Book Recommendation of the Month

June 2003 Book

--Posted by KenshiroKing @ 6/18/03 19:23 PST.

Once a Hero by Michael A. Stackpole

For most of you, Michael Stackpole is a Star Wars author. Others may remember his Battletech novels. Personally, however, I think his most interesting works are the numerous independent books he has written. Books written in a world created by the author allow for more freedom and expression of ideals. To me, Stackpole’s definitive independent novel is Once a Hero.

Once a Hero is a Fantasy novel that tells two stories, one of Neal Roclawzi, a hero that died 500 years in the past, and one of Genevera, an Elfess who seeks to revive him to save a city. Their two stories are told separately until they are brought together and their tales become one.

What I enjoy most about this story is that it was written by Stackpole when he was in his prime as a writer. This means that there is plenty of masterful character interaction complete with snappy dialogue and deep character development. The political intrigue is fairly low compared to his Battletech novels, but there are still more than enough plot twists to keep you deeply interested.

Huge battles, magic, elves and all that shit are liberally sprinkled throughout this tale making it quite clear that this is a fantasy novel. The only reason I do not qualify this book as an epic is simply because it doesn’t read like one. When I finish with an epic, I feel drained, like someone just finished fucking my brain. Hard. With whips and chains and shit. This book, however, is such a quick read that you are finished much sooner than you want to be. It’s just that good.

All in all, this book ranks in my top 3 books of all time. Definitely Stackpole’s best, and a quintessential fantasy novel, no matter what these guys think. Pick it up, if you like it, check out Stackpole’s other stuff, just not the more recent.