Author: Belinda Crawford
Narrator: Jean Mahoney
Length: 7 hours 16 minutes
Series: The Hero Rebellion, Book 1
Publisher: Hendrix & Faust Publishers
Released: July 16, 2019
Genre: Young Adult; Science Fiction
Harry Potter meets The Golden Compass in an action-packed sci-fi
about a ballsy teen and a centuries-old plan to change the world.
Centuries ago, humans colonised Jørn, a lonely planet on the far side
of the galaxy. Arriving in five great colony ships, they quickly settled
the surface only to discover, after a few short years, that the planet
was killing them. The culprit, a native spore, carried on
every wind to every corner of the globe.
Genetic engineering, blending DNA from Earth and Jørn species,
saved their crops and livestock, but for humans there was no cure.
Instead they took to the skies, turning their colony ships into
cities that floated above the spore’s reach.
Hero Regan is special, and not in a way she likes. She hears voices,
voices in her head that other people can’t. Surrounded by butlers,
bodyguards and tutors, insulated from the outside world, her only
solace is Fink, a six-hundred-kilogram, genetically engineered
ruc-pard. They share lives, thoughts, triple-chocolate
marshmallow ice-cream and the burning desire for freedom.
Their chance comes when Hero is allowed to attend school in Cumulus City.
Here, along with making unexpected friends, Hero discovers she is an
unwitting part of a master plan set into motion by the first colonists, a plan
she must either help or foil if she’s ever to attain the freedom she craves.
Physics makes Belinda’s brain hurt, while quadratics cause her eyes to cross and any mention of probability equations will have her running for the door. Nonetheless, she loves watching documentaries about the natural world, biology, space, history and technology.
She’s also a sucker for a fast horse, a faster computer and superhero movies. When she’s not doing the horse, computer or superhero thing, Belinda writes science fiction (emphasis on the fiction), where she loves to write about butt-kicking girls who blow stuff up.
The Hero Rebellion was her first sci-fi series, and she’s currently hard at work on next, with occasional detours back to Hero which she shares with her mailing list as free short stories.
You can keep in touch with Belinda, or just pick her brains about sci-fi via her newsletter, Facebook or by sending her an email (she loves email).
Jean is an Australian audio book narrator and published author. She likes nothing better than being secluded in her cabin in the woods, as far from the city as she can get, writing and recording. In her spare time, she loves exploring the Victorian high country on her horse.
Hero is one of those books that I can’t quite make up my mind about. Granted, it has a lot of the elements I want in science fiction—intriguing setting, interesting characters, imaginative extras, a bit of mystery, et al—but, as much as I enjoyed the idea, I never quite connected with Hero or the other human players. On the other hand, I’m madly in love with Fink, a sort of kitty (officially a ruc-pard) who’s a genetic modification and the best friend a girl could have.
One thing I thought was interesting was the treatment of Hero’s particular power as a mental illness, especially when she resists taking her meds. We all know someone or have heard of someone who has to cope with such a condition in real life and Hero’s label prompted me to think of those true sufferers but also those eccentrics/geniuses/savants that people often think are mentally flawed.
As for the narration, Ms. Mahoney is good and she performs in distinctive voices. I did have to rewind more than a time or two because her tone would drop off but that could just as easily have been my own hearing being faulty. Regardless of that and any other story-related quibbles I may have, this is an entertaining read.
Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, July 2019.
I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour
with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by
Belinda Crawford. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.
Belinda Crawford’s 10 favourite books with butt-kicking heroines
Strength comes in all shapes and sizes, and kicking butt doesn’t
always mean throwing a punch. Here are 10 of my favourite
books with girls who kick butt in different ways.
- Dragonsong (Anne McCaffery)
Disfigured girl runs away, befriends mini dragons and attains her
dream against the odds. I like Menolly because she doesn’t give
up on being who she is, even when it seems like
everything she ever wanted is out of reach.
- Queen & Commander (Janine Southard)
Girl cheats on test and sneakily acquires a spaceship to help out
her friends. The title alone is enough to get Queen & Commander
on the list, but the main character, Rihannon, tops it off by being
a crazy smart girl willing to do anything to help her friends.
- Earth Girl (Janet Edwards)
In a future where portals can take you anywhere in the galaxy, Jarra
is stuck on Earth. Earth Girl kinda sticks its tongue out at the classic
sci-fi adventure by not actually going to space, which I really like.
I also really like Jarra, who sets out to completely obliterate the myth
that her inability to leave Earth (because of an immune
deficiency) makes her disabled and stupid.
- Diving into the Wreck (Kristine Kathryn Rusch)
A space archeologist finds an ancient spaceship. I love the creepiness
of this book and the sense of wonder and danger as Boss (the heroine)
explores the ship. It’s just really cool. And Boss rocks.
- Touch of Frost (Jennifer Estep)
I love the Mythos Academy series. Imagine Harry Potter with a dash of
Percy Jackson and add a geeky, not-very-athletic girl with a talking sword
and you get Touch of Frost. It’s a bit like candy for the brain, lots of fun
to read and it keeps you coming back for more. I actually advise getting
the entire series out at once, so you can consume one book after the other.
- Heist Society (Ally Carter)
Oceans Eleven with teens. I mean, I shouldn’t really need to say any more
than that, right? But just in case I do, Kat’s a teenage con artist trying to
go straight, until she gets dragged back in to save her dad from a mobster.
It’s fun, it’s fast-paced, it’s got a cute boy and I wish I were as cool as Kat.
- Akarnae (Lynette Noni)
This is another brain candy series. It’s heaps of fun, and you’ll stay up
a way too late trying to read just. One. More. Chapter. You’ll be happy
you did though. It’s got elves, cute boys (whose butts Alex, the main
character, eventually kicks), magic that’s not really magic,
and magic doors. Lots and lots of magic doors.
- Bloodlines (Rachelle Mead)
Bloodlines is the first in a Vampire Academy spin-off series and OMG,
I love Sydney (the main character). She’s smart, capable and sensible,
which makes her sound really boring but she’s not, mostly because
everyone around her is kinda crazy. What I really love about Sydney
though, is how she responds when what she’s been brought up to
believe is challenged, and how she changes because of that.
- By the Sword (Mercedes Lackey)
There’s a lot of blood, battles and sneaking around behind enemy lines in this
book, and the heroine kicks her fair share of butt, but there’s nothing
special about Kero, at least not a first. What I love about this book is how
hard Kero works at making a life for herself, and how she faces adversity, and
there is lots of adversity. Also, there are magic horses. Magic. Horses. ’Nuff said.
- Alanna: The First Adventure (Tamora Pierce)
No list of butt-kicking girls can be complete without Alanna the Lioness.
If you haven’t read this book yet, you’re missing out. Alanna is a fantasy
novel about a girl who pretends to be a boy so that she can become a
knight (because girls aren’t allowed to be knights). It’s awesome. If you
pick it up and think it’s a little young for you (it is a middle grade book), try
the Beka Cooper series. It’s just as good but aimed at an older readers.
And that’s my list! What would you put on yours?