The Heroes

The Heroes

Book - 2012
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Oct 24, 2020

I have yet to read a novel by Abercrombie that I didn't love! This guy has discovered something about fans of this genre, at least fans such as myself. Some of us absolutely despise the usual black and white, good versus evil worlds created by many authors. That is not how real humans are, and not how the real world is in most cases. We all have the capacity to be very good or very bad, and for our own reasons we choose to act mostly on the better impulses. But I know that if we lived in a world like that depicted in Abercrombie's novels ... well, behaving like most of the goody good characters in some fantasy worlds do, would get you nothing but a quick trip to 'the mud'.
Abercrombie understands that people can be both good and bad, and he has a rare talent to make even the most 'evil' characters somewhat sympathetic, if not likeable. The 'Bloody Nine' is actually considered one of the GOOD GUYS (I think?!) in this world, so that says it all. And wow, can this guy write battle scenes. I have no idea how 'realistic' they are, and I doubt anyone else alive today knows either. But they feel real, and that's good enough for me.
Some people say these books are 'too graphic', but I really disagree. Making people believe that killing human beings is some clean, honorable way to deal with them, as long as it was done during a war? And making them think warfare and death are heroic, that helps none of us. Show it for what it really is, disgusting and brutal and very very messy.
Abercrombie has been my favorite author since I first picked up one of his books. I read an awful lot. That's the best recommendation I can give to anyone I suppose.

Oct 22, 2019

I really loved this book. Abercrombie sets up the story with a good balance of characters from opposing sides of the battle, all with different perspectives, ranks, attitudes and goals. This book was not just random hack-and-slash, it had battles with soldiers who were deployed realistically and commanders who were anything but good leaders.

The commentary about war and being a hero throughout the book was very well done. I've read this twice and it was still great on the second reading. Although this is a stand-alone book, the story is more enjoyable if you've read his original trilogy and have more background about the world that Abercrombie has created.

It's a fantastic read, I highly recommend it!

mvkramer Mar 22, 2016

First of all, I'd like to give kudos to Abercrombie. This book has loads and loads of characters, but he manages to give them all personality and uniqueness. Despite taking place over such a short period of time, the story is very compelling, full of twists and turns until the very end.

Jan 18, 2016

Reading this books was a bloody good time... and I mean BLOODY. Recall the fight scenes in the movie Braveheart. Now imagine a story with nothing but that gruesome fighting for hundreds of pages. A little too long for me, but intense. I found who I was rooting for change from one chapter to the next. There is a lot of villainy on both sides without any real villains.

Jan 04, 2016

Multiple voices explain what it is like to be in the middle of a bloody sword battle. Gruesome but engaging book on the realities of war from those who have to fight them.

Oct 15, 2014

Abercrombie's ability to give his many characters authentic 'voices' brings this prolonged battle to life. Just a great read and even better as an audiobook.

Aug 05, 2014

The story of several days of battle between the Northmen and the Union, in Joe Abercrombie's world, from multiple viewpoints. Some characters, from his previous novels- The Blade Itself, were mentioned
but were not central to the story, so the previous books are not needed to have been read.
I like how all the characters were self deprecating to themselves, but had to posture and make themselves out as brash heroes "in public". How he lets everyone know how senseless war is. How the youngest "hero" Beck, develops and grows up in those few days.
A bit confusing at times, jumping from one viewpoint to another, and from one side of the battle to another. Bayuz' influence in the war is hinted at, but not not exactly how he was able to achieve his ends.

JCLGreggW Feb 15, 2013

This standalone novel from fantasy author Abercrombie takes a grunts-eye-view of three days of battle in a fantasy world. The well-organized Union squares off against the rough and tumble skirmishers of the North, centered around a Stonehenge-like structure called "The Heroes." Abercrombie delivers a dark yet brilliant novel, full of memorable characters on both sides who rise and fall with the tides of war. Fans of gritty fantasy or historical fiction will find much to love here. Highly recommended.

Aug 07, 2011

Another great book from a great author. I've thoroughly enjoyed all of Abercrombie's books so far and look forward to the next.

debwalker Feb 26, 2011

Fantasy sword epic meets mlitary historical fiction.
"A devastatingly realistic look at the emotional and moral landscape of military combat - never mind that it's set outside historical reality." --Ron Hogan

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