On Earth, Hari Michaelson was a superstar. But on Overworld, he was the assassin Caine. Real monarchs lived and died at his hands and entire governments were overthrown...all for the entertainment of millions back on Earth. But now Hari, stripped of his identity as Caine, must fight his greatest battle: against the powerful corporate masters of Earth and the faceless masses who are killing everything he loves. Enemies old and new array themselves against him. And Hari is just one man - alone, half-crippled, powerless. They say he doesn't have a chance. They are wrong.
©2001 Matthew Woodring Stover (P)2011 Audible, Inc.
"Day of the Jackal meets Lord of the Rings.... A marvelous conspiracy thriller of worlds within worlds, where no one is necessarily who or what they seem." (Simon R. Green)
How do you follow up a book like Heroes Die?
If you are Matthew Stover, you set the philosophy to 11, the action (at least for the first 3/4 of the book) to 2, and throw out the sequel rulebook.
I've made this an especially difficult review for myself, as I don't want to spoil a single thing about what takes place in either of the books as I tend to read reviews for later books in a series to see if they are worth investing in. So, the quick review is: very very good, get them both.
To begin with, I'll say that the first 4/5s of Blade of Tyshalle is a very different beast to Heroes Die. It has a cloying, suffocating atmosphere that builds palpably as you progress through the book. You are never sure what is going to happen and how actions will pan out (which is one of the main themes of the book - the butterfly effect). As such, it can be very overpowering, especially with the many unpleasant things that happen to people trying to do the right thing.
Then you get to the last fifth of the book which escalates things dramatically - action set pieces and emotional turmoil are thrown around with gusto, all the while building to a conclusion that neatly dots the 'i's and cross the 't's.
To me, the thing that stands out most is Hari's character arc, especially the way he comes to terms with who he is and what has happened to him - it is astonishingly powerful stuff. Also note that threads from the first book are picked up and either expanded upon (i.e. black shell) or explained (the Social police and caste system).
This is a superb book that expands on the first in every way, subverting what you expect and what you want. Highly recommended.
As a side note I noticed that there was a lot of material in this book that seemed to resonate with the 2nd and 3rd Matrix films, which is fine, except for the fact that the Blade of Tyshalle book was published 2 years before The Matrix Reloaded movie!
Its easily in my top 20. I'd like to put it higher, but I have a pretty exclusive list. I still highly recommend this book and it deserves more praise then it gets.
When Hari stopped trying to be Hari and just became Caine.
It has a lot of powerful moments in it that really make you think, it can get very psychological at times, but this doesn't take anything away, oh no, it adds to it as Matthew Stover really puts his and Caine's mindset in to perspective.
I would never call Blade of Tyshalle a tear jerker, but it had many humorous part in it that got me chuckling.
I enjoy a good plot, well thought out characters, witty banter and to be amazed by the creativity of the author!
As a follow up novel, some authors flag in terms of the pace and lack of development of the story, this is not that kind of book. The pace is similar to the first book, the development of the main characters continue, whilst adding more insight into their stories. I loved this book as no matter how bad things got, I could still root for Caine to overcome the situation. I am still in love with this series.
"Why the bad reviews?"
Yes, and I have many times already. This is a fantastic book, it evolves the characters unlike anything you could expect and lets them develop as you read. It gives you every emotion, from happiness to sadness and back again.
I find it baffling that people reviewing this book haven't even FINISHED it, how can you truly review a book if you haven't read the whole thing? Makes no sense.
This book evolves so much that the end is imperative to the reader. Yes this book can have some rough spots throughout, but having read it 10+ times I cannot think of a point that isn't important TO THE SERIES not just this book. This is book 2 of 4 and SO many things from this book are so important in both book 3 and 4 that don't seem important at all to this book it is astonishing.
If all 4 books were one book these complaints people are making wouldn't even exist because it would be fluid, but that is not how series work.
Read the whole thing before you try to judge.
When Caine learns is in the dungeon.
By far the best reader I have heard
Yes, beyond a doubt.
"Masterpiece from a masterful author"
I was first introduced to Matthew Stover over ten years ago, by reading his Star Wars novels. I decided that I'd take a leap and read his Acts of Caine, and they have all rocked my world.
He is hard hitting, intelligent, violent and profane. Caine is one of the best characters ever created, and i am interested in everything he does.
Rudnicki has delivered another rock solid performance, but Stover's writing would shine through the worst delivery. Its just awesome.
There is no comparison.
No, its too long
rudnicki is epic in his narration, Stover has a great story, Caine is a deep character and axtion is amazing!
"good book very entertaining"
I have really enjoyed the first two books in this series. the story is engrossing enough that at times I get out of the car and sick my phone in my shirt pocket upside down so I can listen some more. Lots of action and the premise behind the story is unique. I'd recommend this.
"Stop at Heroes Dies/But Listen to Others by Stefan"
I really enjoyed Stefan Rudnicki's narration and will look for other audiobooks he has narrated but I did not like the story and would not recommend the book.
The extreme violence, overly complicated plot, and metaphysical randomness took away from the story.
I'm listening to Theft of Swords by Michael J. Sullivan and am enjoying it so far!
I really enjoyed the beginning of the book that was a flashback showing how Hari Michaelson and Kris Hansen became friends at school. I thought it was setting the book up for a great sequel but, unfortunately for me, I thought the book went downhill fast after this flashback section.
No. It was a disappointing story and was extremely long, at about 32/33 hours of listening time.
Stop at Heroes Die. This was a difficult review to write. I usually am pretty lenient in rating books that I read. If a book keeps my interest, I typically give it a 4 star rating. However, with the Blade of Tyshalle I was really disappointed to the point that i thought I should review the book to pass on my feelings.
I really enjoy Hari Michaelson/Caine as a character and absolutely loved Heroes Die but the extreme violence, overly complicated plot, convenient warps of of the universe/magic, and metaphysical randomness with Pallas Ril and Ma'elKoth put me off.
I've read plenty of other gritty, dark fantasy and sci-fi books and know that violence is a part of the genre but Stover goes to extremes to make the violence as gruesome as possible. I listen to audiobooks frequently and found myself gritting my teeth and repulsed on my way to work. Reading through other people's reviews after I finished the book, I have to agree with another user's review. I'm paraphrasing but she said something along the lines of 'why keep reading a book that puts you in such a dark place?' It's one thing if it's part of the story and adds meaning but Stover adds violence just because it's Caine and he needs to be violent and gory (i.e. cannibalistic rape).
I didn't immediately read Blade of Thysalle after Heroes Die but I had a hard time following what was going on in Blade of Thysalle. I think that it was mostly due to the metaphysical aspects of the book. The 'battle of the gods' was interesting and added to the story in Heroes Die with the fight between Pallas Ril and Ma'elKoth but it got too trippy for me in the Blade of Thysalle. I didn't really understand what was happening and was honestly extremely bored with that aspect of the story. As I mentioned, I listen to audiobooks and always found myself daydreaming and having to rewind and relisten to these metaphysical sections.
Also, towards the end of the book I felt like the 'gods can do whatever they want' aspect was too much as well. I understand gods should have extreme amounts of power but I think there still needs to be rules that apply to the universe. If any of the characters can do literally anything they want (within physics, dimensions, etc.) their actions lose any meaning in my point of view. If all of the sudden a character can defy the laws of physics and kill a villain or enemy at whim, then what's the point? Why doesn't the hero of the story just warp physics at the beginning and do whatever the hell he wants and not waste my time?
I really did enjoy Heroes Die a lot and was really looking forward to this sequel which made it that much more disappointing when the book didn't live up to my expectations.
"STUFF GOT WEIRD...REAL WEIRD"
Totally disappointed in this one after Heroes Die. It started off strong with a great back story of Kain at the conservatory and then goes downhill from there. There was way too much meta-physical stuff that just didn't seem to have any rules, so the story really couldnt be trusted.
If you liked the part in Heroes Die where Palace Rill becomes the water god then you might like this book. The whole book is one long story about those types of strange transformations with random gods.
"Good philosophy, dumb mysticism, weird action"
Yes, probably. Though not for a long time.
Some of the scenes were very brutishly cruel and vividly written, to the point of turning my stomach, and I'm a seasoned reader.
Also, I dislike mysticism, and this book has way too much of it.
It's worse than the 1st in the series. Less interesting plot, way too much preaching about how bad humanity is, the action scenes, while very nicely written, seem kinda disconnected from the overall plot. Also, Caine's surfacing from his despair is too far-fetched, in my opinion.
All of them. He is a great reader.
Um. No? It's over a day long.
Stover is a very talented writer, he has a lot to say, his thoughts are interesting, his characters are interesting... too bad the whole book didn't come together as it could have.
matthew Stover is one of my favorite authors and Caine is one of my favorite characters. I do not understand the bad reviews of this novel for the most part. Yes, it is a long book, but there are a lot of long great books out there. The people who complain about this are just lazy in my opinion, great things come to those who wait. I will say that this book is very violent and does have some disturbing scenes in it, but that is what it is supposed to be. This is grimdark fantasy and science fiction,and yes some of the scenes are over the top, but this is what you people signed up for. The purpose of the book is supposed to be depressing, we aren't reading Alice in Wonderland here.
I digress though, the book itself is fantastic, the characters are well developed, and the plot is intricate. I never expected this novel to go in the direction it went after the first one. What makes the novel even better is the action scenes. They might be the best I have ever read, they are certainly up there with Joe Abercrombie and Richard Morgan. Also, the narration by Stefan is top notch, and his portrayal of Caine is one of the best character performances ever. I definitely recommend this novel and strongly suggest that it is worth finishing and I can't wait for Stover's next novel.
"My favorite book"
I first read this book as a teenager full of ideals and metaphysical wondering. This book helped to shape me in ways I still don't fully comprehend. Listening to it again 12 years after my first reading has allowed me to see it in a new light, but it remains as impactful. The story was enhanced by Rudnicki's performance. My appreciation for this book has improved and I am looking forward to enjoying this novel more frequently as an audio book.
"Great fantasy Series - highly recommended"
the acts of Caine are a great story stretching four books. I can highly recommend them to every fantasy reader. buy now, no questions asked. some have said they are too violent, that's akin to saying the zombie apocalypse has too many zombies, within this world that Matthew stover had elegantly crafted it fits, and is appropriate to the story.
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