Brave Men Die Part 1 by Dan Adams is best characterized as a standard but entertaining grimdark. It has lots of combat, buckets of blood and gore with a straight forward story to go with it. While Brave doesn’t revolutionize the fantasy genre, it is definitely a guilty pleasure that will be appreciated by those fantasy fans who like their fantasy equal parts grim and dark.
The story begins with a group of warrior-wizards unleashing hell on the township of Tarkinholm. These three men leave a trail of bodies and destruction as they breach an inner sanctum in the city to retrieve a well guarded prize. One of the victims of this rampage being a Prince of the Empire of Kyzantium, who is killed by the intruders. When the sister of our dearly departed Prince discovers that the murderers of her brother are supposedly from the neighboring land of Murukia, the inevitable spiral toward war begins!
From this blood splattered beginning, Dan Adams fleshes out the story (Part 1 of 3 please remember) by introducing numerous characters from both kingdoms. Some of these people are high born lords, others merely young warriors, but each describes through his own experience the buildup to and the inevitable clash between their two lands. And through the lens of their lives, the author shows how quickly an unease peace can begin to crumble and a war that no one really wants erupt.
Now, as I mentioned earlier, I enjoyed Brave Men Die; it was exactly what I expected it to be: a hard fighting grimdark. And that was enough for me. But I’d feel remise if I didn’t mention that there were not a lot of complex plot lines interwoven into this tale. Sure, our cast of characters have their own issues and problems that are explored in some measure, but none of these things ever really rise beyond the level of merely being mentioned. Rather, Dan Adams spends his time focusing on the fights between warriors, the vistas of war, and the aftermath of people dying before their time.
The other issue I had with the story was that, at times, the language and verbiage of the characters was too modern and contemporary sounding. Not that this was a constant issue, because it was not. Rather, there were instances when a few modern phrases and expressions would spring off the page, disrupting my mind’s attempt to immerse itself in this medieval-like world of steel and magic.
With all that being said, Brave Men Die Part 1 was a book that I enjoyed, do not regret investing my reading time in, and feel okay recommending to other fantasy fans. So take a look at it, you know nothing passes the time like sitting back and enjoying some blood drenched grimdark.
I received this book from HarperCollins via Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. I’d like to thank the publisher for allowing me to receive this review copy and inform everyone that the review you have read is my opinion alone.