Brave Men Die by Dan Adams (part 1 of 3)
Recently finished reading Brave Men Die but needed a little time to collect my thoughts before writing a review. Brave Men Die certainly seems to be a fitting name for this novel as the author isn’t taking prisoners!
Whilst I wouldn’t say I loved this it was fairly short and I admit that I am curious to know what exactly is going on here. I just haven’t quite made my mind up whether my curiosity, which was, to be honest, only piqued in the last few chapters of the book, is strong enough to make me continue with the series.
Set in a faux mediaeval world we start the story with three characters stealing an ancient and seemingly well protected artefact whilst killing copious amounts of people along the way, including the king’s son. These three are mysterious characters – they almost seemed celestial and they certainly seemed to wield strong magic.
This theft and slaughter leads the Kyzantines to believe that the Murukans have attacked them and in retaliation they declare war. And so the battles begin. And, really, I’m not kidding. There is plenty of action! At this point in the story there is no resolution as to why the artefact was stolen. Whether this was a ploy to start war between the two countries or whether this artefact will be the start of a whole new bunch of troubles for the people of this world remains to be seen.
The main characters we’re introduced to at this stage are Castor and Pollux. Two brothers, both seemingly adept at fighting and swordsplay. I will warn you to not form too many strong attachments to the other characters as the author is rather ruthless. We’re also introduced to a couple of female characters who have magical abilities. One the teacher, one the student, they’re about to go in search of a book that will put them directly in the path of war.
So, why the mixed feelings. Well, at the moment this is predominantly a book about warfare which I don’t have a problem with per se, but, whilst the pace is fast and the action fairly relentless I didn’t feel that I really got a good feel for the world itself and, up until almost the end I wasn’t really connecting with any of the characters in particular. In fact the characters have a tendency to come across a little smug in a ‘I laugh in the face of war, and tweak the nose of danger’ sort of fashion. Plus, certain elements of the story are just too easy. For example at the start, I struggled to understand why these three ‘people’ went to the trouble of engaging with the soldiers in order to steal the artefact – it just seemed pointless given how strong their magic seemed to be? It was pretty obvious that they could take exactly what they wanted after all.
Now, I don’t want to seem overly negative. Like I said, I did read this very quickly and it held my attention and to an extent I am intrigued to know what is going on. But, whilst there is definitely no shortage of action I personally like to have a little more flesh on the bones, a bit more depth to the characters and maybe a bit more knowledge of the world/politics/history. I can see how this would appeal to those who are not quite as enamoured with that style. For me, it feels as though something essential has been lost from the story in order to accommodate what at the moment seems to be lots of warfare and a fast pace. Part of me wonders whether this will be rectified in the next installment and that’s why I’m so curious. On balance I will probably continue with No.2 in the hopes that the plot becomes a bit more apparent as at the moment this is a more of a mystery to me than anything else. I certainly wouldn’t discourage others to read – if you like a real action packed book with super fast pacing then this could be right up your street.
I received a copy of this from the publishers through Netgalley for which my thanks. The above opinion is my own.