This week’s novel is The Heroes by Joe Abercrombie. This is a standalone novel that takes place in the same world and with the same characters as his First Law Trilogy. I’ve said before that that trilogy was the catalyst that made me want to start writing and is my favourite book series of all time.
That being said, The Heroes is my favourite novel by Mr. Aberombie. It incorporates all of the elements that I love about his books. Gritty, interesting characters, intense action, a fast moving plot, all wrapped up in humour.
Like all of his standalone novels, this book brings back some characters from previous books. Shivers, Bayaz, Gorst, Prince Calder, and a few others. Shivers in particular is one of my favourite characters from the universe, just in the sheer depth of his development as human. As usual there is a number of new entries, all large than life figures.
At it’s very core this book is a war story about how useless and horrible war and battle is. This theme is one that I think is very much becoming sewn into the fabric of modern fantasy novels. Gone are the days of glorifying combat and war as noble and exciting. The characters is this book suffer and we see way more death that is comfortable. Abercrombie really makes efforts to show the absurdity of war, and how it destroys those around them.
There are other interesting themes also sprinkled in too. Redemption, friendship, loneliness, fear, Abercombie folds all of these into the story. I don’t really want to go too far into the nitty and gritty of the book because it’s best to go in fresh. The Heroes is an experience, a 600 page thrill ride.
The big question to answer is should you read this if you haven’t read the First Law Trilogy? Personally I would recommend Best Served Cold instead, though you won’t be lost if you pick this book up either. It will just make it a richer experience, as you’ll see characters from the other side of the page. Overall, The Heroes is an amazing novel, one of my personal favourites, so you should pick it up if you like gritty, action filled, fantasy.
You can buy my novels here
and you can follow me on twitter @jameslikesbooks