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Friday, March 6, 2020

Hero Forged by Josh Erikson review



Buy the books HERE(USA) or HERE(UK)


Author information: Josh Erikson doesn't have any fancy credentials to tell you about here. He lives in rural Nebraska (US) with his wife and two children, where he mostly reads, writes, and reads about writing. His many awards and accolades include some beautiful photoshopped certificates he printed at home and a yo-yo trick contest he once won at a fun fair in a grocery store parking lot.

His writing style has been compared to greats like Neil Gaiman, Joss Whedon, and Jim Butcher. Of course, that was in his dreams and should consequently be viewed with some degree of skepticism.

Format: Hero Forged was self-published by the author in 2018 and is available through Kindle Unlimited and in ebook and paperback formats. There's also an audiobook narrated by the author himself. The book is 342 pages long divided into 40 chapters. 

OVERVIEW: I’ve been looking for a fresh Urban Fantasy for a while. Not an easy task when you grow tired of angry chicks in leather or self-loathing wizards/detectives. Hero Forged surprised me in a good way - it’s the right mix of everything I love in the genre served in a way that works on all levels.

Gabe is a charming, clever con artist with a skewed (but working) moral compass. He’s the master of talking his way out of things he’d talked himself into. Also, he’s short on cash. When a chance to earn a decent amount of money appears, Gabe accepts.

Things go downhill fast. Gabe finds himself trapped in a mansion with bloodthirsty and power-hungry lunatics from other dimensions and with a god trapped in his head. Oh, and a sexy succubus bonded to him.

Despite his hopes, it was all a drug-induced hallucination, it’s real. Demons are after him, the god trapped in him wants to tear free, and the god’s wife plans to bring the world to its knees. 

Hero Forged shines because of three things: characterization (especially of Gabe and Heather), masterful pacing and action, and overall writing style. First, characterization–Gabe is smart, witty, and charming. He tries to be cynical but somehow fails. Under all his false personalities, he’s a decent human being with the heart in the right place. His point of view is often hilarious, sometimes profoundly philosophical. As the story progresses, we discover the events that shaped him. Beyond Gabe, the other standout character in this book is Heather - Gabe’s succubus side-kick. There’s much more to her than curvy lines and sex-appeal. I think the author nailed the perfect balance between sly succubi side and a layered, relatable character. Bad guys deserve high praise as well - they were all nuanced, and it was tempting to see the things the way they did. 

There’s a lot of information packed into Hero Forged, but Erikson’s accessible writing and slick plotting make the pages fly by at a lightning pace. The novel is propelled by Gabe’s efforts to discover the nature of deity trapped in his head and looking for a way he can survive another day. A cinematic conclusion is satisfying, and the ending gives a strong final twist that surprised me. And Gabe as well, I’m sure.

Any drawbacks? Well, there were some plot devices used to move things forward (especially diverse foes’ attacks that “forced” Gabe to negotiate with Aka Manah and gain new “skills”). Anything else? Not really. 

CONCLUSION: By any means, read it. Do it before it gets cool. Josh Erikson is a natural storyteller, but also somewhat of a philosopher too. He’s one of these authors who can create original narratives from the elements we all know and love. Hero Forged was fun, clever, and entertaining.

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