Broken Hero, by Jonathan Wood would best be classified as a Dark or Urban Fantasy. It is one of the later books in a series. Usually I do not like to start in the middle of a series, but the book looked interesting, so I decided to break my own rule and I'm glad I did, for this book was outstanding. Yeah, I know I have given a lot of books 5 stars this year, but please keep in mind that I get a lot of books on my doorstep to review and I guess in my old age, I am being selfish and keeping the best for myself, so sue me.
To say this book is action packed would be quite an understatement, but besides the fast paced story the huge level of comedy is, if anything, even stronger. This is a damn funny book. Perhaps more of a comedy than a dark fantasy in some respects. The comedy just helps make the characters stronger and more enjoyable. It makes me wonder about the first books, because the author sure has his groove with the characters in this story.
The story revolves around Author Wallace the field lead for England's MI37 program, which is the team that investigates otherworldly weirdness. The whole team is awesome, funny, and powerful. In this novel they go up against giant Steampunkish robots built to destroy Russia, by Nazis. Yeah, it is as cool as it sounds. The intelligent constructs have started to break down and this caused them to divide themselves into two groups, the worse of which has gone back to their creator's beliefs, while the more logical side is seeking help from MI37.
Early on in the story, Wallace is almost killed, his girlfriend wants him to move in, and they get a new agent who seems to hate everything about him. This leads to him second guessing himself in the middle of a building crisis that could destroy the whole planet. (Thus the 'Broken' Hero aspect of the book). I enjoyed him trying to overcome his hardship, which grew numerous both inside and outside of his head.
This is an exciting book, you feel like you are reading the climax of the novel about twenty times, but it keeps building and building. I liked the English aspects of it. Their slang and sometimes proper speech just made it funnier. I also, okay maybe this is just me, but I liked that the author, and Titan for that matter, wasn't afraid to put some serious cursing into the novel. We do not need swear circuses in books, but if a robot is about to crush my girlfriend, yeah, I might yell shit rather loudly.
Potential downsides are not easily noted. Although Wallace is terrified and the fight scenes make sense, sometimes it seems unlikely that anyone could survive what they face. The book is a little on the long side. That did not bother me, because it was so good, but it might be hard to finish on a short vacation.
Strong novel that makes me want to read more. Wish I could have started with the first one, but maybe I will try to grab that one next.
The Chronicles of Jack Primus