Book Review: A Hero
Reviewed by Timothy Thomas
A lively, stimulating novel that does not take itself too seriously, yet gets its point across with ease
Ace Bedlam is a hero. Actually, he is the greatest hero now, following the death of Smolder Bedlam, who sacrificed himself to destroy a significant portion of Evil’s army. At least, that’s the official narrative.
When Ace receives an invite to the Institute (Evil’s headquarters), he accepts, believing his time has come to cement himself in the heroic halls of greatness by destroying what remains of the once formidable Evil.
Upon meeting with Evil’s overlord Andrew, however, he convinces himself that an even greater feat would be to reform Evil and make them Good, but Ace’s overzealous behavior leads to a hasty escape from a flying monster and a crash landing on a nearby planet, where the unavoidable questions raised by interactions with its inhabitants begin to unravel his convictions.
As his mysterious past becomes clear to him once again, eventually he is forced to ask himself, Am I a hero?
This humorous, intelligent science fiction offering from the mind of Sean DeLauder confronts our conceptions of humanity, morality, free will, and heroism in a fun, accessible way that highlights how perceptions of life and history are matters of perspective.
Ace’s black and white understanding provides an appropriate contrast to the grays in which life generally takes place, so that his interactions with others illustrate the difficulties in maintaining a simplistic worldview that demonizes everyone else and an ideology that attempts to restrict thought. At the same time, A Hero asks difficult questions of the reader regarding mankind’s proclivity toward self-sabotage, the crabs-in-a-barrel tendencies that undermine our ability to achieve progress as one. The need to have a scapegoat rather than the truth is often our undoing.
A Hero knows its purpose and accomplishes it well. While fictional, the story told is timely, relevant, and provocative, and yet remains light in its execution. Sean DeLauder’s moderate pacing combined with his well-informed writing style and vocabulary make for a story without laborious descriptions and one that keeps the narrative moving.
Accompanying Ace on his travels is an eclectic cast of well-written characters that provide necessary levity and freshness to the story in unpredictable ways, like a maintenance robot with a hangup on his lack of eyebrows and inability to express emotion. These characters are a credit to the author’s imaginative mind and understanding of his audience.
I would be glad to recommend this book to its audience. An amusing, stirring novel, A Hero will leave readers hungry for more from author Sean DeLauder.
Genre: Science Fiction / Humor
Print Length: 330 pages
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