Friday, 4 July 2014

Review Time: In Search of Gods and Heroes, by Sammy HK Smith

As always I've used the review set up that I've adopted. This is me giving my thoughts and opinions on the Pace, World/Environment, Themes, Characters and Originality of a story. I've decided to change this set up a little and put the Characters section first as it feels better that way.


In Search of Gods and Heroes is a story that I'm honoured to finally review. A few years ago I stumbled across the writer’s forum called Authonomy. There I became friends with Sammy HK Smith and we shared our stories. This was when I first had the chance to read this story and enjoyed it from the start. I am so glad to see In search of Gods and Heroes finally published and have the opportunity to share my thoughts on it.
Below is my review and please feel free to take a look at the description of this story, and if it appeals to you buy it- How else will you enjoy the creativity, the epic scale and scope, and the vast number of unique characters that In Search of Gods and Heroes has to offer? Okay, enough jibber jabber- on with the review!!!


I.S.O.G.A.H. follows Chaeli as her life is thrown into chaos. Chaeli lives in a medieval style world where a number of Gods, aka Immortal deity's, are worshiped (not unlike the Ancient Greek Gods).The catalyst for her journey is the appearance of a demon who attacks Chaeli. She manages to flee but this revelation that the forces of the underworld are after her turns her world upside down. As things unfold we quickly see that the forces of good are trying to help her, but because of their rules of minimal intervention they struggle to do so. Chaeli then begins an epic journey that balances between good and evil as she tries to discover her role in the events that are happening around her.
Chaeli is certainly an interesting character with many strengths and flaws that make her interesting to follow and share this journey with. She is not one I personally had complete empathetic attachment too, but as always this is subjective. Being a man does put me at a disadvantage from the start because Chaeli’s character and the events that happen to her do make her more suited to female readers. This, however, does not make the story any less enjoyable for male readers as Chaeli is interesting to follow and there are so many reasons this story is enjoyable, i.e. the concepts, the epicness, and the fact there are male characters to become attached to, such as Nathan, Adely, Daro and Eli.
  There are so many other unique characters, which would fill up several pages to write about, so I’ll just say I believe most female readers will be able to relate to some of Chaeli’s struggles and other reader’s will still be able to find at least one of those character’s to side with. For a story to be able to do that is very impressive, as so many characters could make the story a bit to chaotic but I didn't feel that at all with I.S.O.G.A.H.


Although this story is reasonably long it does not feel so. The pace of the overall story, the character development, and the action is well balanced and structured so I never became bored, which can happen easily if, like me, you have the attention span of a four year old. The wide selection of character perspectives that are followed in this story also helps the pace as it gives an ever changing and fresh feel to the story.


Out of all the reviews I’ve done so far this certainly has the most scope and grandness to the plot and world. The world focuses on the land of Ibea, which itself is well detailed to make it believable, but we also get to see and visit the underworld and divine home of the gods, which adds to the flavour of the environment in this story.


Good versus Evil: This comes in the familiar form of the mortal struggle between the two opposing forces. This intertwines with the other obvious theme of Choice, Inaction and Consequence, which I’ll touch on in a second. The contrasting philosophies of good and evil are developed well by using the formula of the evil side trying to force situations and take control, while the good being inclined to sit back and give choice to the mortals so they have a chance to prove themselves. The interesting element to this is that the immortals are fallible and subject to choice too and this adds an interesting layer to the story.

Choice: As mentioned choice is a common theme. ISOGAH explores the nature of choice making, doing nothing, and being overly controlling. This is done in way that is thought provoking but easy on the brain-cells too.

Love/Lust: This theme is tackled in a very interesting way as there are often blurred lines between love and lust in this story. These blurred lines are good to explore as often what is lust, and what is love, isn’t always clear, and sometimes it is. (The way it is explored isn’t explicit by any means, but some more conservative readers may not find this theme to their taste).
  There is also a love triangle, which I think Twilight  has killed, but I have it on good authority that the reason love triangles are so popular to female readers is because they are a frequent dilemma for the fairer sex. I personally hate them (love triangles, not the fairer sex) and am bored of them, but I acknowledge the appeal. If I put my own feelings aside on this matter then the love/lust triangle in ISOGAH is an interesting one as each individual’s feelings and desires are explored in detail. This gives the reader a good insight into the characters motives and personalities. Some of the circumstances that do unfold are enjoyable because it is always good to have complex subjects explored.    

There are obviously other themes but these are the three main ones that stood out to me.


This is subjective, as I’ve clearly not read every story this world has to offer, but I like to give my little opinion on whether I felt the story was original, especially as originality is something I crave. I am happy to say that ISOGAH was very original to me. Yes, it follows some very familiar themes as all books do, but if a story can weave them in a new way it makes me a very happy reader. I love the original feel to the world and scale of this story; and along with the unique characters and verity of perspectives, ISOGAH has a very fresh and new feel.

Last Thoughts:

As you can tell I’m a fan of In Search Of Gods and Heroes and anyone looking for something that is a quick paced adventure and layered deeply to provoke thought then this is the book for you.

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