Rating: Four stars
Beginning of a Hero is a compelling first novel that is an excellent introduction into its series. The story jumps headfirst into the action, not allowing itself to get tripped up on tiny details. It keeps an even pace throughout. Though I felt the beginning was a trifle slow, and it took a while for me to get into it. Once I had gotten through the first few pages, however, it was a smooth ride.
One of the things that won me over was the bouts of humor. Especially in the beginning. “This is not possible! I am a Paladin!” I thought I was going to die with delight.
While there are many differing opinions on the approach (it is written in second person as opposed to the more commonly used first or third) I myself did not find it difficult to get into at all. I certainly noticed that it was different, at first, but it neither bothered me nor hindered my progress or enjoyment of the story. The writing style was indeed refreshing and offered a crisp new perspective on the characters without irritating cliches.
Of the characters, there was only one I did not enjoy. I did not care much at all for the book’s protagonist Luke Callindor. It had nothing really to do with how he was written, I just didn’t like him as a person. I did, however, very much enjoy the lich. As an avid devourer of Fantasy and an enthusiastic lover of villains, I am all for Lich characters (there is a depressing shortage of them in fantasy, if you ask me) and I am VERY picky about how they are written. It was great to finally get to read a book where the villain was NOT an evil human magician / jealous witch / outcast elf.
The concept of zombies threw me off a little. I think it is because “zombies” I associate with all of the media that is currently buzzing with them (Walking Dead, Dawn of the Dead, etc)and I probably expected something more like “ghouls” to be used.
The visuals are another thing that is great about this book. Charles Yallowitz does an excellent job at painting the perfect picture. He does not “infodump”, or burden the story with heavy, unnecessary description. Rather he gives you a nice balance where he shares his vision but also allows some room for the reader’s own interpretation. They flow to the point where I can easily see them translating onto a movie screen, etc. If you love visuals this is a perfect book for you.
I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys intense fantasy action, zombies, adventure stories, loveable characters, and best of all – liches. I look forward to reading the next installment.