Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Review::The Lost Hero (Book One of the Heaven Saga) By Marcus Johnson

The Lost Hero (The Heaven Saga, #1)The Lost Hero by Marcus Johnson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Lost Hero (Book One of the Heaven Saga) By Marcus Johnson

I loved this story and I loved the character of Brian Peterson and despite some of the major road bumps I gave the whole work five stars because I felt that overall the author did well enough toward entertaining me and the final portion of the book was a means of acquitting his transgressions.

That much said not everyone will love this story there are a number of reasons the least of which might be the Heaven Saga part. It's almost misleading in away, yet not at all if one were to accept any notion of Heaven as being mythological. This seem to be written largely from the point of view of someone who is an atheist. This means that all religion though treated as interesting is also dismissed as mythological.

Another interesting aspect of the myth of beliefs is the misguided notion that a democracy by way of the US of A is the only way for people to obtain true freedom, not to mention trying to reverse engineer it through having someone unfamiliar with the concept trying to make sense of the declaration of independence in relationship to deconstructing a monarch. I would at the very least want in future episodes to see how poorly this works and perhaps a stand down and at the very least a healthy look at using the British model for people who are familiar with a monarchies. (I'll grant that the notion is going from a fascist like society to anything with more freedom, but in this case these people obviously have a Queen. I'll give the author benefit in that he's proposing the change over time.)

The next thing might be the cultural backstep. By that I mean that this reads more like a rework of the old ideas seen in such greats of Sci-Fi as Flash Gordon. Male hero swept from Earth into incredible worlds with Bird men no less and with some that are like lion men or cat men. And of course the requisite world of all women. I just recently finish a story where the meter moved the other way with a female protagonist who seemed like a female Lothario. Now I see the wide swing back into the male Lothario in his dream world.

I'm not sure which way I would have preferred to see things. Perhaps I should be happy the author didn't try to make too much of the old trope of all female society with major infighting for possession of the one male. On the other hand it sort of dilutes a whole potential area of conflict to have it look like everyone will be mostly okay with him hopping from bed to bed. Instead we get this kind of hot and cold running theme that almost reaches the edge of the bubble and then backs off. A sort of delicate dance.

The story starts out with the alien Greys and alien abduction from Earth which some people might be getting tired of. What is interesting in this story is the back-story to those aliens. There being a number of higher races that first enter space and create a Confederation of world for those who obtain interstellar flight which all sounds familiar. But since the Greys are one of the advance races in this space race they have opted out of the Confederation. (They in fact have some sinister objective and they seem to be the only ones violating the rule to keep Earth isolated.) Apparently Earth is too violent for these people and has been isolated. No one should be approaching Earth to view or research them. This seems to be a convenient plot point for the Greys who don't feel they have to abide by those rules. Brian the abductee is saved by the Kalaidian's and later he saves a few of them to sort of balance out the scales.

It quickly moves on to more of a Buck Rogers or Flash Gordon type story. Brian can't be returned home and as it turns out he looks almost to fulfill some prophecies of their myths. Brian is a good looking and likeable guy stuck on a ship of all females because for some reason the males of the Kalaidian's have all died off. This begins a portion that might put some people off because it just looks like a stack of one trope after another. It's not until later where these things are all sorted out and better explained that things begin to make sense and really get interesting.

Brian has access to a strange phenomenon that is referred to as Berserker. Brian kind-of loses it while in battle and kills everything nearby. There is something that happens with the eyes and by the description its something that happens because of Nanos that have been injected into him by the Kalaidians for both health and strength and the ability to understand languages. The problem with this is that, before the injection, while aboard the Grey ship Brian does something similar that results in his killing all the Greys aboard the ship. This could almost look like a plot hole and maybe gets explained in future episodes.

A big caveat in this book is the Grammar spelling punctuation thing. I was less annoyed than some people by the missing words and sometimes extra words and missing parts of words that cause the sentences to be difficult to read. It definitely looks like this book could use more editing. Most annoying to me was the use of lied for lay there are seven instances that it should have been lay and it would be less annoying if there were not the three instances where lay was properly used at the beginning. It's almost as though the first few chapter received some editing that the remainder didn't get.

Now to get back to what I liked. In the back part of the book as the author hits the action packed climatic scenes he does a tremendous job of drawing the reader into the story and for me that made most of the above become excusable. But that's for me and other readers will have to read this novel themselves to decide what they think.

As for the length of the story; it is definitely novel size and one thing that would be more helpful than the page count would be an approximate word count. Page counts and even location numbers within the kindle tend to be deceiving sometimes. I'm certainly happy it wasn't longer because there is a bit of exposition at the end that reveals the political and religious elements quite strongly that I'm grateful didn't get carried too far. So this is a novel that is probably just at the edge of the best size for this type of novel.

This is a good story for fans of SFF with the emphasis on Fantasy and a leniency toward editing problems.

J.L. Dobias

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