I received this book for free from Author in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
by Heidi Cullinan
Released: August 19, 2014
Published by Wilde City Press
“Hero is that book that makes you question your inner strength, to know that there is more to you than meets the eye.” ~ Under the Covers
Hal Porter is a 37-year old man trying to find himself and has moved from the mid-west out to California in order to do that. He knows that he is gay, but he hasn’t come out to anyone, especially his very religious mother who keeps asking when he will find a girl to settle down with. While working at his construction site, he suddenly sees a building in a normally empty lot, where one was never before standing. Is he hallucinating? Been working too hard? He is drawn to the place by what appears to be a prince in a window, and a beautiful woman trying to coax him there, but then she and the building are gone. Before long, he realizes that he is not hallucinating, but rather that the building is there, and he decides to take a leap of faith and venture in. What he encounters is more than he ever would have imagined or dreamed.
Once Hal is inside the building – the Oasis – Hero grasps a hold of the reader and doesn’t let go. Hal finds himself in a fantastical world of beings – the laumu – who are shape shifters and live in an alternate world where humans are detested and certainly not welcome. He is drawn immediately to the bartender, Morgan, who also happens to be a prisoner and sex slave of the laumu inhabiting the Oasis. The laumu decide it’s time for Hal to play their game, using Morgan as they deem he should be used and humiliated. The legend has been told that a hero can come and save Morgan from his prison, and while Hal questions that he is that hero, he is so drawn to Morgan that he is certainly willing to try.
It’s been awhile since I’ve read a fantasy, but I enjoy them very much, and Hero was no exception. Cullinan spins a very creative and imaginative tale that pulled me in from the start. I love the unexpected and reading about fantasy elements that are new to me, and the concepts within Hero were just that. Morgan’s history, his origin, the kitsune culture, and who he was was so very interesting. As a reader, you wonder, “how does this work?” but Cullinan writes and weaves a tale so well, that it does.
Of course, Cullinan pens a wonderful love story as well. There is something that clicks between Hal and Morgan from the get-go, and Hal knows that after having met Morgan, he cannot return to his daily life of construction work in the real (read: human) world any longer. Something would always be missing. While I am not usually a fan of insta-love, and I do think that those feelings of love may have come a bit too soon for Hal and Morgan, Cullinan makes it work for these guys and for the story as a whole. They needed that deep connection in order for the story to move forward, and it did. The steamy scenes between these guys were really sexy as well, those in private and the not so private. They definitely had great chemistry together.
Moreover, I know that going into a book by Cullinan, there will be so much more to the story than what is shown on the surface. She always has a deeper meaning, and to me, Hero is that book that makes you question your inner strength, to know that there is more to you than meets the eye. Hal is dubious that he is a hero at all, and Morgan certainly believes that he himself is not one, either. But they both discover something about themselves that defy everyone’s expectations, including their own. Heroes truly do come in all shapes and sizes.
All in all, I enjoyed Hero, but I do wish some things had been flushed out a little bit more: how the enemy discovered that Hal had the sight to see the Oasis; the humming Hal experienced when in the Oasis; how Hal was able to do the things he was even though he was a mere human; more explanation for why Hal and Morgan’s enemy couldn’t be fully defeated but others of his kind could (because I believe that his finally punishment was much too lenient for all the bad he did). I also would have liked to learn more about the kitsune culture. Of course, realizing that adding all that information in could have easily turned this book into a series, I do believe that what was fit into a one book was still great and definitely an enjoyable escape.
*ARC provided by author
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