Bret James Stewart's Reviews > Heroes of the Siege

Heroes of the Siege by Tony   Johnson
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it was amazing

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a review.

This is a great fantasy novel ending in a good versus evil smackdown cliffhanger. Johnson has done well on his first novel. He has woven the tale of secret identities, a major political coup, action, and love into a fine tapestry of vibrant characters in a realistic world. He's given it an interesting title, too.

The world is standard fantasy fare with knights and dragons, but Johnson has added new elements to the world of Element. He takes the time to explain things, sometimes more than once (but not in a boring way), so that the reader knows what is going on. The world is self-vindicating and internally-consistent, which I appreciate and think you will, too. Realistic (in the sense of believable) settings is important to me as a reader.

As the title implies, the action takes place immediately before and during a war. Hordes of monsters launch a surprise attack on the royal capitol of Celestial culminating in an occupation of the city. The crown prince usurps the throne, killing his noble grandfather to do so. The city is thrown into turmoil. The doomed soldiers of the city fight valiantly, but are outnumbered and surprised, so that the outcome is inevitable. You actually care about the people and the city itself because, due to Johnson's talent for making the setting seem real, you feel as if you know the people at least well enough to empathize with them. You cheer, suffer, and care right along with them. Despite the title, there is no siege as the city is overrun quite quickly. I understand the choice as "Heroes of the Siege" sounds a lot cooler than "Heroes of the Occupation" (Vive le resistance!), but it does make you think the defenders will prevent the monsters from taking over so that a siege can begin. This is my only quibble with the story.

The story is broken into three different storylines focusing on three characters. The first is the human Stephen Brightflame, a warrior of Celestial, knight, and champion jouster. His bravery, loyalty, and charisma is evident. I dare you to read it without thinking of Heath Ledger in the movie, A Knight's Tale. The second is the elf Tyrus Canard, Stephen's adopted brother. Ty, as he is called, is even more charismatic, in a way, than Stephen. He is a ladies man. He is also a warrior of Celestial, a gryphon-rider, at that. The third is the half-elven Kari Quinn. She is an archer of no little skill who encounters Ty as they are both fighting monsters during the invasion. Ty and Kari fall in love rather quickly, which sometimes happens, especially during times of crisis. The storyline follows these three engaging characters as they battle the forces of evil, strive for excellence, and try to keep themselves and their families and friends alive. Johnson begins the book in the middle of action, moves back and forth between the three plots in an interesting way, and interjects enough detail and background to make you care about the people and future impacted by the attack. He ends the book with a cliffhanger: the three main characters surrounded by enemies, with Stephen determining he will kill the usurper before the monsters rip them to shreds. This left me gnawing my fingernails in anticipation of the next book. The Story of Evil Volume I: Heroes of the Siege is a fantasy thrill ride you don't want to miss.

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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
January 14, 2014 – Shelved

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