The Heroes

The HeroesThey Say Black Dow S Killed Men Than Winter, And Clawed His Way To The Throne Of The North Up A Hill Of Skulls The King Of The Union, Ever A Jealous Neighbour, Is Not About To Stand Smiling By While He Claws His Way Any Higher The Orders Have Been Given And The Armies Are Toiling Through The Northern MudThousands Of Men Are Converging On A Forgotten Ring Of Stones, On A Worthless Hill, In An Unimportant Valley, And They Ve Brought A Lot Of Sharpened Metal With ThemBremer Dan Gorst, Disgraced Master Swordsman, Has Sworn To Reclaim His Stolen Honour On The Battlefield Obsessed With Redemption And Addicted To Violence, He S Far Past Caring How Much Blood Gets Spilled In The Attempt Even If It S His OwnPrince Calder Isn T Interested In Honour, And Still Less In Getting Himself Killed All He Wants Is Power, And He Ll Tell Any Lie, Use Any Trick, And Betray Any Friend To Get It Just As Long As He Doesn T Have To Fight For It HimselfCurnden Craw, The Last Honest Man In The North, Has Gained Nothing From A Life Of Warfare But Swollen Knees And Frayed Nerves He Hardly Even Cares Who Wins Any , He Just Wants To Do The Right Thing But Can He Even Tell What That Is With The World Burning Down Around Him Over Three Bloody Days Of Battle, The Fate Of The North Will Be Decided But With Both Sides Riddled By Intrigues, Follies, Feuds And Petty Jealousies, It Is Unlikely To Be The Noblest Hearts, Or Even The Strongest Arms That PrevailThree Men One Battle No Heroes 4.5 5 StarsI won t forget the three days I spent reading the intricate three days of battle in this book Joe Abercrombie has proved himself once again to be my shining star in Grimdark fantasy For me, there s simply no one that can write Grimdark fantasy like him The Heroes has been claimed by a lot of Abercrombie s fans to be his best works, although I disagree because imo that crown still belongs to Last Argument of Kings , I do however think The Heroes as his third best work, almost a 4.5 5 StarsI won t forget the three days I spent reading the intricate three days of battle in this book Joe Abercrombie has proved himself once again to be my shining star in Grimdark fantasy For me, there s simply no one that can write Grimdark fantasy like him The Heroes has been claimed by a lot of Abercrombie s fans to be his best works, although I disagree because imo that crown still belongs to Last Argument of Kings , I do however think The Heroes as his third best work, almost as much as I loved Before They Are Hanged , which is a LOT.Picture The HeroesSubterranean Press edition cover The year is now 584 AU, four years after the events in Best Served Cold The entire setting of the book took place in The Valley of Osrung in the North, located between Uffrith and Carleon The plot of the book revolved around the three bloody days of climactic battle between the Union and the North That s it, this is seriously the main plot of the book The Heroes is thoroughly a Military grimdark fantasy, it captured the horror of war perfectly, showing the preparation, the wars, and the aftermath of each battle in details from both sides The pacing of the book is well paced, it started really slow in order to give first impressions and personalities to the huge cast of new characters, once that s done, it became so addictive to read It s just impressive how gradual and natural the flow of the book felt, with increasing tension in the story with each passing dayAll you can do is take each day as it comes Try and do the best you can with what you re given You won t always do the right thing, but you can try And you can try to do the right thing next time That, and stay aliveThere are no heroes in this book each protagonist is a villain from the opponent s point of view and vice versa Although it can be read as a standalone, I strongly suggest you read The First Law trilogy and Best Served Cold first due to the reason that some side characters from the previous books played a bigger role this time, Bremer dan Gorst, for example, has become one of the main POV characters in this book As usual, Abercrombie s characterizations towards his variety of characters, old and new, are incredible The six main POV s characters have amazing development throughout the book, almost everyone ended up different mentally from they were in the beginning of the book, it felt like Abercrombie s message to the readers of this book is that it doesn t matter what kind of a person you are, war will change you eventually, for better or worseIt is easy to forget how much you have, when your eyes are always fixed on what you have notThe best strength of the book definitely lies within its battle scenes, which were done in stupendous quality, especially in its masterful use of consecutive shifting POV s to show the relentless coup de grace dealt from both side of the armies factions This is also the first time I read a novel which utilized the view of war from the eyes of common soldiers and they re terrifying as hell Superlative cinematic action packed with heart book, it s brutal, visceral and bloody thrilling, I ve read plenty of epic dark fantasy and other than John Gwynne or Bernard Cornwell, no one else can write realistic and explosive battle scenes imbued with raw emotions as good as Abercrombie, no one Every action scenes here is truly breathtaking, thrilling and gripping, usually we have only one climax sequences in the books we read, in here we have five, the book consists of five parts and each part have a breathtaking and compelling vivid war or duel scenes, combined with Abercrombie s meticulous and impeccable prose, the book provides a truly one of a kind satisfying combat experience.Picture Interior Art from The Heroes Subterranean Press editionThe first time I fell in love with Grimdark fantasy novels was after reading The First Law trilogy, The Heroes will be the third book by Abercrombie to go into my favorites of all time shelves Thank you for reminding me once again why I love Grimdark fantasy in the first place All hail Joe Abercrombie, the Lord of Grimdark Absolutely recommended for fans of grimdark or military fantasy I m closing this review with this little beautiful quote or advice from the book that I think every one of us should always try to rememberSavor the little moments, son, that s my advice They re what life is All the little things that happen while you re waiting for something elseBonus Picture My gorgeous UK paperback edition of The Heroes You can find this and the rest of my Adult Epic High Fantasy Sci Fi reviews at BookNest HE WAS AS UGLY AS INCEST now that is funny Okay, so do notDO NOT listen to those who call this a less than a stellar performance by the god king of grit, Joe Abercrombie This is not only a 541 page manual on the art of breezy, muck dripping proseology, but it also sports an intricately layered and well designed plot, three dimensional characters that are just saturated with nuance and some powerful evocative statements on the underpants loading horror of war and the pain burden b HE WAS AS UGLY AS INCEST now that is funny Okay, so do notDO NOT listen to those who call this a less than a stellar performance by the god king of grit, Joe Abercrombie This is not only a 541 page manual on the art of breezy, muck dripping proseology, but it also sports an intricately layered and well designed plot, three dimensional characters that are just saturated with nuance and some powerful evocative statements on the underpants loading horror of war and the pain burden born by those who must fight it Despite the war is pretty shitty business sentiment expressed throughout the book, the common soldier and those doing the actual fighting are shown, for the most part, to be men of quiet bravery and just trying to do their best and get through in one piece Of course, there are certainly a lot of venom filled cannon shots fired across the bow of the leaders and instigators of the conflict and some fun poked at the conventions of war, but I found that Abercrombie was generally respectful of the fighting soldiers and didn t portray them as murderous meatheads out to rape and pillage.The majority of the story takes place over three days with the Union Army and the Northmen fighting for control over a strategically located hill called The Heroes That is the story s cover, but underneath it is so much bigger and so much bolder.OH, OH, OH, and lest I forget, this book also includes a whole bounty of Abercrombie s always amazing and often amoral Ass kickers, Ass kissers and Ass holes, including BAYAZ The First of the Magi The most amazingly complex and compelling wielder of magic that has ever been inked on paper While the Bloody Nine is an awesome character, it is Bayaz that has all TEN fingers on the strings of the world HARDBREAD A named man and the early proof that Abercrombie has new memorable characters growing in his brain like a fungus A terrific character developed fully in the space of a handful of pages CAUL SHIVERS Supporting star of Best Served Coldand early proof that Abercrombie can take a character we have seen a lot of and shine a brand new light on him that feels as natural as life Shivers is a new favorite character of mine WHIRRUN OF BLIGH aka CRACKNUT Wielder of the Father of Swords and yet another in a seemingly endless supply of fresh, original and epic kickers of that we call ass PRINCE CALDER Another great character and without giving away spoilers, I think the character arc that Abercrombie gives Calder is the best in the book I loved the nuanced complexity of his final decisions because I was completely not expecting them I also think that his character arc shines a massive OMG spotlight on how deliciously complex BAYAZ plans are.SEFF Yes, I would have been happier had there beenfemale characters, but this is the story of a three day battle out on the front lines so I guess it is forgivable That said, Seff is an amazingly well realized female character and I thought she was terrific STRANGER COME KNOCKING My favorite new character and a top 10 favorite character of all of the Abercrombie stories the Giant who would be a Gentleman.Stranger Come Knocking I sense BIG things coming from him down the road I see the complete gush I have left all over this review so I will try and rein it in and wrap it up In summary, I loved the book from the opening pages to the unbelievable ending and at all blood, gore and humor in between.I will leave you with a quote that is pretty close to the exact opposite of what Abercrombie s central war sucks message is, but I really liked it so I thought I would share Whirrun of Bligh aka Cracknut in describing his affection for war saysThe smell of it The feel of it He rubbed one hand up and down the stained sheath of his sword, making a faint swishing sound War is honest There s no lying to it You don t have to say sorry here Don t have to hide You cannot If you die So what You die among friends Among worthy foes You die looking the Great Leveller in the eye If you live Well, lad that s living, isn t it A man isn t truly alive until he s facing death Whirrun stamped his foot into the sod I love warWell he is called Cracknut after all Joe Abercrombie has yet to write anything that I have not loved I can t wait for the next one In the meantime, this is definitely a book that I think could be even better upon a second reading because there is so much going on HIGHEST POSSIBLE RECOMMENDATION The Piles Fuck this shit grumbled Slicker Gutwruck as he wearily limped up the hill, bile tickling his tonsils I couldn t give an arse about war any, he spat How ironic that I m so good at it he mused, as his rag tag squad of soldiers showed off their cool moves on a group of unfortunate peons they got the drop on There was Broody McBrooderson, master of the garotte Slicker s second in command, Little Miss Sunshine, tougher than any man, andthan capable of commanding Serenity, e The Piles Fuck this shit grumbled Slicker Gutwruck as he wearily limped up the hill, bile tickling his tonsils I couldn t give an arse about war any, he spat How ironic that I m so good at it he mused, as his rag tag squad of soldiers showed off their cool moves on a group of unfortunate peons they got the drop on There was Broody McBrooderson, master of the garotte Slicker s second in command, Little Miss Sunshine, tougher than any man, andthan capable of commanding Serenity, er, the squad, on her own wise cracking Esposito from Brooklyn Ole Five Finger Discount the triplets, Gramps, and the rest A hard bunch Sick of fuckin war But fuckin good at it.Back at HQ, the Big Chief grimly sat in conference, looking over the hardest men of the North like a hamster considering pellets of its own shit There was Brandis Bowel burster, clawed face fixed in a rictus of hate, scowling while he stroked his axe made of sharpened pelvic bones Next to him loomed the always dangerous Farnsbury Flopper, commander of the 3rd Signal Corps, as hard as un rinsed oatmeal that has dried on a bowl for two days And eyeing them all cynically from the back of the tent was the Gooch, another complete arsehole.The last to enter the tent was He Who Heaves, green of face and unsteady of gait The other war chiefs inched away warily, vomit frothing in their gullets We have to show the Confederacy who s boss, growled Brandis Those fucking arseholes are too effete and corrupt for my liking And they re a perfect stock antagonist for our hard Northmen trope The Farnsbury Flopper swirled his granite eyeball in a mug of lager and hissed Fucking retard, we don t know where the arseholes are Retard queried the Gooch from the shadows What s with the anachronism This is a gritty fantasy story, playing with the genre conventions by mashing up movie, television, and other source material familiar to its audience, growled Brandis Just enjoy the story, you butthead So there s no internal consistency, even within the conventions of the setting as depicted by the author Nope, sneered the Flopper That shit don t fly with our crew The Big Chief raised his mangled hand menacingly Enough We do know where the Confederate forces are he gloated Slicker Gutwruck s expert scout commando spy hand to hand combat squad has found the whole fucking Confederate army They re south of Toad Hall, split into three divisions, marching in mutually supporting columns, converging on this obscure hill called the Piles The fuck, interjected the Gooch The division was introduced during the Napoleonic era as a military unit containing all the necessary arms infantry, cavalry, artillery to sustain independent combat It was facilitated by the tremendous growth in the size of armies nations could field at the time, owing to improved roads, conscription, the mass production of arms, innovations like canning Shut it shouted the Big Chief He resumed, glowering As I was saying, the first division is commanded by Harold Lacksack The second, by Marshal Fritz Loober and his chief of staff Colonel Quiff Whoa, whoa his chief of staff What kind of staff work is necessary in a pre gunpowder army living off the land, without the logistical network, let alone the command and control capabilities, that would support a system of centralized staff planning Stop thinking and just enjoy the story, you fucking douchebag bellowed the Big Chief He ripped out his own kidneys and waved them in the Gooch s face menacingly Anychirping out of you, mate, and it ll be your kidneys next time The Gooch raised his hands Whatever, he murmured Mellow the fuck out The Big Chief resumed They re supported by two brigades of conscript cavalry The Gooch couldn t help himself Conscript cavalry You mean civilians drafted to fight on hugely expensive animals that take years of training to simply learn how to ride properly, let alone manage in battle There s a reason every fucking cavalryman in the history of warfare was either born to the saddle, or was an aristocrat who had the means and time to raise his own horses and gallivant around on them all day And you re suggesting some out of work bakers assistant will be assigned to the cavalry, like learning to be a mounted soldier is as easy as cleaning latrines Shaking with fury, the Big Chief drew his dread sword Dreadblade, shimmering in the torchlight, and brandished it balefully before the mouthy critic.The Gooch carried on, heedlessly This is supposed to be a gritty military story, about armies and warfare and all that cool shit Shouldn t it have at least the basics right in regards to military structures and tactics I mean, if the author has free license to go completely off the grid about this stuff, why not include jeeps and predator drones That s about as plausible as an ostensibly renaissance era army set up like a The Farsnsbury Flopper whipped out a twinned pair of repeating crossbows and shot several bolts into each of the Gooch s eyes, which burst in sprays of glistening gore The Gooch groaned and sunk to his knees, clawing at his eyes, as puke jabbed his molars The Big Chief stepped forward and grunted in rage as he swung Dreadblade in a murderous arc, cleaving the Gooch in two He shit himself and collapsed on the ground with a deafening crash, lifeblood streaming out of his shit stinking body like the rivers of beer pissed in Northern halls on the eve of hard won victories Fucking troll growled the Big Chief.Slicker Gutwruck, who had a knack for being at the right place at the right time, stepped out of the shadows and spat Waste of a good man A good, hard man The poor bastard didn t know how to suspend his sense of disbelief and overlook lazy cliche and awful prose But those are the times He scowled at the blood oozing body I m sick of genre fiction, he grumbled Sick to my arse of it. I ve got a really great idea for a novel Do you want to hear it Okay, so here goes Well I was thinking I could create a story in which everything relates back to the title That way I could say the title over and over again Wouldn t that be fun I mean I could write about heroes fighting at a place called the Heroes and then they could have a crisis about being heroes whilst worrying who has taken the Heroes and if enemy heroes are going to kill them And then I could say heroes a few times m I ve got a really great idea for a novel Do you want to hear it Okay, so here goes Well I was thinking I could create a story in which everything relates back to the title That way I could say the title over and over again Wouldn t that be fun I mean I could write about heroes fighting at a place called the Heroes and then they could have a crisis about being heroes whilst worrying who has taken the Heroes and if enemy heroes are going to kill them And then I could say heroes a few timesand relate all the events to heroics and consider what makes a hero a hero Doesn t that sound like one big heroic headache See I can do it too Joe Maybe that makes me a hero Damn I m getting good at this That isn t the only reason I hated the novel, but it did piss me off the most Nothing speaks the word redundancythan an overly used metaphor The entire novel also felt restrictive It is essentially one big battle sequence So, its layers of action upon action in the same boring place I hated the end I hated the beginning too And I especially hated the middle This is Joe Abercrombie s worse book Please bear in mind that I m actually a big fan of this author I ve read all of his books, and this is the only one I strongly dislike So, don t hate me I do like Joe Abercrombie, but not this book Joe keeps telling us the same thing throughout The characters keep lamenting or rejoicing the fact that they are not heroes I mean I think we get it After the first few chapters it is clear that these guys aren t nice people That s not a bad thing I like dark characters, but I don t need to be told every chapter what they are SHOW IT TO ME It became incredibly annoying I think I can draw my own opinion I don t need to be told the author s intent So many chapters ended on the reminder it became ridiculous It s a shame really because this novel could have been good I just think it lacked the balance of his usual style Abercrombie can do wonderful things with words Sometimes it s the short sentences, the phrases that hold so mush dramatic effect In this he overused them that they only resonate with one thing WEAKNESS I don t care about any of it The characters that tell the story are just as bad I really think Black Dow should have been the protagonist The cover certainly made it look like it was his tale, but I can t exactly blame the author for a misleading cover That fault resides with the publisher But at least Dow is interesting Instead Abercrombie uses a bunch of weak and flat characters I can t even remember half of their names because they re that unmemorable One of them was a basic warrior, not much else Gorst was an annoying blubbering wretch with some weird inferiority complex that made no sense because he was a huge and attractive brute Calder was okay, but lacked motivation and presence in the story They were a rather meagre bunch to be honest.See I m turning into a critic, though this did have some real problems But I just didn t care if these men lived or died It felt like the author just shoved all the random non essential characters from The First Law series into here and then let them fight it out All it needed was the annoying, and overused, Cosca then it would have been a full house There was no room for character development or investment, only cheap, thoughtless, blood I just hope Abercrombie doesn t write anything else like this in the future because this was nothing short of terrible Forty eight hours So much can happen in such a short span of time in the middle of a war This tale shifts between varying viewpoints, from soldiers to commanders to camp followers There are no good guys and no bad guys The reader will wind up caring about all of them, and knowing that not all of them can win, let alone survive Highly recommended. The plot can be described in a couple of sentences, literally This is about a 3 day battle between the Union forces civilized bureaucratic society and Northern people barbarians , and also about the events right before it and its aftermath This is probably the most spoiler free plot description I ever wrote, by the way Joe Abercombie is the undisputed king when it comes to modern grimdark fantasy Yes, I have read Malazan epic Yes, I still stand by what I said in the beginning of the para The plot can be described in a couple of sentences, literally This is about a 3 day battle between the Union forces civilized bureaucratic society and Northern people barbarians , and also about the events right before it and its aftermath This is probably the most spoiler free plot description I ever wrote, by the way Joe Abercombie is the undisputed king when it comes to modern grimdark fantasy Yes, I have read Malazan epic Yes, I still stand by what I said in the beginning of the paragraph I even admit that I do not like his first standalone in The First Law universe Best Served Cold that much My opinion on him is still the same Ask any Abercrombie s fan about his main strength and the first answer you get from anybody would be characters I was fairly skeptical about these when I started to read as in the first trilogy he had three books to develop them while here he had to do it in just a third of space My fears were somewhat justifies as there are some two dimensional people which is unavoidable given their number and relatively for a fantasy book small page count, but there are some really great people is here My personal favorite is Craw followed closely by Calder These are just two of quite a few others This is the first time I fully realized that Bayaz is view spoiler really truly scary hide spoiler On the negative side, Black Dow is a pale shadow of himself in the first trilogy I would also like to point out this is probably the first time somebody perfectly conveyed the mood of simple soldiers right before the battle I found myself vividly imagining staying in the line of soldiers waiting for the attack to come several times I do not mean the glorious part I mean gritty brutal all out attack The final rating is 4.5 stars with half of a star lost due to some minor annoyances I already mentioned one of them some of the returning characters do not feel like themselves For anybody unfamiliar with the series and curious about it, read it in publication order or you will get spoilers and will be confused This review is a copy paste of my LeafMarks one Wow.This one has been on my To Be Read pile for a long time In an effort to clean out some of my older books I finally got around to reading it.And now I m not sure what took me so long Heroes is a gritty book about a war between the Northmen and the Union, which takes place around a hill called the Heroes.It s a dark book, with rough characters and some pretty gorey deaths Ambercrombie does a great job with his battle scenes, showing the confusion of war and the costs of being a hero.But wit Wow.This one has been on my To Be Read pile for a long time In an effort to clean out some of my older books I finally got around to reading it.And now I m not sure what took me so long Heroes is a gritty book about a war between the Northmen and the Union, which takes place around a hill called the Heroes.It s a dark book, with rough characters and some pretty gorey deaths Ambercrombie does a great job with his battle scenes, showing the confusion of war and the costs of being a hero.But with a war comes a lot of downtime But scenes without fighting are boring right Wrong Some of the best quotes came out of the downtime, and many times I found myself laughing out loud The fool s tasks lined up in crushingly tedious procession Run Practice Shit a turd Write a letter Eat Watch Write a turd Shit a letter Eat Bed.Or nodding in agreement to some sound advice An unarmed man is like an unroofed house They ll both end up leaking.Through this great story however I found a deeper meaning The book is divided into 5 parts 1 Before the War2 Day One3 Day Two4 Day Three5 After The WarOn coming to after the war I found myself stumbling on lines I had already read in before the war Was this laziness on the authors part Or was he saying this is just an endless cycle Is before and after the war the same thing as after one war at some point becomes before another war And its books where I continue to think on them after I ve put them down that show a talented writer Mr Abercrombie you have a new fan.Everyone needs to read this book War, War never changes The Heroes unflinchingly chronicles a 3 day battle between two warring nations It s a story filled with visceral fighting, complex characters and constant danger and suspense For me this is the best of Abercrombie s standalone novels and is on a par with his First Law trilogy Being a massive Abercrombie fan as I am the fact that this is my favourite of his works says a lot The Heroes combines Abercrombie s dark fantasy with a war story and while the entire novel rev War, War never changes The Heroes unflinchingly chronicles a 3 day battle between two warring nations It s a story filled with visceral fighting, complex characters and constant danger and suspense For me this is the best of Abercrombie s standalone novels and is on a par with his First Law trilogy Being a massive Abercrombie fan as I am the fact that this is my favourite of his works says a lot The Heroes combines Abercrombie s dark fantasy with a war story and while the entire novel revolving around a single battle limits the plot in some ways it still manages to be inventive and gripping.A brutal land war serves as a brilliant backdrop to Abercrombie s typical cynicism and exploration of human flaws The shit rolls downhill philosophy espoused throughout is reminiscent of the Wire and one of my all time favourite war stories and TV shows Generation Kill In perhaps Abercrombie s biggest subversion of classic fantasy to date he mercilessly describes the pointlessness and brutality of a Medieval land war There s not a force of pure evil bent on world domination nor a prophesised hero to be found Instead we see scheming politicians, bloodthirsty warriors and grunts just trying to survive.The character I most wanted to read about in this book was Bremer Dan Gorst He was one of my favourite minor characters in the first and third especially the first books and I was excited to get inside his head Ultimately this was probably my biggest disappointment in the book Gorst is shown to be a typical Abercrombie protagonist selfish, neurotic and flawed While I normally like this in Abercrombie s work and feel it makes his charactersrealistic I felt that Gorst was completely different from the character I liked so much in earlier books In the first book especially Gorst seemed the epitome of Logen s seem less than you are philosophy Gorst gave the impression of a stupid brute but was in fact a brilliant swordsman and was implied to be incredibly intelligent. I admired his complete disinterest in what people thought of him and seeming scorn for attempts to be liked In the first book everyone at the Contest hated him and yet he cooly demolished all the snotty fan favourites In The Heroes he completely abandons his plan to kill an arrogant noble who beat one of his friends because they complimented him His constant, annoying desire to be liked seemed completely at odds with his personality in the trilogy Also in the first book when he lost the contest because Bayaz completely stole his rightful win, his first dick move in the series but not his last he was the bigger man and immediately congratulated Jezal for his undeserving win In The Heroes he is a whining man child constantly trying to blame others for his failures Based solely on this book Gorst is an interesting, complex character in his own right however I was still disappointed with how his previously awesome character seemed completely changed from the previous trilogy to suit the needs of this book I also noticed these dramatic changes in character s personalities to suit the plot occurred with other characters as well Black Dow, general Kroy While it makes sense that people would change over the 10 years or so since they last appered in the series it was still jarring I understand Abercrombie s desire to make Gorst less perfect in the typical mould of his protagonists but WTF Abercrombie Did you have to destroy one of your coolest minor characters WTF Probably my favourite POV character in this book was Finree, who s become my favourite Abercrombie POV female character to date She s even surpassed Carlot Dan Eider as my favourite Abercrombie female character and is now among my favourite POV characters full stop Unlike Abercrombie s other female POV s she isn t a scarred, impossible deadly warrior woman Finree s skills are politics and intrigue I ve never liked warrior women in fantasy especially when they re used as excessively as with Abercrombie I ve always found them both improbable there were ALOT of barriers to a woman fighting in most societies throughout history, that most male authors tend to ignore and unfair in how they imply that the majority of women who aren t warriors are inherently weak and worthless Despite her flaws I found Finree a really likeable and admirable character My other favourite character was Curnden Craw Craw was a really atypical Abercrombie protagonist an honourable man in a world without honour His interactions with his dozen were a really cool study in the camaraderie and trust that develops between soldiers in war and was one of my favourite parts of the book It also reminded me of the Northman crew in the original trilogy I loved those guys and was super bummed about how the trilogy ended for them Red Bek provided interesting parallels to the typical Abercrombie characters with bloody pasts His desire to be a warrior followed by his experiences of the horrors of war provided a nice contrast to the cynicism and experience of the hardened warriors who comprise the main cast As a sidenote I didn t understand the point of Corporal Tunny He didn t interact with any of the other main characters and didn t have any real effect on the battle Other than the main POV characters we get some brief POV s from other characters 2 of these were really interesting as in the first the POV character is killed and the narration passes to his killer who is killed in turn and so on This was really well written and creates a mounting sense of genuine danger to the characters especially when a major POV character takes over In another chapter we follow a command as it is passed, along with the narration, down the line from the general This scene shows us the arguments that can exist even among the same side in a war While the third chapter like this, which this time just jumped around randomly, was disappointing this was still a cool feature that broadened the perspective on the battle Highlights included a good soldier reflecting on his girl at home as he dies she ll probably marry her cousin, terrible business that , two officers validly criticising each other in consecutive POV s and a mortally injured cavalryman leading a doomed charge I also enoyed how Heroes presented war as a hypocritical, horrific endeavour without ever becoming preachy or self righteous In conclusion this is a great entry into the world of one of the best fantasy authors around as well as a great war story Not for the faint hearted but definitely worth reading I was eager to put my eyes on The Heroes , because I was still high from Best Served Cold and I didn t read Mr Abercrombie s book for some time The fact is that The Heroes decreased my fangirlism a little bit But let s start from the tasty bits Joe Abercrombie always has smth tasty in his books The Heroes is a military fantasy novel, which offered me a rather unique and interesting glimpse into war and warriors who are annoyed with fighting a war.I always love to find the so called Abe I was eager to put my eyes on The Heroes , because I was still high from Best Served Cold and I didn t read Mr Abercrombie s book for some time The fact is that The Heroes decreased my fangirlism a little bit But let s start from the tasty bits Joe Abercrombie always has smth tasty in his books The Heroes is a military fantasy novel, which offered me a rather unique and interesting glimpse into war and warriors who are annoyed with fighting a war.I always love to find the so called Abercrombie s realism in his characters, action and the gritty fight The characters feel real They aren t perfect in a good way and they have emotions Their manners, speech and thoughts allowed me to imagine them better I could live and feel their life in my thoughts The battle episodes were like a good, disgusting, bloody and gritty movie Quite a lovely stuff DMoreover, with the rivers of blood, loads of deaths, toils of political intrigues and grim, dark humor there is a story here that is very real and in places even touching The story is told from different points of view the sly cowards, the courageous honorable heroes, the greedy mercenaries or the ones who were forced to fight I liked how Mr Abercrombie blended fantasy and military in the story It was interesting and new to me because I love fantasy and I avoid military books Some things weren t tasty for me and as I mentioned before decreased my fangirlism At first I was put off by a slow start and the Gorst s attempts not quite successful to match Glokta 3 with his inner dialogues Also I found quite a bunch of characters, so I had to stop sometimes to go back to clarify who s who But as usual these things make an individual story and I ended up quite enjoying it As a matter of fact it took me about 100 pages to put all dots on i who was who, where they were going, who and why they were fighting for and etc Once it was settled I felt myself thrown into a dark, gritty world with sharp fighting scenes and realistic characters 600 pages for only 3 days of battle andgrittiness, dark humor, blood and guts than in any other First law book and that is saying something.There isn t much else to say just Abercrombie at his best.