And I am finally back! A few disclaimers before I jump into it: I am not sure where to put the review as the only book on your 'shelf'? (I'm new to this site) is Price which I'm not sure if it's referring to the series or a particular book (DoaH vs Nothing Given). The review will be based on DoaH and about 35% of Nothing Given
Disclaimer: This is the first review I have ever written even close to a 1/4 of this depth.
Overall Rating: 4.75* for DoaH and 4.2* for Nothing Given.
I was pleasantly surprised when I started reading to find something to similar to my own - what I want to achieve. It is based around minimal descriptions and even less telling. Everything was told through actions and was straight to the point without being dry. There weren't countless monologues, interior or otherwise, do explain situations or phenomena that are a part of life for the character. Think about it, if you lived with something for years, there would be no reason start talking to yourself or those around you explaining why it's so (personal pet-peeve). Instead, the explanations are built into dialogue in a natural way or a tad of villain laughing at the hero (spoilers - looking at the guy whose power adapted - spoiler over), however, even then it is a justified action building up the character.
My biggest gripe with it was the first chapter where the action scene pans out. There are too many questions raised and very little explanation give. Spoilers - the MC's regeneration abilities are self-evident, but how it affects other materials (his sword) is unexplained. Moreover, through the duration he surged and was granted a sort-of teleportation. However, the way it was described was extremely confusing. With mentions of his previous self's dying and him appearing and random (I know it wasn't 100% random but he had little control over it at the time) locations. It was beyond confusing, the character didn't know what's going on, the readers didn't and only his enemy seemed to understand a bit. Was he teleporting? Was he making clones? Which one is it? Now this makes it sound rather bad but I wanted to let the author know what improve in the beginning as we know first impressions are everything, and if the scene wasn't as gripping as it was, I probably would have dropped it.
4.5* For Style.
As far as cliches go (especially the ones revolving around superpowers/heroes) I'm pretty clueless as I tend to avoid such stories. However, the plot itself in the first book was a ride like no other. Despite the focus being placed on the main character, preventing the readers from being exposed to the plot lines going on around the MC and instead letting him run head-first into them, there are enough hints given throughout the MC's life that when it comes together, does it really. There will be moments of epiphanies flashing as the reader gets flashbacks to previous events and realizes why characters had said/done as they did in the light of new events. When that happens, all those hidden plotlines come to light through the reader reconstructing them himself (with generous hints from the writer at the end).
In the end, it portrays the life of a normal (that's highly debatable) highschooler that gets his heart torn apart and gains superpowers to get revenge. Perhaps not the most unique call to action, but it is very relatable (at least for me) except for some minor details.
Of course there are elements of tragedy which I won't touch on for them being close to spoilers, but they are there and do their job well. You will LOVE some characters, HATE others and all of it will bring you that much closer to them.
However, as for the sequel, Nothing Given, I have mixed feelings. As the author himself stated (somewhere), the first book ballooned to 100k words more than expected (I might be wrong on the exact number) and while the story itself in DoaH feels perfect, the impact of it being so long is felt in the second book. All of the plotlines set up in the first book get finished, tied up and cut away. There are a few major over-arching ones that are left/continued to the second book but they feel lacklustre in comparison. A part of this I will attribute to the slower pacing of the story, while the other part to the next sentence. By which I mean that with the loss of previous plots, new ones have to be constructed. However, the author can't while ignoring his main cast, they have to do something. But what can they do without the foundation for meaningful actions? Now again, I read only 35% of the sequel, so I have no idea what happens beyond that point, but as of right now, it was a lot of set-up and little doing. The reason the author got away with this in the beginning is because of the honeymoon. The readers are new to the story, the characters and their struggles so while those were being explored, the groundwork for conflict was laid in the background. Now all of those are explored (not fully, but enough that the reader has a good grasp on it) so there is nothing to distract the readers with while the tension builds. This is where I flaked away from the story after the initial rush of reading it was gone. I took a break to do real life and a week later, just couldn't bring myself back.
A final not on the story, as far as explanations go, you might as well expect none. Very few are given but they barely make sense, if it all. However, realism is far from the books concern and their [explanation's] absences don't change the flow or enjoyment of the story.
Don't feel like I'm saying its boring, not worth reading or confusing, in fact, I encourage and highly hope you do! I personally do not enjoy superpower stories a lot, this was my second one in a lifetime and it absolutely hooked me which is saying something.
Story: DoaH 4.9*, Nothing Given 3.9*
Along with the style, this is perhaps the best part of the story so far. All of the characters you encounter seem to have some depth to them. And if they are of any importance to the story, then they have a backstory driving them and a plotline related to them that will be brought up. Their mannerisms, actions, decision and manner of talking (might be repeating myself here) stay consistent to create unique and memorable characters.
That said, the one downside is that a lot of them have a similar background in the form of crippling depression and drug-. Now joking aside, there isn't a lot of 'happiness' to be found. Pretty much all of them have some dark backstory from which everything stems and gives them power. There are two exceptions to this, one who got his powers through idiotism but he has yet to play a major role and the other has no powers but still not the best of childhoods - just asking to gain superpowers. That's another gripe, despite the odds being abysmally low for gaining superpowers, it feels like everyone has them and they are commonplace. That isn't to say they are boring, there as some truly interesting combinations that delight the mind(s of superpower geeks - I think) it just makes the trait of having power moot and a requirement to be remotely important to the story.
Pretty much flawless. I noticed a few odd hiccups, but that was once in a book occurrence.
As I mentioned before, this is my first time making a review, so don't take it as a be-all-end-all but more of my personal opinions and experiences. I HIGHLY recommend reading the Death of a Hero. It's great, seriously. One final note I have is regarding characters that I wasn't sure how to express properly (and still don't). Is that they do not drive the plot in different directions enough. Right now its very MC driven - which is great. The MC has to do the driving otherwise why would he be the MC? But right now it feels like instead of the other characters making a major decision that force the MC to act, unknown influences 'happen' forcing the mc to act and those around him react in their unique ways. Again, this is not bad and may not be 100% accurate (what the author intended), but that is how I feel.