At the gates between worlds... In a war outside of time... He fights for us. Reclusive college student Jonathan Tibbs wakes in a pool of blood, not a scratch on him. His life is about to undergo a massive shift. A violent and merciless otherworldly enemy unleashes slaughter in the streets, calling out in a language only he understands. And it is seeking its challenger. In order to defeat the threat, Jonathan must become a temporal weapon...while remaining completely anonymous. Unfortunately, harnessing off-world powers has its own special challenges... The Never Hero is the first installment in The Chronicles of Jonathan Tibbs - a mind-bending, genre-crossing action-adventure trilogy.
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In a landscape which is dominated by poorly written stories that are slaves to formula, Hodges has managed to bring a new voice and life to the genre. I was impressed, not only with his method of maintaining tension and danger for the protagonist who is quite powerful when need be, but also the journey into the characters that we are presented with. Instead of the usual “aw, gee, cool, I’m awesome now out of nowhere, let’s go be ridiculous,” we get a hero who is reluctant, to put it mildly.
The surrounding cast of characters, normally left one dimensional, are fleshed out quite nicely without the process becoming burdensome. The burdens of ones 20s, at least the perception of burdens, are contrasted with the sudden imposition of true obstacles. The characters manage in different and believable ways.
Further, I was impressed at Hodges’ ability to twist and turn the plot in unexpected, but not inappropriate ways. Everything fit, if that makes sense. It was believable, at least as far as science fiction is concerned.
There were references to geek/movie culture, but the way they were presented was rather ingenious. I won’t say more on the subject, but I was impressed. It defied the normal conventions, just as much of this book did.
I found that the exploration into the protagonist’s backstory, his motivations (and the shifting of same), was quite moving and reflective of many aspects of the human experience. Which, at the end of the day, is a major point of science fiction- it reflects ourselves back through allegory.
Barnett did a great job with the narration.
In the end, this was an unexpected and exceptional treat for a listener who spends a great deal of time searching for new authors and voices in the genre. This is Hodges’ first book and, if he can maintain or grow from this point forward I think we are looking at a tremendous new talent.
Worth a credit and your time- take the chance and discover something wonderful
I took a risk using a hard earned credit on this book... I don't regret it in the least! I love urban fantasy because Jim Butcher got me hooked, but I hate it because there is so much derivative garbage overwhelming the shelves. Finding a book that has substance is often impossible. Too many author's are willing to tweak an existing premise and churn out book after book with the ambition of selling rather than telling a story. This book is the reason I still search under this genre for new reads. The story was original and engrossing. Even though this is only the first book in a series, the author gave the impression he was telling a story, rather than churning out an endless stream of directionless books. I can't wait for the next book.