Written by Ben Smith and reviewed by Jamie Hall
On the face of it Hero is a Tolkein-esq novel of epic adventure, larger than life bad guys and a small unknown hero who is tasked with saving the entire world. Unlike Frodo though the 16 year old Elf, Saberen is a powerful central figure who is more than capable of holding his own against the fast approaching darkness.
Unlike Tolkein though, Ben Smith foregoes the vast array of supporting characters in favour of just two primary travellers. While this works well in the beginning the story can begin to feel flimsy and weak at a few points during the story. While these points are certainly few and far between they can grate on you.
That being said though Hero is a well-crafted and hugely enjoyable read that can’t fail to entertain. I took the book on holiday with me and I devoured the entire book from cover to cover in just over a day. I promptly passed it around my family and every single one enjoyed it just as much as I did. Even my girlfriend who has a past with disliking fantasy books enjoyed the hell out of Hero. If your novel is enjoyed by so many people with so many different tastes you know you have a good book.
My favourite aspect of Hero though, comes not from its sweeping vistas of imaginative mountains or the sprawling adventure that sees Saberen pulled roughly from his comfortable life and thrust into a quest for the good of the entire world. No. For me the greatest aspect of this novel are the similarities of my adventures in the fictional worlds created by The Elder Scrolls Series.
Climbing a narrow path up a mountain to the mysterious cave at the top and the sudden, often heart pounding, appearances of various monsters and wild animals are paralleled almost seamlessly with Saberen’s adventures across Havaen.Hero is without a doubt one of the best Fantasy novels i have read recently. It is exciting, innovative and bloody marvelous.
It is already back on my shelf waiting for me to get a few spare hours for me to re-join Saberen on his journey.