Cyrus’s dreams come true when he becomes an apprentice Hero to Reginald, aka “The Crimson Slash.” As Cyrus learns the rules of True Heroism (e.g. “Always fight Climactic Duels in Ridiculous Locations”), his path crosses with that of Voshtyr Demonkin, a Villain more devious, dastardly, and dangerous than the world has seen since the Twenty-Minute War. Or perhaps, since ever. Cyrus’ life soon becomes very tangled, involving a sharp-tongued cat-featured Katheni girl; a horrific P.L.O.T. device; confusing magic controlled by Arbitrary Numbers and Capital Letters; and a struggle to understand the mysteries and meaning of the Universe. Can Cyrus defeat Voshtyr—or will Voshtyr defeat him?
My Overall Opinion
The following is a summary of my reactions up my commencement of this story.
Minute One: “This is super cheesy. Seriously, it’s like every teenage boy’s hero flick. So cliché…”
Minute Three: (Unintentional guffaw) “Okay, I’ll admit, that was pretty funny…”
Minute Five: “Hey! Come in here! This part is so funny, I just have to read it to you.”
Minute Seven: “This whole story is like this? Not just the prologue? Cool!”
Minute Ten: (Reading, snickering, and thoroughly engaged)
Potential Downfalls/Heads Up
It’s cheesy. Really cheesy. Every cliché and plot device known to superhero comics/flicks/stories is in here. But the story is meant to be cheesy, so I’m not sure you can even count that against the story.
The violence can be a little excessive, in my opinion, although it fits with the genre it’s spoofing. For example, one of the villains wipes a piece of brain off his blade in the prologue scene. For another example, one (good) character accidentally kills someone. The response is basically, “Whoops! That was not intentional.” Once I accepted the flippant treatment of life as part of the spoof, I could handle the story pretty well, but if that’s something that bothers you—you’re forewarned.
There’s no sex, although there is some physical affection (hugging, kissing, snuggling). There is also one scene in which a woman under the influence of a lustful spell attempts to seduce a man, who (rightfully) takes to his heels.
There’s no bad language, either, unless you count made-up swear words like bok, or the misunderstanding of the word “puissant” for piss-ant.
What I Liked
This book is hilarious. I did not think I would be able to take an entire novel of spoofing, but Mr. Bonds proved me wrong. I hung onto every chapter, waiting for that one sentence (or two or three) that would make me laugh. And they always arrived. Yes, the plot isn’t super intelligent or the characters very deep (although Cyrus, the main character, is fairly rounded). The continual puns, tongue-in-cheek humor, and cheesy tropes made this story one of the most satisfying books I’ve read in a while.
Serimal turned on his heel and began to leave. He stopped briefly to turn the heel back off, and walked out of the room.
Oh, and the narrator’s explanations of important background information like the nature of Minions or the history of the Twenty-Minute War? Equally fun!
Expendable Minions, or simply Minions, are one of the most useful tools at a Villain’s disposal. It is the lot of Expendable Minions to die for little or no reason, and to do so cheerfully.
Plus, keep an eye out for sly references to popular stories like Dragonheart, The Lord of the Rings, Indiana Jones, and The Seven Samurai.
The story, while mostly light-hearted, does have some moments of thoughtfulness. Racial divisions, for example, play a large part in the story, and the characters wrestle against their own ingrained racial prejudices to come to a new understanding. Cyrus questions how others can believe in a good Creator when so much evil abounds in the world. Loyalty and self-sacrifice are recurring themes as well.
The story is the first in a series, and I’m intrigued to read the rest of Cyrus’ adventures as a Hero, Second Class, and his spunky “sidekick.”
They entered the room with unstable iron grates for flooring. The grates were suspended above a pit of bubbling lava.
If this review intrigued you, you're in luck: Hero, Second Class is FREE in the Kindle store right now. Enjoy!
I write YA/adult fantasy & sci-fi that explores fantastic and interconnected worlds, with stories that burn through the darkest realities with hope and redemption.
Learn more here!