Podcast Review #119: Heku

Title: Heku
Author: T.M. Nielsen
Genre: vampire love story
Released: 28 July 2011
Located: Podiobooks, iTunes
Formats Available: podcast and free ebook available through all the regular channels
Rating: R for violence and adult content

Occasionally, I get a query on my Twitter stream from a friend asking if I’ve listened to a particular story they’re trying to decide whether to listen to or not. This is exactly the case with Heku. I was asked about it by Micahel Simpkins. I thought I would do him a favor and give it a listen.

So, on to the review.

Synopsis: Chevalier has never been told no. For thousands of years he’s sat on the Equites Council, ruling body of his heku faction, and for thousands of years his every order has been followed immediately and without question, until now.

One of the most important rules of the heku, is that no one is to feed from unwilling donors. Following a tip that a young mortal woman is being brutally attacked by his own kind, he seeks her out and immediately begins to experience unnatural feelings for the woman.

Emily, a beautiful rancher from Montana, has spent her entire life being violently attacked by beings she assumed were vampires. It isn’t until she meets Chevalier that she learns of her startling family history, a history that immediately throws her into the volatile world of the heku.

In a bid to protect her, Chevalier moves Emily into his isolated coven, which marks her as a prime target for the Valle and the Encala, enemy factions of the heku. Emily fights to fit into the militaristic world of the heku as her head-strong personality and independent ways turn their perfectly balanced world on end. She immediately befriends Kyle, a heku from Chevalier’s coven, and together they find Emily a niche among the immortal.

Emily’s violent past interferes with Chevalier’s plans, and he must first undo what her abusive ex-husband did before he can convince her how much he cares about her, and how much she’s worth to his faction. Chevalier’s growing feelings for Emily are unnatural to his kind, and must be hidden from the rest of the Equites Faction if he’s to remain a formidable part of their Council.

His jealous tendencies rage as Emily gets closer to Kyle, and both heku struggle to make her realize how important she is to the faction and how endangered she now is. (Stolen from Podiobooks.com)

Production: The production of Heku is nothing special, but it isn’t terrible either. It is simply the story, without any layering or added effects. On the positive side, there are no environmental noises or repeated lines. Nothing to get in the way of, or add to the story. Each episode opens and closes with a sampling of a song that the author credits in each ep.

Grade: B/B-

Cast: Heku is a self read by the author. The author does an adequate job of voicing her characters. I have no idea of the age of the Ms. Nielsen, though she sounds relatively young. This is to her advantage as her heroine is in her early 20’s and all the rest of the characters are ageless.

Grade: B

Story: Emily is a young woman who has many wonderful qualities. She is breathtakingly beautiful with red hair and green eyes. She is slender and athletic and an accomplished equestrian and animal lover. She is also vampire bait. Her blood draws vampires. The sweetness of it is intoxicating. She believes this is normal and everyone experiences much the same. She believes her abusive husband can turn them to ash, when in reality she does this herself. Yes. She is indeed special.

Grade: F or a charitable D-

Verdict: If you’re a fan of Twilight (yes, Mae.. you ,^) ) you might as well download this now. Ms. Nielsen either met that perfect storm of ideas with Ms. Meyer in isolation, or she was greatly inspired by her. Seriously, Twilight fans, download this one now. If you don’t like Heku it will probably be because you feel Ms. Nielsen ripped off your favorite series. However, Twilight fans, you might as well quit reading this review now.

For everyone else, this is the most miserable story I’ve ever heard in podiobook form. The characters are derivative. They are ridiculously and unashamedly hedonistic to the extent that they manipulate and abuse the ones they reportedly love.

There are no werewolves here, but that didn’t stop Ms. Nielsen from throwing in an (entirely unneeded) third person into the romantic tension she tried to create. I say tried, because it didn’t work for me. I truly hated all the characters and found myself yelling at the audio in my ears “DIE YOU IDIOTS DIE”. Yes, to the heroes. Blessedly, the story is relatively short at only 16 episodes. That is 8 hours of my life (at least) that I would have rather spent at the dentist.

Emily is content to be manipulated and believes her abuse to be her fault. Wait. Maybe that isn’t her fault. Maybe her idiot of a husband Keith beat that belief into her. Well then, it would be the duty of the new love interest and boss Heku to help her discover her own worth. Well, he doesn’t. He commits further acts of abuse on her person in several situations where she displeases him. She is weak. She has no value except what he gives her. If Bella made you angry, Emily is going to piss you off.

And yes, I do realize the Heku aren’t truly vampires. They’re just immortals that were once human (well, most anyway), live on human blood, dislike sunlight, and possess super human speed (though they can’t outrun a horse). Obviously, not truly vampires at all. What was I thinking?

Heku is the first of eight (yes, really) books in the Heku series. All of them can be found on Amazon.com. I see the second is also released as a podiobook.

Mike, as penance you should listen to both of them. With your daughter. I expect an in depth character analysis of each.

The rest of you non-Twilight fans, remember to stay away from this one.

If you loved Heku tell me why. Warning though, I will debate this one on anything other than personal preference. And of course, that is primarily why I hated it.

Disclosure: I’ve never had any contact with Ms. Nielsen. Nothing was received in return for this review.

Comment Pages

There are 25 Comments to "Podcast Review #119: Heku"

  • Thanks, Odin. I hadn’t heard of this one, but now I know what to avoid.

    Don’t worry about the haters (if there are any). There is a place for personal preference in every review, and if you judge it only by it’s strengths and flaws, you’ve got nobody to apologize to.

    • odin1eye says:

      Yeah, I am not really to concerned about “haters”. I was as fair as I could be, and made it plain when my personal preference was being stated. Thanks for reading/sharing and commenting!

  • MickB says:

    Sorry, Odin, didn’t read this review. I keep falling asleep half way through the synopsis.

  • Scott Roche says:

    LOL!! Wow, this is awesome. We need more snark from you!!!

  • Wow… Message Received… May be for some, but not for me. Concur and all that. whew….

  • Nomad Scry says:

    Wow. You almost make me want to listen, just because “it can’t really be that bad”. Almost.

  • Thanks for ‘taking one for the team”, Odin; listening to warn those who don’t want to go there.

    I’m still wondering if it might not be worth 8 hours to listen, just to find out what merited such a …. spirited …. review. 😉 *but probably not*

    • odin1eye says:

      you know, like any other podcast I’ve reviewed, this one is strictly a matter of personal preference. She seems to have garnered quite a few positive reviews for the printed works, so maybe I’m a minority. By all means, listen if you’re curious. When you’ve had enough, call me. I’ll be at the dentist.

  • Now tell us what your really think ;p

    Ouch.

    Since I barely made it through Twilight bk one I might just give this a miss..

  • BTW: Go over to iTunes to listen to the audio version of this. It’s even more entertaining than reading it from the blog 😉

  • who cares says:

    i know this is REALLY old review but i just can’t stay quite. you are honesly see twilight in this? ive read first two twilight books after losing a bet with my girlfriend and i dont really see much similiarities. also giving story F is just dumb from u because this is a first book fo series its not supposed to give much story as introduce you to characters and world. i agree most of the things you say but some of your ideas about this book is just unacceptable to me. please when you are reviewing a book which is part of the series consider that it does not end after you reed last page and there is a next book to continue story.

    • odin1eye says:

      Hi Who Cares and thanks for caring enough to comment.

      I am glad you found things in the the story that allowed you to enjoy it and am happy we all don’t feel the same way about all content.

      That being said, I stand by my take on this book for me. I also got stuck reading all volumes of Twilight and still feel this was derivative. Its okay if you don’t agree. We can see things differently.

      I have to say, I do disagree about grading a book on its own even if it is the first book in a series. Each book in a series still needs to stand on its own. I didn’t enjoy all of the Harry Potter novels to the same extent, but if the first one had sucked, I wouldn’t have felt compelled to read the rest.

      For me, Heku was so painful there is no way I would subject myself to remaining in that world for any longer. I realize that, especially for fans of the series, this might be like calling your baby ugly. I don’t mean to upset anyone, but I do maintain that I need to tell the truth about each book I review (even if I’m not reviewing many anymore).

      I don’t agree with most movie reviewers, and I’m sure there are many, many that disagree with my take on things. I am sincerely glad you felt the need to stick up for the book and hope you find many stories out there to bring you joy.

      • who cares says:

        Honestly i did not think you would reply and i’m really grateful for that. yes i agree each book should stand out. i have not read all books of heku series yet i just finished 4th one and to be honest first one really was the worst one so far story wise. but i still lov it the most because it accomplished what first part of series should accomplish for me. it introduced me to a world of Heku. well anyways as i said before i agree most of your ideas i checked your other reviews as well and i really enjoyed them. again thanks for fast reply to this really old post and good luck continue your great work

        • odin1eye says:

          You’re very welcome. Thanks for the kind words. Once again, I’m glad you found value in the story and hope you find many, many more to your liking. I’m currently quite enjoying Glynn Stewart’s starship mage omnibus. Next, I think I’ll try “we are legion, we are bob”. Also, some other Scotland by mick Bordet is highly recommended as well as all things nathan Lowell.

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