“Español (Spanish) – Los Héroes
(5) CINCO ESTRELLAS // EC17+
(Dale una mirada a mi blog si quieres más detalles acerca de mi criterio de ranking
Un trabajo de fantasía anclado en lo que bien podría ser la experiencia real de guerreros medievales jugándose la vida al filo del acero. Original en muchos aspectos, poderosamente descriptivo en sus escenas de batalla. Violento, lleno de acción y con una buena dosis de sorpresivas vueltas pero no por eso menos reflexivo y filosófico acerca de la naturaleza humana en la brutal experiencia de una batalla y en la difícil vida de un guerrero.
Lo primero que un lector debe saber acerca de esta obra, es que la misma gira en torno a una batalla y a quienes luchan en ella (no hay historias románticas ni nada que se parezca, tampoco es la intención del autor). Lo siguiente a tener presente, y a modo de advertencia, es que los primeros capítulos no reflejan la calidad de la obra y son, quizás, el único punto criticable ya que están demasiado cargados de presentaciones de personajes. Además del hecho de que, en la versión que me tocó leer, se hace introducción de los personajes al mejor estilo de Shakespeare (como si el libro fuera el guión de una obra de teatro) y eso puede resultar un tanto desconcertante para los que no conocen la tendencia del autor a dotar a sus obras de “toques” como esos.
Entonces, pasando los primeros capítulos, nos encontramos con un buen trabajo desde el punto de vista de la narración, con una trama bien definida y personajes sólidos que muestran diversas facetas del lado humano. El PoV es tercera persona cercana. El Ambiente y Aspectos Culturales no han sido desarrollados más allá de lo necesario para soportar la historia y pueden, fácilmente, haber sido tomados del mundo real (Stonehenge). Me gusta Abercrombie pero no es un autor para todo el mundo.
Finalmente, va la misma advertencia con respecto a la clasificación EC17+ que en los libros anteriores. Hay muchas escenas cargadas de violencia que pueden no ser adecuadas para lectores jóvenes y también el autor hace uso extensivo de palabras “fuertes” como elemento de caracterización de algunos personajes.
Nota: No puedo opinar acerca de la calidad de la traducción al español púes he leído la versión en inglés original.
English (Inglés) – The Heroes
(5) FIVE STARS // EC17+
(Take a look at my blog to find out my ranking criteria and method
A fantasy work anchored on what could easily be taken as the real life of medieval warriors at the edge of sharp steel. Original, with powerfully descriptive battle scenes, violent and full of action with good twists but not for that less philosophical and reflexive about the human nature and the hard life of a warrior.
The first you need to know about this book is that it is about a battle and those fighting on it (there is no romantic stories or so here, neither the author intended so). The next to keep in mind (as warning) is not to judge the book for the first chapters. They are, probably, the only weak spot on the book since those chapters are too much loaded with introduction of characters besides the fact the author chose to open the book as if it were a play for theater (kind of Shakespeare style. Well, ok, Shakespeare´s were actually plays… I know) and that might be confusing for those not used to this author and his style (he provides “touches” out of the playbook with you come to appreciate and enjoy over the time).
Then, after the first chapters, you will find a good plot with solid characters taking you thru the many conflictive and hard faces of war and the human being living ―and dying― under those scenarios. The best and the worst, the brave and the coward and your choice of morality on those faces. I like Abercrombie but it is not for everybody. The PoV is a very close third person. The Setting and Cultural Aspects were developed only as need for the story to flow and may easily have been taken from the real world (Stonehenge).
Finally, here it comes the same warning I made before about the EC17+ rating. There are several scenes full of violence and strong words (needed to properly characterization of barbarians and situations).
“This one will keep fans of G.R.R. Martin up late. The first chapter got me hooked, the first bloodless battle of all time.
My son stole the First Law Trilogy from me. I'm still sore at the little stinker.”
“An unusual fantasy novel - kind of "All Quiet on the Western Front" of fantasy warfare. Refreshing outlook and well written.”game_itamar wrote this review Friday, January 25, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“I loved this ok. Prepare yourself for a glowing review.
One of the driving strengths in this book is the characters; there are no perfect or righteously good characters, all are flawed, well developed, and are all, well, human. They have their own human motivations and ambitions, and neither side of the battle can be neatly filed into “good” vs “evil”. Every character, some old friends from previous books and some new faces, even secondary characters, they are all so flawlessly developed and memorable without being extreme caricatures of typical troupes.
[I’ve said this in a previous review but can I just reiterate how refreshing it is to have female characters, though granted few and secondary, that are actually three-dimensional? Capable, yet flawed? Pass the bechdel test? Props. ]
There is a mixture of hilarity and repulsion woven throughout, but my feelings for these characters were just ridiculous. You may think that having no real good characters might mar your feels for them, but not so. Don’t even go into this book thinking that because you’ll only be more shocked when your heart is stamped into a million little pieces.
“The man is a monster. The worst I have ever seen, in fact, since I last looked in the mirror. The truth? I am rotting too. I am buried alive, and already rotting. If I was not such a coward I would kill myself, but I am, and so I must content myself with killing others in the hope that one day, if I can only wade deep enough in blood, I will come out clean”
Oh man. Flawless, amazing, fleshy character right there. I didn’t think anyone would overtake my love for Glokta, but he may have done it..
The fact is I have a weakness for well written, character driven novels and this is just that. While to some people a three day skirmish, with no discernible good vs evil or massive power struggle as you tend to see in most fantasy, it might be a turn off. You might think it’s all oorah! and no substance, but no. Just no. It’s so much more than that. I found a quote that sums this book up almost perfectly:
“Here is war. Here it is, shorn of its fancy trappings. None of the polished buttons, the jaunty bands, the stiff salutes. None of the clenched jaws and clenched buttocks. None of the speeches, the bugles, the lofty ideals. Here it is, stripped bare.”
And here it is. Don’t go into this book thinking you’ll find a lot of the idealistic glorification in war, bravado and “heroes” that the title seems to suggest, it couldn’t be farther from it. So many fantasy (or even military-sf) talk up war and fighting to be this valiant, perfect thing. Not so. That’s one thing I admire about this – it cuts straight through the bullshit and right to the centre of it. War is shitty. It’s not all rainbows and sunshine. It strips away the pomp and bravado of what you’d think of when you hear the title and instead leaves you with the harsh reality – that no man is above fear, no matter his standing or how ‘brave’ he appears. The songs are a load of old bollocks. The term “Hero” is almost a satirical statement in itself. They’re all just normal men, trying to make the best of a very shitty situation.
“What’s the difference? Fill a hundred pits with dead Northmen, congratulations, have a parade! Kill one man in the same uniform as you? A crime. A murder. Worse than despicable. Are we not all men? All blood and bone and dreams?”
Just… Perfect. Yes ok.
Ok, so the grit, grey characters, and promises of something new and refreshing is what got me interested in his work, but I’ve discovered it’s the writing that keeps me coming back. In all of his books I’ve found the writing to be superb, hilarious, and obviously gritty, but I feel like in this novel it is exceptional. It’s just so well written and without the pretension; there are no redundant sentences – everything, every sentence, every word, seems to be so polished and precise. I actually found myself reading slower to just absorb the brilliance of it. I don’t know, maybe it’s because I haven’t read his work in a while but goddamnit, his writing style is just so perfect to me. I could read him forever.
Oh and before I sign off this absolute essay of a review, as always the battles are masterfully executed, visceral, and well disgusting in an entirely satisfying way. The sequencing of events was actually really clever. The different maps were a really cool idea and um.. Yeah.
TLDR; I guess I kind of bloody loved this book huh?
I'll leave you with probably one of my favourite quotes in the entire book ;)
"When it came to hatred, Brodd Tenways had a bottomless supply. He was one of those bastards who can't even breathe quietly, ugly as incest and always delighted to push it in your face, leering from the shadows like the village pervert at a passing milkmaid. Foul-mouthed, foul-toothed, foul-smelling, and with some kind of hideous rash patching his twisted face he gave every sign of taking great pride in."
Brilliant. Just brilliant.”
“Nice. Abercrombie is getting better and it shows in his writing. It's a great story featuring flawed characters and their choices over a period of roughly four days. One of my most entertaining reads this year. Go get it!”JC wrote this review Monday, December 17, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“More of the same from Joe Abercrombie. Probably my least favorite of his books so far, but still pretty good. ”Rifhen wrote this review Thursday, November 29, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“An insignificant piece of land, two armies, and war on the mind. How far will we go to keep our pride, to gain a chunk of land? Violence, war and blood are the result, and in the end, the payback is violence, war and blood. Darkness begets darkness. Abercrombie is a master of telling the tales of dread men and the wars they wage and the only outcome that is possible from such a life.”Russ M wrote this review Wednesday, October 17, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
A battle stripped of historical context, examined through the eyes of several combatants. ”
“I enjoyed it, but nowhere near as much as The Blade Itself and the rest of the trilogy. It was competant enough, but there were no other plotlines other than "there's a war on" which meant it was a little less satisfying overall”jkdavies wrote this review Monday, June 18, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No