Beth's Reviews > Hero at the Fall

Hero at the Fall by Alwyn Hamilton
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really liked it
bookshelves: reviewed

(Fix the typos, Penguin Random House. Tassel isn't spelled tassle, and separate has two a's in the middle and shouldn't be printed as seperate - certainly not a line before it is spelled correctly.)

About halfway through this, I was wondering why I bother. Every political revolution book seems to be the same, after all. A band of plucky idealists with unlikely, perfect skillsets and a charismatic leader defies the odds, and - barring the obligatory deaths (this is Serious Business, after all) - manages to win the day.

Which is to say: the first half of this book is unfocused and generic. It has no clear reason for existing. It takes twists and turns for the sake of twisting and turning, there's never any doubt about where it will end up, and it feels by-the-numbers instead of organic and convincing. There are also clumsy attempts at myth-building and storytelling that feel repetitive and unnecessary, even keeping the eventual ending in mind.

The most interesting part of the book is the end, even with that fairly ham-handed myth-building. That's what reminds you that winning means sacrificing something, maybe for the rest of your life, and that the sacrifice is worthwhile -
We were all half character now, for the rest of our lives, anytime we appeared in public. It was a fair price to pay for victory.
It's a mature and refreshing perspective, not to have a character chafe at heavy expectations. Some books would start from that point, not realizing that the ability to chafe is itself a sign of freedom...

And then there's this:
But no storyteller would ever think to wonder how a girl from the desert learned to swim.
There's something almost out of place there, the idea that storytelling - possibly including this very book! - is limited, or deliberately omitting for the sake of some greater impact. That, more than anything, opens up this world.

And beyond that, it's in the ending that I remembered why I like these types of books. There's novelty, even wishfulness, to a clear choice between good and evil, and novelty in winning out. And there's something compelling, hopeful, even beautiful, about the idea that if you believe something true, you can fight enough, and convince enough people, and rally a country - and make a better world.
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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
May 20, 2017 – Shelved as: to-read
May 20, 2017 – Shelved
May 5, 2018 – Shelved as: reviewed

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