HERO: When the Clone is Better than the Original


HERO by Samantha Young Coverby Samantha Young
Penguin/NAL 3 Feb 2015

Penguin Audio Narrated by Angelica Lee
Duration 12:08
Paperback | ISBN 9780451475602 | 416 Pages

Audiobook Provided by Penguin Random House for review. No Remuneration was exchanged and all opinion presented herein are my own except as noted.


Alexa Holland’s father was her hero—until her shocking discovery that she and her mother weren’t his only family. Ever since, Alexa has worked to turn her life in a different direction and forge her own identity outside of his terrible secrets,. But when she meets a man who’s as damaged by her father’s mistakes as she is, Alexa must help him.

Caine Carraway wants nothing to do with Alexa’s efforts at redemption, but it’s not so easy to push her away. Determined to make her hate him, he brings her to the edge of her patience and waits for her to walk away. But his actions only draw them together and, despite the odds, they begin an intense and explosive affair.

Only Caine knows he can never be the white knight that Alexa has always longed for. And when they’re on the precipice of danger, he finds he’ll do anything to protect either one of them from being hurt again…





Someone has figured out a pattern, a formula, an algorithm, whatever, for creating a popular book based on the smash hit FIFTY SHADES OF GREY.  They figured it out and have gone on to publish clone after clone, after clone. You get it, 50Shades to the nth.
Having said that, there are good clones and bad clones and this is one of the better clones.

There are elements of the FSOG formula which do not appear in this book: She is not an ingenue trying to break into publishing, nor is he into BDSM. He has friends, something it doesn’t seem Christian Grey had, and she is not a virgin.  In Fifty Shades, Anastasia Steel was related to someone well off, and in this so is Alexa. Christian had a horrific early childhood. Caine’s was not horrible early on but after it wasn’t great. And he has his own secrets.

The business aspect is completely unrealistic; you do not just start a bank just out of college or even Wharton; not in this economy or age of banking regulation.  And, you couldn’t raise or invest enough money the way Caine reveals he did.
You. Can. Not.
My sister was the CEO of a bank  and on the Federal Reserve Board and would laugh herself to death if she read that.

But what bugged me the most was the misbegotten concept that by just loving him, he would change, be healed, come to his senses.  Women, I have been married for 32 years and I have never been able to change to least thing in my husband’s person. And, I have seen dozens of my friends try, try and try.
It never ends happily.
This is the same whether the guy is unmarried and unwilling to commit or if he is married and “just waiting for that divorce.”
No one can save someone else save from a bad physical situation or in the sense of providing support to help someone who wants to change do so. But, until a person recognizes that they are in need of change, can change and wants to change, it is not going to happen.

I am not saying a book can’t perpetuate this mythology, this fairy tale; nor even that it should not. I am just tired of seeing it and I hope women aren’t falling for the idea. There’s only one person you can make happy and that is yourself.

Okay, so here’s the rub: this is a better book than FIFTY SHADES. It is better written, has more well developed characters and an actual reason for an antagonistic relationship between the two characters. The sex is hotter and also more realistic, and they don’t use sex as a substitute for communication and problem solving.  Also, the relationship between Alexa and her father, as well as the brief interaction between them is well done and shows where redemption comes from.

She doesn’t fuck him into being a better guy.  And, I think she realizes the futility of changing him. Until she doesn’t.

I am almost ashamed to admit I liked the book, more than I liked FIFTY SHADES, and if I had not reviewed a dozen clones thereof I might not have had the same complaints.

The production of the audiobook itself is okay. I didn’t hear any extraneous noises and, although the accent on Caine’s neighbor, Effie is a bit overdone and off (seriously, why not just use the old chestnuts: pahk, cah, Havahd, yahd), the accent variety and the degree of acting is consistent. The pacing is also consistent and reasonable.

So, if you haven’t read FSOG or any f the dozens of clones that have come down the line. since, you might enjoy this. I have read lots of clones and I still enjoyed HERO.



Samantha Young’s Website: http://authorsamanthayoung.com/
Penguin/NAL Book Page: http://www.penguin.com/book/hero-by-samantha-young/9780451475602

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