Books · Reviews · Spoiler-Free

Hero at the Fall: Why Do Trilogies Always Disappoint Me in the End?

Thank you so much to Faber & Faber for kindly providing me with a review copy of Hero at the Fall.

This is a spoiler-free review and all opinions are my own.

hero-at-the-fall

Title: Hero at the Fall (Rebel of the Sands #3)
Author: Alwyn Hamilton
Publisher: Faber & Faber
Publication Date: 15 February 2018
Length: 528 pages

In the final battle for the throne, Amani must fight for everything
she believes in, but with the rebellion in pieces, and the Sultan's
armies advancing across the desert plains, who will lead, who will 
triumph, who will live and who will die?

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I have to say, it took me way too long to finish this book (a year) and that is never a good sign…

previous-installments

I loved the first book in this series – it was action-packed, gripping, and I didn’t want to put it down for anything.

The second book was a bit less engaging for me, but I did like how the story progressed nicely and I liked the character development. I didn’t enjoy it as much as Rebel of the Sands, but sequels rarely top the first book anyway so I wasn’t too concerned.

I was hoping Hero at the Fall would redeem Traitor to the Throne, however, and that did not happen.

sweets-bits

I loved how the mythology became more pronounced and the central focus. At first we didn’t know much about Djinnies and Demdjies; we were slowly introduced to them in the first book and even moreso in the second one. But in this last one, they basically exploded in the reader’s face and it was awesome. I really like how the plot centers around the mythology so much.

I also liked the characters’ relationships, especially Amani and Shazad’s. I always love strong friendships and those two are absolute goals. They just complement each other so well!

The writing style incorporates quite a bit of storytelling, which I like because it reminds me of actual fairy tales. Besides shrouding everything with a magical veil, it also manages to flesh out the characters and their personalities even more, which was great.

bitter-bits

I felt all the character development Amani had suffered in the earlier installments was lost here. Maybe because she was no longer the focus of the story and there was so much going on that that was no longer a priority but I just didn’t feel like she was as bold and confident in this book. She kept doubting herself and making irrational and stupid decisions that slapped her in the face almost immediately after.

One thing I struggled with this book is the same thing I struggled with the first two: the inability to connect with the characters or feel emotionally invested. I never had any trouble with the writing style or how things were presented; however, it all felt like it was happening too far away for me to care. So in the end, despite all the action, all the high stakes, all the drama – I just wasn’t fazed.

As for the main relationship (a.k.a. the romance) I just didn’t find it as great as I did in the first book? Maybe because I’m a fan of tension and slowburn, both of which were gone at this point… Or maybe it had just become a bit too mellow for me? Who knows.

The ending was satisfactory enough. I would say I would have liked it more if the narrative up until that point had been as wonderful as Rebel of the Sands was but, alas, it wasn’t so that ended up reflecting on the overall conclusion.

overall

This book just didn’t do much for me, unfortunately. I enjoyed the mythology, writing style and character dynamics well enough, but I didn’t care much for the lack of character development, inability to feel emotionally invested or connected, and subpar ending.

Also, as a trilogy, it wasn’t very cohesive and each book felt disconnected from the others in some way. I loved Rebel of the Sands but the sequels just didn’t convince me.

This is one of those cases where there is nothing technically wrong with the book – it is sound, well planned out, and checks out all the “good writing 101” boxes. Unfortunately, that structural perfection failed to stir any emotions within me. It was, simply put, an empty work of art.

This isn’t the first time a trilogy that started with a bang ends up going completely downhill in the very last installment for me – in fact, most trilogies (and series) do. I’m even thinking of writing a post about it because it’s honestly getting ridiculous…

It’s so frustrating and honestly makes me wonder: is it me? Or do authors really not know how to write conclusions? I guess I’ll never know.

2-5 donuts


πŸ“– Do trilogies end up disappointing you as well? Is the third book simply cursed?
πŸ“– Have you read this trilogy? And did you feel the same way?
πŸ“– What are some other books similar to this one that you would recommend?
Let me know in the comments below! πŸ™‚

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20 thoughts on “Hero at the Fall: Why Do Trilogies Always Disappoint Me in the End?

  1. ugh sorry you were disappointed!! maybe this is why i’m so into duologies and standalones lately — trilogies ALWAYS DISAPPOINT ME

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  2. That’s too bad that the trilogy didn’t hold together for you, Sophie. So many factors go into planning serials, and I think they do need planning. The stories have to escalate, the stakes need to increase, and of course, the characters have to be exceptional to keep the reader interest for 250-300 pages times 3! Hope the next one is better. πŸ™‚

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    1. I love getting your perspective as a writer! I always learn so much πŸ™‚
      I’m glad that made sense for you – to be honest, the book was structurally very well conceived, action-packed and with great timing, just the right amount of suspense and mystery, and great cliffies. It was just the emotional aspect that failed for me, and that is the most important part in my opinion.
      The characters were fine but again, none of them had any impact whatsoever and whenever one dropped dead I honestly had no reaction to it. And that is absolutely dreadful!
      Thank you so much, Diana ❀

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh I’m sorry this book wasn’t what you’d hoped Sophie. πŸ™‚ I agree with what you said about the first two; I loved Rebel of the Sands and there was something les engaging about Traitor to the Throne for me too, but I ended up loving Hero at the Fall.
    The mythology and story telling aspects in this book were something I loved, and (it’s been a while since I read this so I may be remembering it wrong) I still liked Amani’s character because I felt the indecision and mistakes kind of fit in. She wasn’t a leader but it the role she was put in in this last book. I get what you mean when you say there can be nothing wrong with the book but there’s still that something missing which makes you rate it low. I’ve had more than a few of those myself. Still great review. πŸ™‚ ❀️

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    1. That’s all right, Beth! It happens πŸ™‚
      I’m so glad you did! I honestly tried so hard but couldn’t bring myself to feel invested in any way… Didn’t feel like picking it up at all… Just kept forcing myself to read it and that’s just not something I like to do. Again, I can’t find anything wrong with the book per se, but for some reason it didn’t click with me.
      That makes sense, yeah, but I like when a character suffers a continuous growth and with Amani it felt like she went from 0 to 180 and then back to 90, which didn’t sit well with me. I liked that she wasn’t the main focus of the book or the leader too. Everyone had their roles well defined and fell into them beautifully. It annoys me when the main character is the absolute centre of everything, the narrative loses way too much in the process.
      I’m such an emotional reader that a book may be absolutely perfect, yet do nothing for me, thus earning a low rating (and vice versa). I’m not sure if that’s a good way to rate books but oh well xD I always try to have everything into account, which was why I didn’t give this 1 star to be honest… Because I would have if I’d based it solely on my investment and enjoyment of it!
      Thanks so much, lovely ❀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I mean forcing yourself to finish a book is always a sign it’s not going to end up being a five-star read right?!
        Yeah I get what you mean, in the first two books it was good seeing Amani grow into a strong character within her role but putting her in another role in this third book kind of flipped that on it’s head. I can see why you think her development suffered a little.
        I mean I’ve rated books based on my mood. There have been books which have had nothing in particular wrong with them but because I haven’t been hooked I’ve rated it lower. At the end of the day reviews are our personal opinions so there’s going to be some kind of personal feelings in there too. πŸ™‚
        That’s all right. πŸ™‚ ❀

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  4. Aw, sorry this one didn’t work out!
    The last time i read a completed trilogy was ages ago, but sometimes i have a feeling that the series could have been concluded (successfully) in two books, and dragging it over three is actually counterproductive.

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    1. Yeah, it sucked… But there’s always the next read πŸ™‚
      I think it’s smart to stay away from trilogies – between waiting for each volume to come out and ending up with a terrible conclusion, I don’t know what’s worse xD
      Completely agree. But I feel they are pressured to do so by the publishers more than actually making that decision themselves. It’s practically expected nowadays, especially when it comes to young adult, fantasy, etc.
      And then the amazing books get stuck with a single installment! It’s infuriating >.>

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I love your reviews. You’re not mean-spirited and they give the good with the bad. I just started reading series and trilogies. It must be tough trying to end one book, start the others so readers aren’t completely lost, and provide a satisfying conclusion. Thanks again.

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    1. Oh thank you so much, Denise! That’s really kind πŸ™‚ I’m so happy you enjoy them.
      I try to never bash an author for their content – after all, each reader is very different and it’s impossible to cater to all tastes. Unless it’s an incredibly awful piece of literature, and even then it would be unfair to attack the person behind the work. It’s just entertainment at the end of the day so if one’s not enjoying it, there’s no actual harm done – just close the book and move on πŸ˜‰

      And absolutely! I think it’s probably the hardest part right after the beginning, which I believe is awfully challenging as well. But then again, I feel authors are pressured to write trilogies and duologies when maybe one book would be enough, and thus the content ends up being below average. A very nonsensical trend, if you ask me but oh well…

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    1. Aw that’s all right Kelly ❀ I'm so happy you enjoyed it! Just comes to show how every reader is so different πŸ™‚
      It sucks that trilogies seem to be so much more miss than hit these days! I've encountered some mind-blowing ones but usually they fail to impress me in the end…

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m sorry the finale ended up as a disappointment for you! That really sucks! I loved the first book in this series! I haven’t read rest of the series yet but i’m hoping to finish it this year. I’ll try to lower my expectations when I finally get around to it.

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    1. Yeah it’s really annoying because the first book was so, so great! I’m glad you thought so too, Raven πŸ™‚
      I hope you end up enjoying the rest of the series, and I think I’m in the minority here so definitely continue with it but keep your expectations low just in case.
      Thank you so much for reading ❀️

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  7. I very rarely pick up series for exactly this reason! I find they just don’t hold my attention unless there is the PERFECT balance of plot that is actually plot (not filler to make what was clearly one book three books), character development and a romance that, again, has obstacles that are actually obstacles, rather than events to stretch it out for. As. Long. As. Possible. Because then by the time they actually get together I find I don’t really care any more…

    I think whether endings of epic series like this are inherently disappointing is an interesting question. Like, I LOVED The Raven Cycle, but even the last book of that fell a little flat for me. I think you might have a point there actually… maybe it’s impossible for a writer to meet the expectations that they’ve created. Maybe in the tying up of the thing it is impossible to totally avoid disappointment because ending things conclusively is the opposite of what real life is so it falls kind of flat for us. Hmm.. you got me thinking to say the least!

    If I’m going to be super cynical I think a lot of it is just marketing related. A lot of trilogies should be duologies at most… but then the publishers don’t make all the monies. I think that’s part of what was so great about Six of Crows. She had a story to tell and she got it done without an entire book of filler.

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    1. Ugh I know! I completely agree with you and although I can sympathise with authors and how most of them have a tight schedule plus publishers’ pressure on them to take a certain path, it annoys me way too much not to talk about it.
      I think it is impossible to please every single reader but I in particular have been disappointed by soooo many series I’ve lost count. I honestly don’t know what it is, and whether it’s me or not, but it certainly makes you wonder.
      Oh I have no doubt. At the end of the day it’s all a business and who makes the most profit. I’m sure authors love writing and all that, but very few have a real say on what eventually comes out, unless they’re already super successful and can basically call the shots.
      I haven’t read that one yet but coming from Bardugo, I wouldn’t have expected any less! I’m super nervous to try her new Nikolai book as I’ve heard tons of bloggers saying it wasn’t all that… Which makes me believe this one in particular was created purely to keep milking the Grisha universe and that’s pretty disappointing in itself. But we’ll see, maybe I’ll have to eat my words!

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