Hero at the Fall Review

Hero at the Fall has undoubtedly been my most anticipated read of 2018. So anticipated that I put reading the book off until now.

That may seem strange but here’s the thing: what if it had been a disappointment? I’d heard mixed reviews and this series has been one of my favourites over the last few years, I wasn’t quite ready to be disappointed when it was first released over summer, and I definitely wasn’t ready to say goodbye to Amani and her rebellion.

However my worries for it being a disappointment were totally fruitless in the end, because I loved this stunning conclusion to an incredible series. Amani and friends left with a bang, in a cloud of gun smoke and dessert dust which couldn’t have been more perfect.

We would be stories long after we were gone. Imperfect, inaccurate stories. Stories that could never even come close to reality

The story itself opens with the rebellion at it’s worse: moral is low as a valuable rebel demendji has just been executed, most of the important players have been captured and the Sultan is at his most powerful, with an army of unstoppable clay men at his side. It seems Amani stands no chance when she steps up to lead what is left of the rebels.

While the first novel showed us Amani’s bravery, and the second demonstrated her loyalty, this novel tests her determination. With the tides turning against the rebellion and every decision she makes seeming to be the wrong one, it proves difficult for them to hope to find their leader, and even harder for her to find him alive. To make matters worse she can’t forget the rebellion’s overall aim, which is to remove the Sultan from power, another seemingly impossible task.

“We were like faded pictures in a book that had lost a lot of its gilt” -Amani

The writer has chosen to develop an unusual plethora of characters in this novel. We don’t see the struggle that Shazard or the Rebel Prince go through, instead we watch Amani, Sam, Jin and Hala learn how to lead the rebellion, testing their loyalty and friendship to ultimately prove they can win alone. Because the novel is centred on so few characters their development is clearly marked and the reader can understand their aims and personal struggles better. The loyalty they show, the sacrifices they make and characters they become make it even harder when the reader is faced with their losses.

The characters lives and deaths are sometimes narrated in ‘aside’ chapters in a story tale fashion. These chapters, dipicting how these characters’ stories are later told throughout Maraji, further add to the reader’s perception of the characters and gives the novel a story telling vibe. More of this world’s folk lore is interwoven in the plot of the novel also compared to the others in the series, adding an unusual element. I’ve read reviews that have found these chapters detracting from the novel but I, personally, found them powerful. Depicting a character’s death in this way made it even more shocking and the short snippets of stories provided a fresh style that I haven’t read before.

“But even if the desert forgot a thousand and one of our stories, it was enough that they would tell of us at all.”

I have two small gripes with an otherwise fantastic novel. My first would be the typos. I am not normally a reader who picks up on typos but I found the book riddled with them and wondered, in places, if the writing could have been neatened up. I don’t know if this is true, but the novel read like it had been written in a rush. The elegant phrases I had come to enjoy in Alwyn Hamilton’s writing became sparse in this novel and the descriptions more clunky in places than necessary. This wasn’t a massive issue because the plot was still good and character’s felt fleshed out, but their was an element of finesse this novel lacked that felt prominent in its predecessors.

My second would be Leyla. She seemed like a strong character bent on survival at the end of Traitor to the Throne, but she became weaker as the plot went on, reduced to traipsing behind the rebellion while whining until finally falling on seduction for her survival. Perhaps because she was an engineer, I felt she could have been a strong female character (because, after all, strong female characters don’t always have to be good) but instead felt like she was the embodiment of the stereotypes this novel has done so well at fighting. I felt her putting up more of a fight, verbally if nothing else, wouldn’t have removed anything from the plot but would have made me endlessly happier.

However, these are minor details and overall I enjoyed the novel a lot. In an attempt to end my review on a good point I’ll finally touch on Jin and Amani’s relationship. In my review for Traitor to the Throne I said I found them annoying but in this novel I think this was redeemed. I thought it was refreshing in YA to read about a relationship after the girl has snagged the unbelievably handsome prince. It wasn’t pushed to the side like other novels I’ve read, they were still struggling to make it work and it was nice to have the odd detail dotted in that this was a worry for them. It wasn’t too prominent in the novel and didn’t take anything away from the plot but I liked the fact that their personal lives was a consideration and their overall worries about making it work out felt very normal.

But he wondered if a boy from the sea and a girl from the desert could ever survive together. He feared that she might burn him alive or that he might drown her. Until finally he stopped fighting it and set himself on fire for her.

Overall I’d give this novel 4 stars, but very close to five and recommend the series to anyone. I think it will be a firm favourite with me for quite a while.

⭐⭐⭐⭐/5

Let’s Compare Notes

Have you read this novel or any in the series? Is it on your tbr? What do you think of my review? Would love to hear your opinion in the comments section!

Fall tbr Update

Hello all, hope you’re having a great Tuesday! I’ve taken a break from my NaNoWriMo, which is at 926 words, not exactly on target but oh well, to write a Top Ten Tuesday! Also if you’re doing/have done NaNo, how on earth do you keep up?! And writing that much in so short a time, I’m finding it very tricky 😣

This week’s topic is backlist, but I thought I’d revisit an old list, my Fall tbr, and see how well or not well I’m doing!

1. Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas ✔️

I succeeded! Yep, I polished of this one last month I want to say? It was not as amazing as I was hoping, but I still enjoyed it! You can read my review here.

2. The Railway Man by Eric Lomaz ✔️

I’ve read this! It was startling, shocking and amazing. It’s message is so important and I definitely recommend this novel.

3. The Raven King by Maggie Steivfater ❌

This list was going so well. Sadly, Gansey and friends continue to be Welsh kingless in my mind.

4. A Gathering of Shadows by VE Schwab ❌

I still keep putting it off for its brick like tendencies 😬 hopefully I’ll pick this novel up soon.

5. To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo ❌

I am so excited for this novel. It sounds so good and I am just as sad you with my failing to read it.

6. Magnus Chase and The Hammer of Thor by Rick Riordan ✔️

I’m currently reading this! And as I’m over half way through I think I definitely deserve a gold star for this one!

7. Hero at the Fall by Alwyn Hamiliton ✔️

We’re on a role with the ticks! I read it, loved it, and am completely gutted to have finished this incredible series. Definitely one of my favourite series ever.

8. The Mime Order by Samantha Shannon ❌

Ok, yes, I am still failing on this account. I will get round to reading this one it’s just not my most anticipated read.

9. Alex and Eliza by Melissa de la Cruz ❌

A read with a deadline. I intend to read this novel before I go see Hamilton in February. Also Hamilton 😍

10. Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein ❌

It’s sitting on my shelf glaring at me. I’m sure I’ll read this exciting, plane related read soon!

Lets Compare Notes

Have you read any of these? Are they on your tbr? How are you doing with your tbr? Would love to hear from you in the comments, and feel free to drop your list by!

Fall TBR

In England fall basically means rain. Forget your romantic notions of crispy orange leaves and woolly hats, think more soggy shoes and damp, frizzy hair. It’s a horrendously wet season that holds a few very key events: my birthday, bonfire night and the date the John Lewis Christmas Add is released.

And with those key dates in your diary here’s the books I’ll be reading this fall, snuggled under a blanket, in my thickets socks, listening to the patter of rain on the windows.

1. Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas

How have you not read this??? I hear you cry and yes, I have no idea how I’ve managed not to read one of the biggest fantasy YA series for so long, please don’t unfollow this blog out of principle. I plan to soon fix the situation. Honest.

2. The Railway Man by Eric Lomaz

What’s this? A non-YA book on my blog? And a non-fiction no less. Wow if you weren’t hovering over the unfollow button earlier then you definitely are now. This novel follow the author and protagonist through his experience of the second world war where he’s a prisoner and forced to work on one of the most deadly railway projects ever endeavoured. And yeah, it’s pretty good.

3. The Raven King by Maggie Steivfater

Time to see if everyone’s favourite private school boys find that Welsh King, and who’s getting that wish.

4. A Gathering of Shadows by VE Schwab

Because of this novels brick like tendencies I’ve been putting it off (I know, I know, that is in no way a valid reason for avoiding a book). But I hope to make amends this fall and actually read part two! Maybe. I don’t know, that things pretty hefty.

5. To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

It might just be all the pretty pictures I’ve seen of this book, surrounded by model ships, compasses, maps, sea shells and other assortments of sea related treasures, on bookstagram but I’m really excited to read it! And yes, I am fickle enough to just want the book because Instagram.

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6. Magnus Chase and The Hammer of Thor by Rick Riordan

Because a little Riordan humour always brightens up those frosty fall mornings.

7. Hero at the Fall by Alwyn Hamiliton

If you at all follow this blog (you wonderful wonderful bookworms) then you will know that I love Alwyn Hamiliton’s books and will shoe horn her work into any and most Top Ten Tuesday. So, of course, I am so excited to finish her trilogy this fall.

8. The Mime Order by Samantha Shannon

Recently discovered this is a seven book series which, I’m not going to lie, is a little daunting. But if it’s seven books I really need to get cracking on book two.

9. Alex and Eliza by Melissa de la Cruz

Have I mentioned before that I’M GOING TO SEE HAMILITON IN FEBUARY???! Yes? Oh. Well, of course to further the hype I must read the book.

10. Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein

I really enjoyed Code Named Verity and it’s been far too long since I’ve read one of Wein’s female pilot based escapades.

Let’s Compare Notes

What books are you looking forward to reading this fall? Have you read any of the books above? Are you looking forward to the John Lewis Christmas add? (Don’t lie, you are 😉 ) If you have or haven’t done this topic then it would be great to hear from you! Let’s compare TBRs!!