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
, 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.