Heroes Die (The Acts of Caine, #1) by Matthew Woodring Stover

Heroes Die (The Acts of Caine, #1)

HEROES DIEBut Caine's no hero. He's an assassin.Renowned throughout the land of Ankhana as the Blade of Tyshalle, Caine has killed his share of monarchs and commoners, villains and heroes. He is relentless, unstoppable, simply the best there is at what he does. He is free.At home on Earth, Caine is Hari Michaelson, a superstar whose adventures command an audience of billions. Yet he is shackled by a rigid caste society, bound to ignore the grim f...

Details Heroes Die (The Acts of Caine, #1)

TitleHeroes Die (The Acts of Caine, #1)
Release DateDec 9th, 2008
PublisherBallantine Books
GenreFantasy, Science Fiction, Fiction, Dark Fantasy

Reviews Heroes Die (The Acts of Caine, #1)

  • Stephen
    Okay, let me get the following BOLD STATEMENT out of the way. If I absolutely HAD to choose my single favorite BADASS “action” protagonist of all time HARI MICHELSON (AKA CAINE) would get the nod. Now I have read many books with main characters who “went to 11” on the 10 level kick-ass meter so picking a favorite or comparing one to the other is very hard to do. However, overall, taking all aspects of nut stomping, bone-breaking, dia...
  • Felicia
    WHOAH. Blast of testosterone to the face in the midst of my romance novel obsession. THIS WAS FANTASTIC!So this book is really hard to describe, it takes place in a futuristic dystopian society that uses crazy technology to send "actors" to an alternate reality called Overworld, a traditional Fantasy-ish world. They are watched back home via virtual reality tech as the actors live in the Fantasy world, the fantasy people have no idea they're from...
  • Algernon
    In the author's own words, from the interview at the end of the book: Q: How would you describe Heroes Die? A: It’s a piece of violent entertainment that is a meditation on violent entertainment — as a concept in itself, and as a cultural obsession. It’s a love story: romantic love, paternal love, repressed homoerotic love, love of money, of power, of country, love betrayed and love employed as both carrot and stick. It’s a book about all...
  • Mike (the Paladin)
    This is an excellent book.Please allow me to open with a caveat or two. First, I'm a Christian...I mean an actual practicing one. If you're a Christian (and possibly this will apply to those of you in other belief systems as well) you need to go into this knowing that it is not what I'd call "Christian friendly". On the other hand if you can read a book realizing "it's fiction" and can take what it has to say that's worthwhile and not be offended...
  • Bradley
    This was recommended to me because of my devotion to The Fortunate Fall, and not without good reason. It's a fantastic tale that requires patience at the beginning, but with each domino piece it sets up, it delivers one of the most exacting and brilliant payoffs I've read in any SF or F work. That's saying something.The novel is long and the crappy cover is off-putting, but the length does the tale very excellent justice, so I recommend that ya'l...
  • David Sven
    If there’s one word to describe Heroes Die – it’s Testosterone. This book has some of the most graphically violent action scenes you’ll find in anything written by Abercrombie or George RR Martin or any of the host of grimdark authors that have been populating the fantasy genre recently. And just in case you didn’t get enough Testosterone from the actual writing, the audio narration will have the short and curlies growing out of control...
  • ijeoma Agbaje
    First off, cheers to Thomas Stacey for the recommendation.. This book is definitely going in as one of my absolute faves for 2017. "I have lived every day of my life only to bring myself here to this moment and it has been worth every moment" This author has written an epic love story that you're not even totally aware of until you're sucked in. This isn't hearts and roses strewn on the floor. This is like blood, guts, broken bones, severed limbs...
  • Malum
    This book would have been a five star read if it had just been trimmed by about 100-150 pages. The main plot doesn't even kick in until 100 pages in, for example. When the book does get to the point, though, it is great. The worlds that the book takes place in are dark and captivating, the action is brutal, and the characters are all pretty interesting. It also has a lot to say about the ways in which people are entertained (even at the expense o...
  • Rob
    Executive Summary: Dark Fantasy/Sci-Fi that is more gruesome in places than anything I've read from Joe Abercrombie or George R.R. Martin. Full Review It's hard to believe this book was published in the late 90's. It would be right at home with all the Dark Fantasy that seems to be abundant these days. This book is way more gruesome in places than most of the so-called "grimdark" fantasy I've read recently. This seems to be a book that has gone u...
  • Jason
    5 StarsAfter nearly 15 years of being in my reading queue, Heroes Die by Matthew Woodring Stover more than lived up to my high expectations. This brutally dark and twisted, and often funny science fiction fantasy blend is just so much damn fun!!!! I admit that I am sure that there are flaws in this book, in the plot, and even in our wonderful heroes, but to me it is as if Matthew Woodring Stover wrote this book just for me and my sick and twisted...
  • Alex Ristea
    My new favourite book that probably no one has read.Matthew Stover is the king of action. You thought Mark Lawrence and Joe Abercrombie were gritty? Heroes Die is outright nasty, then. Glotka doesn't even hold a hot iron to this guy.The premise is interesting--a mashup of sci-fi and fantasy, where "actors" in a future earth strap into these chairs which send them to an alternate universe (a fantasy medieval setting) where their adventures are wat...
  • J.
    I forget, for long periods of time, how tremendously awesome epic fantasy books can be. When they are well-written, with high stakes, well-drawn and fascinating characters, scenes and set-pieces which fit together perfectly, constantly ratcheting up the tension and suspense... reading experiences don't come much better for me.To be clear, this isn't pure epic fantasy: it's a combination of fantasy and science fiction, where Actors from a future E...
  • Paul O'Neill
    Don't let the crappy cover fool you, this is a great book! I'm surprised this hasn't made its way to the big, or small, screen. It has everything, kick ass main character (who develops throughout the story), fast paced action, magic and fantasy elements, gods, war, a really touching love story and reality tv. Wow......just.....wow.
  • Jon
    3.5 stars The pros: Great combat scenes, lots of fast-paced action, dystopian future Earth reminiscent of ancient history repeating itself, and plots within plots ... all for your entertainment. The cons: Prolific profanity (although I suppose it could be argued that it's all relevant and 'in character'), graphic violence (again relevant and 'in character'), lust/love seen through testosterone-tinged viewpoint and only one decent character afl...
  • Jim
    My first novel by this author & it was quite a pleasant surprise. He handled two distinct worlds very well. One is a high tech, rather dystopian world, the other one full of swords & sorcery. Not a new idea, but it was a rather new way of putting it together with plenty of excitement throughout. The characters were well drawn with logical, sometimes complex motivations. There were multiple heroic figures, plenty of bad guys, & they didn't always ...
  • spikeINflorida
    Middle Earth meets Las Vegas...where lesbian elves pimp hookers and manage casinos, pixy ferries groove as sexy lap warmers, and ogres and trolls are employed as bouncers. HEROES DIE was such a kick in the rumpus! The author has created rich, colorful worlds with strong characters that I loved, loathed, and followed with rapt attention. The protagonist was deadlier than Chuck Norris or Bruce Lee. The female leads were tough, intelligent, and yeah...
  • Quintin Zimmermann
    I did not have high expectations going into this one. A novel written two decades ago by an author that I never heard of. Oh my word, was I blown away! Simply put, Heroes Die is Joe Abercombie and Richard K. Morgan coming together and ripping Ready Player One a new one. Caine, take up a chair and join the hardcore company of Logan Ninefingers and Takeshi Kovacs. In the Matthew Woodring Stover's own words: "It's a pop-top can of Grade-A one-hundre...
  • Matthew
    Wonderful... brutal... and full of intrigue and action. Why Stover is not a standard bearer for fantasy I will never know. Highly recommended.
  • Twerking To Beethoven
    So there's this very popular actor, - Hari Michaelson - alright? He plays Caine, a fully-fledged badass who kicks all sorts of arse in a fantasy world. Only Ankhana isn't actually a fictitious world, it really exists in a parallel dimension. So, whenever people watch one of Caine's movies, they're watching stuff that's happening for real. Now Caine... picture a cross between Harry Callahan, Dutch off Predator, John McClane and Conan. That's the s...
  • Becky
    So... This book. I'm gonna go with 2.5 stars here. I started this book a month and a half ago, give or take a couple days. It felt like I was reading it forever and ever... and there were times when I thought it would never end. To be fair, there was a lot going on in my life that made reading take a back-burner, but even when I did pick this book up, it just... didn't grab me. And in general, I think that's the problem I had overall - I just kep...
  • Kitvaria Sarene
    I loved this one! It combines a bit of SciFi with a fantasy world, as it is about human actors who get transferred to another plane were they fight or assassinate people. Those adventures get broadcasted at home for a lot of money.It was quite corey and bloody, and kept me well entertained all the time through.I clicked with the main character very fast, and loved to see his development over the course of the story. Once I started it, it was real...
  • Dawn
    Wow! What a wild ride! How do you save your girl when you've been told you have to kill a god first? This was a story that really did keep me guessing until the very end... and what a great end!
  • Thomas Stacey
    5 testosterone filled blood soaked stars.This is an incredible book. A seamless blend of sci-fi and fantasy with a genius premise. Set on an overpopulated Earth shackled by a rigid caste society, and set in the land of Ankhana, a distant medieval world where ‘actors’ from Earth are sent to assassinate monarchs, start wars and cause chaos all for the entertainment of billions back home on Earth.Enter Caine, AKA Hari Michaelson, a superstar act...
  • Althea Ann
    An interesting meld of sf/cyberpunk and fantasy. Exciting and well-plotted.In a near-future Earth, government control has produced a strict caste society. Hari Michaelson has struggled up from a Labor position, with the help of a rich patron, to become one of the most famous men on Earth - but he is still only an Actor, subservient to those above him. But when he is performing as Caine, sent through a breakthrough in physics to the Otherworld of ...
  • MT
    The protagonist, CAINE, is one BADASS MOTHERFUCKER. He doesn't take MESS from ANYBODY, not STUDIO HEADS, not GOD-EMPERORS, not his BITCH-DEITY-WIIIIIIFE. Watch him take out OVERWHEMLING numbers of cannon fodder with GRUESOME violence. He fights with his RAZOR SHARP WITS, and HIS RAZOR SHARP KNIIIIIIIIIIIVES.You want distopian future SCIFI? Here ya go! You want more FANTASY than you can handle? FUCK YOU YOU GOT ITIt's like the MATRIX WITH ELLLLLLV...
  • Artemas
    To quote Matt Stover: "Fuck me like a virgin goat."I'm pretty torn on this one. 4 stars, but that's probably the biggest round-up from a 3 that I'll ever grant on Goodreads. I found the first half of this book to be a little bizarre. As things started to click I got dragged into the story and the end made up for the confusion caused by the beginning.I still have a bunch of questions about the "setting" that I hope will be answered in the next vol...
  • Nate
    What a breath of (blood-misted) fresh air this one was! There may not be anything new under the sun but Stover comes close with this unique blend of dystopian sci-fi and magic-and-intrigue-laden fantasy. We follow protagonist Hari Michaelson, whose day job consists of teleporting to a parallel world (or something like that, I got a little hazy on the exact rules) that features elves, magic, a godlike emperor and that kind of stuff. Once in this ...
  • Jo Anne B
    Heroes DieMy husband loved this book so much that he made me read it. I am glad I did.  I like badass heroes and Caine filled that role quite well.  I really enjoyed Stover's writing style which incorporated humor and heart amidst all the vulgarity and violence. It made me like the characters more when they would say a line such as "Well, what's up her goddamn ass then? There's probably five billion women that'd sell both their tits and an ovar...
  • Sarah
    I couldn't finish this one. I renewed it 3 times because I wanted to be able to finish it, but I'm giving up. This is a fascinating story. The world is interesting, complex and full of potential, as are the male characters. It's well-written and mostly believable. But I'm stuck on two major, major issues.1) What is with all the shit? And I mean that literally. I'm no wilting lily who can't stand to read about graphic violence, grit and gore. Ther...
  • Sumant
    Yesterday while searching the internet for under rated fantasy books I came across this book Heroes die. I am really amazed as to why this series did not become much popular, may be people still liked reading tolkienesque fantasy at that time or the genre of grimdark was in its infancy stage at that time.This book has all the elements of grimdark to the brink, but the story is also one of the strong points of this book, the other being the world ...