Monday, April 29, 2013

REVIEW: Heroic by Phil Earle + Giveaway

I really loved Heroic by Phil Earle. Like the author's two previous books, Being Billy and Saving Daisy, I found Heroic to be a hugely emotional experience as I really fell in love with the characters and their relationships with each other.  I love the strong ties of brotherhood throughout the book from men fighting in a war, between friends and the relationship between actual brothers, Sonny and Jammy.

Heroic focuses on these two brothers, Sonny and Jammy during the months that Jamm is serving in Afghanistan.  We get to see both perspectives of Jammy at war, struggling with the heat and missing home.  We witness him trying to keep an eye out for Tommo, his childhood friend who joined up at the same time as him and we see him trying to make a connection with one of locals.  This part of the story was both interesting and sad, seeing how Jammy thought of home but didn't quite know what to say to them either so that they wouldn't worry. His experiences in Afghanistan involved some really difficult stuff but I was super glad that nothing about what Jamm or his family goes through ever felt over-dramatised.

Back at home we have Sonny and his mom waiting it out and what it's like for Sonny and everyone else back at home doing their best not to worry, to remain upbeat when talking to Jammy even if they're worried sick. Wondering if that'll be the last time they speak together. It's heartbreaking, both situations.

Sonny and Jammy are part of this group of boys living on this estate that have each other's back and I loved the banter and the loyalty between them all.  They're definitely no angels, as the book starts off with them all robbing a van of cigarettes and alcohol to sell on for profit, but I just loved the lot of them. Especially Sonny.  He's the younger brother, always sort of in the shadow of responsible and level-headed Jammy. And Sonny isn't much like Jammy. He does dumb things and gets caught out for them all the time, but his heart is in the right place. He tries his best to hold things together while Jammy's away and then also when Jamm does come home and Jamm comes back a very different person.

They are some quite obvious acts of bravery that occur in Heroic involving Jamm in the war and it brought tears to my eyes when we finally do learn of what Jamm goes through just before coming home.  But what I really noticed while reading this book were the other smaller and more mundane acts of courage that take place all the time.  There's the courage of facing the grind day after day, in being the ones left behind or picking up the pieces.  There's heroism in sacrifice and in asking for help, in working hard to make things better for those we love, in dreaming for more in life.

I thought Heroic was a really beautiful book.  I was surprised by how much I felt for both Sonny and Jamm and their family and friends while reading. I knew that it was unlikely that everything could end happily, but I wanted that for all of them.  The last hundred pages or so really had me on edge as everything comes to this dramatic head and things hang in the balance. It is tense stuff and it only works because of how wonderfully these characters are presented and because of how tangible their feelings are and how strong their relationships with each other are.

This is a book that really sucked me in right from the start and put my heart through the wringer.  I really very highly recommend it.

Heroic Giveaway

Now you've read what I think of the book but here's your chance to see what you think for yourself!  As part of the Heroic blog tour, Penguin have kindly offered to giveaway three copies of the book to you my lovely blog readers.

I don't want to make you jump through hoops or anything. You don't have to be a follower of this blog to enter and there's no extra entries for tweeting about it or anything (though both of those things are always appreciated!). I'd just like to hear from you in some meaningful way. Just leave a 'pick me' comment below with some way of getting hold of you (email address or twitter ID) and maybe say something about anything I've written in this post - tell me about a book that make you cry, what does brotherhood mean to you, do you have any thoughts about war or soldiers, tell me what you think it means to be heroic. Anything really.

And if you're not entering the giveaway, I'd like to hear from you anyway?

Don't forget to catch up with the rest of the blog tour posts and stop by Thirst For Fiction tomorrow with the final stop!

To find out more about Heroic or Phil Earle, you can also visit:

Phil Earle 
Phil on Twitter


  1. my twitter account @LisaReadsBooks

  2. Hi Pick me ;-)
    I spent some time in Belgium growing up and its funny the different view of war you get in a country that has managed to take part in most major european conflicts over the past few hundred years...

  3. I haven't read any of Phil Earle's book before, but have seen Saving Daisy in my library. Possibly need to pick it up now! Saw your tweets about this making you cry, so must be good :)

  4. Pick me!!

    Being heroic means to be afraid, but doing what needs to be done despite this.



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