I love what I call “Knight Fantasy”. Epic, imaginably complicated attractive men and magic. It’s the top third category of my favorite shiz to read. I received a preview copy of The Hero of Legend (2nd edition) and was told there was magic and armies battling to the death. I assumed they were hot so obviously I read it. When I started, I was immediately drawn into a world where a struggle was already taking place. Not that that matters much, it’s the start of most stories, but the characters really invite you into their tale. From the beginning you can feel the weariness of King Maebus, a new ruler and his friend, Wizard in command, Kelm. The way you can feel Maebus’s sense of confusion as to what a king should do and his determination of making his plan successful. This is not a setup of happiness to be brutally crushed halfway through the book. Anything idyllic is crushed instantly and I like it the better for that.
The characters of HOL are the real meat and bones of the story. After a few chapters I immediately had the feels for Khroy, a leader in the Realmsic Army (who I imagine to be the hottest one of the hot ones. That name alone conjures lean, mean muscle to my mind) and the complicated and delightful characters kept coming and coming. Jawn, a Realmsic council member (go medieval democracy!) is an irritating character who you actually champion to get punched in the face one day. Another standout character is Seku who, for spoiler reasons I won’t get into here, shines as a more conscientious villain than I would think upon first meeting him. That’s one of the things about HOL, there is no gritty black and white to the characters. They are all gray and you feel as if they could make any number of choices, whether they be the supposed “good” or “bad” guy. The lines of good and evil are dust on wood in this book. I like it.
The world building is slow but steady and you get enough world backstory to understand the central point of the story. I feel like quite a bit was left out on purpose to continue in other books, but it doesn’t detract from understanding this current volume. I did wonder a third of the way through if there would be a sort of prequel coming later as that seems popular with authors now.
There are a few pieces of the story that accidentally break the fourth wall for me which is just a personal pet peeve. And, as much as I love books that are series I don’t understand why I can’t have them all out at once (Looking at you all the books on my most read shelf) as I think that when an author plans a series they deliberately hold information back versus an author whose characters just wanted to keep living so several books were written.
All that to say, this book is pretty damn great and worth a total read.
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