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Book Review: Heroes

Table of Contents

“When adversity strikes, we call upon heroes to save the day.

In this anthology, talented writers retell the timeless tales of saviors from legend.

Remaining true to their origins, this collection features 14 reimagined sagas of courage, strength, ingenuity, and most importantly, hope.

You may know their stories…

But not told like this.”

Title: Heroes

Series: Standalone

Author: Ashley Hutchison (Editor), Daniel Quigley, Jess L. Tong, Laura McLoughlin, Stephen Howard, Chris Durston, Madeline Dau, Michael J. Mullen II, Douglas Jern, Matthew Siadak, R. Raeta, Jaecyn Boné, Dina S. Dewi Hargreaves and Carter Hutchison

Page Count: 387

Genre: Fiction, Science Fiction, Retellings

Rating: 4.0/5.0

Date Read: March 23rd, 2023

To be honest, I knew nothing of Heroes by Ashley Hutchison until just a couple of weeks ago. I ended up picking this one up along with several categories it was nominated for in the Indie Ink Awards. I figured I could easily fit this in before the deadline due to it being a rather low page count for a collection of short stories. I do struggle with short stories at times and not because I don’t enjoy them. Quite the opposite in fact! It drives me crazy at times when I read a short story that I really liked and then it’s over as quickly as it began.
 
I’ve tried to put some though into how I wanted to review this style of book as well. What I came up with was I created a bit of a scoring for each short story within Heroes and I’ll share my traditional thoughts overall on the book and will wrap up with mention of a couple of my favorites from the list.
 
The pacing of each story was fairly smooth. I never really had any issues with anything that was difficult to understand, typos or any real slow parts. I guess this is to be expected since again these are short stories that don’t have a lot of page counts available to really build up to much. Each story gets into the action or story fairly quickly until it wraps up.
 
The character development is one of those traditional categories I mention that is difficult because we spend such short time with these characters. With that being said though, I think each of the authors providing works for this anthology did well in getting me to understand and often connect or relate to most of their characters. Definitely not easy to do with only about a 20-40 minutes attention span.
 
Finally the world building often suffers from the same lack of time as the character development. I think what helps the world building a bit in Heroes is most of these stories are retellings of very familiar stories. So the foundation is already laid and we just need to get settled into what’s different. And different these were. Most of these are futuristic retellings of stories such as Robin Hood and King Arthur just to name a couple. It took me a couple of stories to get comfortable with these but once I did, I rather enjoyed most of them for what they are.
 
As I mentioned, I wanted to point out at least a couple of my favorites. All of these authors were new to me so I might have a few that are now on my radar to see what else they’ve been up to in the past as well as in the future.
 
I think my overall favorite was probably Codename: Viking by Michael J. Mullen II. This is a more modern if not futuristic retelling of Beowulf. As a fan of Beowulf itself I really enjoyed the action of this one and the connection from the older tale into this more modern twist.
 
I also really enjoyed Behind the Mask by Jaecyn Bone which was a retelling of Perseus and Medusa. Again I grew up a huge fan of films like Clash of the Titans and Jason and the Argonauts. So this was right up my alley.
 
Lastly, I’ll mention the final story in Heroes which was Mulan and the DOGYN of Power by Carter Hutchison. This one probably stuck with me simply due to a bias of being exposed to similar stories more recently out of the group. This one gave off very strong vibes relating to the Pacific Rim films and even more so Iron Widow which I read last year if I remember correctly. It was definitely a very enjoyable read and could easily see this one expanded into a full novel or series.
 
This ended up bit a very quick and enjoyable read exposing me to some additional great authors I tend to look into further. I’d recommend this to anyone who likes more modern or futuristic retellings of popular tales from the past and our childhoods. Books like Heroes can be nice to fit in just about anywhere because you don’t need to knock it all out at once. If you have a moment you’re waiting for an appointment or to pick someone up this would be perfect. Or if you only had a day before you dive into your next epic read, pick this up and knock out a couple short stories today. Plenty of options to chip away at this one and enjoy the ride!

World Building 4/5
Pacing 4.5/5
Character Development 4/5

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Chad Barnard

Owner/Operator of The Hiking Reader Blog. Sharing thoughts on books and hiking trails and trying to find ways to continue to incorporate both hobbies together.

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