Reviews :: Book Genre :: Heroic Fantasy

This archive contains links to all of the Heroic Fantasy Book Reviews we've written over the years. "I need a hero! I'm holding out for a hero 'til the end of the ni-ight! Yeah he's gotta be--" Ahem. Pardon me. If you've come here looking for something in that realm, you're in luck! We just happen to have more than a few suggestions lying around the place waiting for your perusal.

If you're looking for something else, say a book in another genre or maybe just any book that we happened to think was awesome-sauce, browse around the site for a bit and check out our reviews.

Just don't forget to let us know what you thought of a book you've read or if there's a suggestion you have for something we'd like to read! We're always looking for the next story of heroism and bravery.

Review

Legend

Posted: September 13, 2019 by Writer Dan in Elitist Classics Meta: David Gemmell, Fantasy, Heroic Fantasy
Legend

After publishing our first “Best of Genre” page, one of our readers suggested that we pick up something by David Gemmell. Gemmell is an author that I’ve been meaning to read for like… mmm, forever. Back in the day, I got started on Dragonlance though, and after my first taste of that series, I really didn’t wander into other books all that much. Still, there’s a freaking award named after this guy (one that I hope never gets renamed) and that has to mean something of significance, right? Luckily, I found a slightly used copy of Legend at a local used book store for like four bucks (total steal for me!) and dove into it.
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Review

Children of Blood and Bone

Posted: August 20, 2019 by Writer Dan in Books that are Mediocre Meta: Tomi Adeyemi, Fantasy, Heroic Fantasy
Children of Blood and Bone

I think there are a lot of readers these days that are “coming to an awareness” of the fact that there are considerably more books written by people that belong to neither the male half nor the white portion of the world’s population. Whether they’ve come to that realization by dint of the more vocal portion of the reader/authorship populace, or just because of their own level of self-awareness, I think that it’s by-and-large a good thing. At least, if they decide to do anything about it. I’ve always been one to share my opinion that I’m a staunch supporter of this widening of our story-source base. At the same time, however, I do my best to never pull any punches expressly because of who the author of a book is or what they’ve decided to write about. If a story is good, I’ll crow about it. If I feel like it let me down, I’m going to say so. And why. I am trying to review these things, after all, right?

This book is the first of my concerted efforts to make sure that the books I choose to read are “diverse” enough. Prior to this point, I just plainly never paid attention. I read what I was given. Granted, there were definitely times when I steered away from cliched-sounding YA or those that looked like they were going to be primarily romantic in nature, but that was about the extent of my filtering. The decision to diversify my reading choices will by no means keep me from passing by a book that just doesn’t sound interesting, regardless of who wrote the thing. It will, however, encourage me to make sure that I’m looking for options that will widen my view of what is currently being written in today’s publication sphere. I know there are going to be some of our readers that will groan at this, and some that crow. I hope to be able to both disappoint and please all of you in turns and become better overall as a result. Wish me luck.
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Review

Starless

Starless

About halfway through STARLESS (Amazon), Jacqueline Carey’s latest novel, the narrative takes a distinct turn towards myth and fable. The move from specific to generic forfeits much of what was interesting in the first half of the book in favor of an almost childlike story of wonder and adventure, leaving the reader holding a novel that feels less than satisfying despite many interesting elements.

STARLESS takes place, perhaps not surprisingly, in a world where all of the stars have fallen to earth. Each of these fallen ‘children of heaven’ now rule as a god or goddess in the realm where they fell. Born at the exact moment of an eclipse, Khai is chosen by the Brotherhood of Parkhun to be raised as the ‘shadow’ to Princess Zariya, who was also born under this same celestial event. Zariya is part of the House of the Ageless, the royal family who partake each year of a special seed that prevents aging, keeping them alive for hundreds of years.
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Review

The Thorn of Dentonhill

The Thorn of Dentonhill

I was in the mood for a straightforward, uncomplicated fantasy story and voila! There on my to-read shelf was THE THORN OF DENTONHILL. I was prepared for tropes and predictability and was even determined to be O.K. with magic system/plot inconsistencies because, really, I rarely notice those details if the characters are engaging and the pacing and story is good… but there is simply no margin for error when the writing is poor. Too bad, because this was potentially as good as early Harry Potter and might have satisfied Rowlings fans in search of something similar and good. Except it’s not.
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Review

The Hero and the Crown

The Hero and the Crown

With all the popular YA novels out there sporting wishy-washy teenage ‘heroines’, it’s time to introduce you to a classic that does it right. For the kids of my generation there was Robin McKinley’s THE HERO AND THE CROWN (Amazon), the winner of the 1985 Newbery Medal Award.

Aerin is the only child of the king. The problem? She’s a girl. Since her deceased mother was a foreigner (and it’s whispered she was a witch), and Aerin has inherited her pale skin and red hair, she’s snubbed and ignored. She discovers a book about the dragons that used to threaten Damar, and on her own learns how to make kenet, an ointment that protects the wearer from the effects of fire, and trains herself to fight dragons. When word comes that a local village is being terrorized by a small dragon, Aerin with the kenet and her father’s old war horse, goes to fight it. Unfortunately, it’s not only the smaller dragons who begin to return.
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Review

Nightborn

Posted: August 28, 2015 by Vanessa in Books We Like Meta: Lou Anders, Heroic Fantasy, Middle Grade
Nightborn

Karn is a gamer; his favorite game is Thrones and Bones (after which the series is named). When his best friend Thianna–half giant, half human–is kidnapped, he’s tasked by the dragon Orm to find her. Easier said than done, for he must travel far from his rural home to the city of Castlebriar, deal with duplicitous elves, and solve riddles. Thianna was on a quest to find a horn, much like the one they discovered in book one, FROSTBORN (Amazon)–these horns make it so the user can speak with and coerce magical beasts. And Orm isn’t the only one who wants to find the second horn.

Desstra is a dark elf, training to be a member of the Underhanded, a group of elite fighters. When an important test goes awry, she’s sent on a mission to prove she’s worthy. Part of that mission involves tricking Karn into thinking she’s something she isn’t. Because if she can’t get the horn before Karn does, then she will be outcast from the only home she’s ever known–even if she does think dark elves aren’t very nice.
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Review

Hush

Posted: June 8, 2012 by Nickolas in Books We Like Meta: James Maxey, Heroic Fantasy
Hush

Being a book critic is sort of like getting to experience Christmas at least once a week. Getting books from your favorite authors months before release is the gift that keeps on giving. Earlier this year I read GREATSHADOW by James Maxey (EBR Review), and despite my cynical reservations it blew me away. Now we have HUSH (Amazon), the much anticipated sequel that I had to wait excruciating months for. Months! With great excitement I started reading about the most original and colorful fantasy world I have encountered in recent memory.

HUSH picks up almost immediately after the events of GREATSHADOW. If you haven’t read GREATSHADOW please stop with this review and go buy it. Otherwise you may encounter some spoilers, though I will try to keep those to a minimum.
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Review

Greatshadow

Posted: March 13, 2012 by Nickolas in Books We Love Meta: James Maxey, Heroic Fantasy
Greatshadow

Reviewing books has its ups and downs. On one hand you are given free books to read and asked to give your opinion of them. Reading and stating my opinion are serious hobbies of mine. On the other hand, sometimes you are asked to read books about dragons. Dragons. I do not like dragons. I have not enjoyed reading about dragons for a long, long time. You’ll imagine my surprise then, when I completely fell in love with James Maxey‘s GREATSHADOW (Amazon).
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Review

Demonstorm

Posted: May 23, 2011 by Steven in Books We Love Meta: James Barclay, Heroic Fantasy
Demonstorm

How do you end a series? We’re sure this is a question every author asks at some point during a career. We’ve read quite a few series from start to finish, and have decided that writing that satisfying ending and conclusion must be the hardest thing to do. Why? We chalk it up to expectations. This can be crippling to the final book in a series, especially when the series has been SO good.
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Review

Hawkmoon: The Runestaff

Posted: April 25, 2011 by Writer Dan in Books We Like Meta: Michael Moorcock, Heroic Fantasy
Hawkmoon: The Runestaff

And alas, we come to the end of the tale. We’ve run the gamut, the bell has tolled, and the last of Hawkmoon’s adventures have passed by our eyes. The pages have flown so fast.

HAWKMOON: THE RUNESTAFF (Amazon) is the fourth and final book of the Hawkmoon series by Michael Moorcock that Tor has been giving an upgrade and reprint to over the last year or so. These books hearken us back to the old days of classic fantasy fiction when the heroes were gallant gentlemen and their foes nefarious men of wickedness. Honor and virtue always triumphed over evil, and it was seeing how it would all play out this time around that always drew the readers in droves.
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