Book Review: When Heroes Rise




Experience tales of sacrifice, bravery, and honor throughout the ages of the mystical world of Thelos. From primitive elven clans to savage wasteland wanderers, When Heroes Rise will take you on new adventures across a world unlike any you’ve seen before. You’ll explore this world through the eyes of those who struggle every day to survive it, and protect those they love. Heroes from all walks of life, and some who are not even people, will show how far one can go for loyalty, love, and honor. Their pain and sacrifice lay the groundwork for future tales yet untold, but coming soon. This collection of shorts features stories from the early life of Snowdove, an elven woman who will face adversity and trauma before leaving her people to find her place in the world. You will witness pure love in the only story set on Earth, as an old man bargains with death for the chance to say goodbye. And five tales of Thelos’ distant future after the world is destroyed by the folly of man, and people must scrape out a life in the Wasteland left behind.

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Trevor Bierschbach creates a solid series of short stories in When Heroes Rise. The overall theme of what it means to be a hero in its various forms runs throughout the entire book, weaving each individual story into the whole. The immersion experience was impacted by some grammatical issues that were distracting. However, Thelos is a well developed world, populated by rich characters.

Each story contains its individual arc with a lesson in what it means to be a hero and each hero has an individual lesson to learn. Stories of endurance in the face of impossible odds and the importance of kindness to one another in order to persevere are evident throughout the book.

Bierschbach writes often poignant vignettes about what it means to be a good person at heart, by choosing to stand by those values most important to us. Even when the main characters are not always strictly human, the humanity they are capable of showing is a lesson they share with us. Bierschbach show us that in the face of that which threatens us or those we love, it is what we choose to do which often defines who we are.

Not all of the stories provide a character arc to match the story arc, and this lack sometimes diminishes the impact of the story. Though I admit that one such short story about a dog and his human(s) brought tears to my eyes before I was finished with it.

I would have enjoyed it more if Bierschbach had taken more time with exploring the impact of decisions made by some of the characters. I feel that their heroism would be better defined by more exploration of an emotional arc. However, I understand that the medium of the short story requires an author to make difficult decisions on what they decide to share.

Bierschbach has the ability to convey meaningful messages through rich environments and colorful characters within a short period of time, an essential skill for short story success. Overall, with a stronger editor and an eye towards more layered characters to match the skill with which he develops plot arcs, Bierschbach shows solid talent and great potential. I look forward to watching him continue to grow as an author over time.

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