Reviews: The Acts Of Caine

The best fiction money can buy

I cannot recommend the Acts of Caine enough. They rock.

Unlike the first reviewer, I have no issues with Blade of Tyshalle. In fact, it is probably the stongest entry in the series. Heaven forbid that there are lapses of logic in MAGIC. But that aside, Caine/Hari is not supposed to be likeable. He is a scowling, murderous asshole who kills people for money (or if they piss him off). Its like saying that you're supposed to like Mac Beth. You don't. However, you do admire Caine. The two are not the same thing. The story lies in Caine's actions and motivations, and the consequences of them. This is fiction at its darkest.

But also at its best.

Heroes Whine (Spoilers Ahead)

I first read 'Heroes Die' after Stover's EU works, and was fairly impressed. It featured good action and plot, and despite the shortcomings (such as the believability of the future-Earth, Shanna doing... whatever she did to become a goddess), I'd recommend it to others. After reading Blade of Tyshalle, though, I found three points that degraded the plot for me.

1. The believability. I know the series is a fantasy, but that doesn't excuse regular lapses in logic. Why would future-Earth make Overworld adventures into glorified reality TV instead of dominating it from the start? Why can Pallas turn nuclear explosions into inter-dimensional barriers and reconstruct her body and not heal Caine? Who/what is the Blind God? And why would Shanna even ''like' Hari?*

2. The characters. Something I've noticed from Stover, in this series and his EU work: He doesn't make likeable or deep characters, and works better with pre-made ones. Shanna is good and dumb, Ma'elKoth is a megalomaniac Physical God, Hope is a little girl, the Board of Directors is comically evil, ect ect. I didn't find any of them to be particularly endearing or memorable; they weren't particularly unlikeable, but not really likeable overall. This leads us to...

3. Hari/Caine. Stover wants us to like him; I find myself puzzled as to what there is to like. I had trouble getting a real understanding of the character, or identifying many positive traits in him. He's a murderous, whining conflict-seeking/promoting asshole, and it's a pain listening to him. He's committed genocide, started a civil war, and murdered dozens without remorse, and we're supposed to root for him? Are we supposed to care about his whining that he can't go back to where he committed those crimes and is 'punished' by living a comfortable life? Granted, these kinds of characters can work for me, such as with Caim or Tony, but unlike them, Hari is supposed to be supported and pitied when he whines; Caim and Tony drew me in by being complete bastards (not whiners) and by sheer force of their sociopathic personality.

Overall, the series isn't that bad, despite my words; the first book might be worth checking out.

  • It's been awhile since I read, so I might be wrong. Correct me if needed.