Sunday, September 23, 2012

No Hero

No HeroNo Hero by Jonathan Wood
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Homicide cop Arthur Wallace gets recruited by British intelligence agency MI37 and plunged into a secret war against alien horrors called the Progeny. But one member of his team is a mole and is actually working to bring the unspeakable cosmic horror known as the Feeders into our reality...

This book was almost good. Let's examine the good points first before I tear it a new orifice.
- The core concept was well thought out. I love the idea of neighboring realities and horrible maggot like things that live inside people's heads working to bring Cthulhu-like monsters into our reality.
- The electricity-based magic system was great. The phrase "Electricity is the universal lubricant" will stick with me for quite a while.
- The characters Clyde, Tabitha, and Kayla were quite memorable. You've got the nerdlinger wizard, the angry goth researcher, and the killing machine, all with quirks that make them more than stereotypes.
- Copious Kurt Russel references. Come on, the man played Snake Plissken AND Jack Burton!
- British humor. No explanation needed.

And here comes the rant:
Arthur is a veteran homicide cop but acts more like an insurance agent for most of the book. One of the supporting characters tells him to grow a pair at one point. Arthur apparently needed to grow an entire squadron. He spends most of the book bemoaning that he's not a hero. Like most urban fantasy heroes, he spends most of the book out of his depth and takes a tremendous shit-kicking.

Basically, if No Hero had a lead who wasn't so passive, it probably would have been a four star book. All the winning ingredients are there. It's magic system is very original and I love lot of the cast. It's not a bad book but the fact that it took me three attempts to get all the way through it should be an indicator of how many problems I had with it. I enjoyed the hell out of a few parts of it but not enough to read the next book in the series.

A phrase that is repeated quite a few times in the book is "What would Kurt Russell do?" Well, he probably would have quit reading this book after fifty pages.

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