reviews > Heroes Die

Heroes Die by Matthew Woodring Stover
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's review
Apr 10, 2012

really liked it

As a disclaimer, I'm not much of a sci-fi reader. Aside from a few books like Dune, ender's game, and a few star wars books as a kid, I've never been really into the the hard-core sci-fi genre. When I kept hearing such good things about Heroes Die, I looked into it more.

The reason I had seen it come up on various lists that tended to favor fantasy-genre books is because Stover wrote a book that bridges the two genres. The basis of the book is sci-fi, set in a future version of earth, where they have discovered a "phasing" technology, and can phase people to other "universes". The people of earth find this other universe that supports human life which they call "Overworld". They then decide to send human "actors" there to have an adventure, and record it as television/movie style entertainment. Overworld is a world similar to various other fantasy-genre worlds, with creatures such as elves, mages, etc. So part of the book takes place on an earth similar to ours (though slightly in the future), while the rest takes place in this fantasy-esque place, Overworld. I really wasn't sure how this relationship was going to work, but so many good reviews made me at least give it a try. For the most part, I'm glad I did.

For the first 1/4 of this book I honestly had to struggle to get into it. Stover throws you into a world where the characters seem to take for granted aspects of their worlds that are not explained to the reader. I was confused about various aspects of the earth-overworld relationship, what being an actor/aktir meant, as well as the relationship between the castes on earth. Needless to say (due to my 4 star rating), I did eventually figure things out. But I felt like I was halfway through the book before I truly understood the intricacies of seemingly crucial elements to the book.

That aside, Stove manages to do the two worlds, two realities line extremely well. In fact if he wasn't such a good writer, and if he hadn't had decent explanations for a lot of the illogical pieces about this relationship, it really wouldn't have worked at all. That said, I give him 5 stars in the creativity and originality departments. Once I had invested time and effort into this book, I finally started to care about what happened to the characters and was soon hooked. I think I read the last 2/3 of the book faster than the first 1/3.

Despite me ending up truly enjoying it, I honestly think it had potential to be even better, and the amount of open ended questions, and unexplained physics made me almost want to rate it a 3. But it's definitely worth a 3.5, and I round that up to 4.

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Reading Progress

April 10, 2012 – Shelved
April 15, 2012 – Started Reading
April 17, 2012 –
page 92
April 23, 2012 –
page 208
April 24, 2012 – Finished Reading

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