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Heroes Arise Hardcover – October 1, 2007
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There are also details here and there that stand out as beginner mistakes: far too many bad guys like to say "prepare to die!" while attacking; it was hard to read the name "Gundack" over and over without giggling a bit; and some phrases evoked unfortunate images ("Father Sun spread his pink and lavender robe wide"---it's unfortunate when you're left picturing the sun god as a flasher!). Gundack's constant changing his mind over Rheemar's loyalties was also incredibly annoying and repetitive---it seemed that it would have made far more sense for him to reserve judgment or gradually make up his mind rather than continually change his opinion back and forth.
There's definitely a highly unusual talent at work here with regards to the world-building and the unusual ecology and biology elements. However, some additional polishing would help to take further books to the next level of enjoyment. I often found myself simultaneously having difficulty putting this book down, while yet frowning over things that just struck me a little... wrong.
The protagonist, Gundack, is a tribal leader whose wife has been murdered by the Tarr, a splinter group of Kren who are a mountain-dwelling people. According to the customs of his people--and to defend his honor, so he may marry Eutoebi, a fellow tribeswoman--he must seek revenge.
Along the way, Gundack meets a human, Rheemar, who is searching for her sister who has been stolen by the Tarr. Thus is formed an unlikely, and tentative, alliance. Rheemar seems to know many mysterious things about the Tarr that enable her to assist Gundack in fulfilling his quest, while simultaneously providing herself with the muscle with which she hopes to fulfill her own.
In the end, all are challenged to review deeply-held beliefs, not only about each other, but also about their own individual cultures, as well as what defines a true 'hero'.
Hill is very adept at building the world of the Kren; the reader gets a sense of how the people live, including what they eat and what they worship. She gives the Kren an honor code that is unmatched by anything human, and a thirst for vengence that would give pride to any warrior culture. Because she chooses to unveil these details in a slow manner, the world is seemingly built around you as the narrative grows. I'm not a huge Fantasy fan, but I found the world Hill created engrossing.
The action in this book is well-written and fast-paced.Read more ›
Teresa LeYung Ryan [...]