Thursday, 26 June 2014


HERO WORSHIP by Phoenix Emrys

Pages: 224
Date: 26/06/2014
Grade: 3
Details: Received from Dreamspinner Press
            Through Love Romances and More
Own / Kindle

The blurb:

“In 1975 Douglas “King” Fisher is a teenage crusader who, with the help of his three friends, keeps the environs of Warden High bully-free. On the last day of school he is about to leave, thinking his job is done, when he answers one last call for help, never dreaming this particular intervention will make much more of a difference than he can possibly imagine.

Thirty-five years later, King lives a quiet, deeply closeted, completely unremarkable life, far different from the destiny he was bound for on that long ago summer day. An unfortunate accident sidelined his dreams, and he never left town. While he never “made his mark,” he still does whatever he can to make things better for everyone—except himself.

He sees no value in what he is or what he does. He doesn’t think he’s a hero, but he has one: larger than life Rex Rodman, 80s action hero and former idol of millions. His impossible dream. Or is he? With his fifty-seventh birthday swiftly approaching, King is about to learn some amazing lessons about himself from the last teacher he’d ever expect.”


My thoughts:

I’m not looking forward to writing this review. This is another case of a fabulous story-idea let down – in my opinion at least – by the way it has been told.

I loved the idea of the Knights of Right we are introduced to in the prologue. A group of kids protecting everybody in their school from bullies is something I would love to see in real life. But even that early in the story the self-deprecating tone the main character ‘King’ uses to describe himself, his friends and the work they do put me off. I wanted to like him, had a feeling he really was likeable but had to read too far between the lines to get to that part of his personality.  

I hoped the tone of voice was the result of the character being a teenager at the time and that it would become more balanced as the story progressed. Unfortunately the opposite was true. If anything King became more cynical and down on himself as the story continued.

“There was a ‘King’ once. A long time ago. He’s gone. I let him go when I let him down and turned him into me.”

The more King put himself down, the less I liked him. And, while it was funny the first few times, I got a bit tired of reading the following line time and again.

“I could say it all right, but I’d be lying.”

I can’t escape the feeling that the author tried to outsmart herself here. It reads as if she intended for this to be a snarky, somewhat cynical but ultimately funny story. For me the author didn’t succeed in that quest. While there certainly were a few occasions on which I smiled and even laughed out loud I have to admit that overall King came across as a self-pitying and self-indulgent moan.

And that is a shame because this story had so much going for it.

It is great to read a story in which the main characters are in their fifties and no longer quite at their best. It would have been even better if King hadn’t sounded like a sulking teenager rather than a grown-up man.

And I really liked the idea of redefining what exactly constitutes a hero. We may look up to someone for whatever reason; it is quite possible others look up to us for reasons we can’t begin to recognise or understand. And the author did succeed in getting the message that heroes are rarely what we perceive them to be and that we can never know how we affect other people, across very well and eloquently.

“ the life of a real man, where it really counts, slugging it out on a day-to-day basis in the trenches of everyday life, that’s the mark of a real hero.”

So while this may not have been the right read for me, I hope it won’t put anyone off trying ‘Hero Worship’ for themselves. Like I said, it was the tone in which the story was told rather than the story itself that didn’t work for me. If you like your main character cynical and self-deprecating, you are in for a treat.

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