Firefly: Big Damn Hero – James Lovegrove

Synopsis: The Battle of Serenity Valley was the turning point that led the Independents to their defeat at the hands of the Alliance. Yet the Browncoats had held the valley for weeks against all odds, before being ordered to lay down their arms. Command stated they refused to send in airpower because the ground war was “too hot.” But the soldiers who were there insist that was not true…

While picking up a new cargo on Persephone, Captain Malcolm Reynolds is kidnapped by a bunch of embittered veteran Browncoats who suspect him of sabotaging the Independents during the war. As the rest of the crew struggle to locate him, Mal is placed on trial for his life, fighting compelling evidence that someone did indeed betray them to the Alliance all those years ago. As old comrades and old rivals crawl out of the woodwork, Mal must prove his innocence, but his captors are desperate and destitute, and will settle for nothing less than the culprit’s blood.

“Is it a good life or a bad one? The answer doesn’t matter. It’s the only life we have.”

Oh, my fractured Browncoat heart.

How long have I been saying there should be full-length Firefly books?! SO GORRAMN LONG!!

To say this first tie-in Firefly novel was long-awaited by the fandom would be an incredible understatement. Serenity came out in 2005, people! TWO THOUSAND & FIVE!!!

The fact we finally FINALLY have Firefly novels (the next one is set for a March release) makes me so happy. But also sad. Because Firefly.

Firefly just.. it means everything to me. It didn’t last as long as it should have, but it goes to show what an all-encompassing franchise it is. It lasted one season. ONE!! With a follow-up movie & a bunch of comics. The impact it has had on people.. Browncoats are some of the most die-hard fans. Firefly was never truly over for us.

I’m sure writing a Firefly novel is similar to writing a Star Wars novel. The pressure to respect the source material, to nail the voices of well-established characters, to honor the fans that have waited for this moment. Fucking hell. In fact, it’s probably harder than writing a Star Wars novel because it’s THE FIRST OF IT’S KIND!! Talk about intimidation!

Big Damn Hero takes place in the midst of the original Firefly, during a time when everyone was alive. It could fit as an extended filmed episode, almost like a new adventure in that season two that we weren’t given.

The crew are chasing up a job with the crime lord Badger, one that involves a cargo of explosives that they must deliver. Except Mal being Mal, ends up getting kidnapped while on a side job. Mal’s second in command of the good ship Serenity, Zoë, must decide between going through with the deal or heading on a rescue mission to find her Captain.

We get to see inside Mal’s mysterious past while he is away from the main storyline. I loved these flashbacks to younger Mal! We are given more than just passing glimpses into what formed him as the Captain of today. Fans of the show know there is more to him than what meets the eye & this does an excellent job showing that. What has caused him some of the hurt in his life. Like a past love. OOF.

Lovegrove reproduced the voices of these characters, capturing their essence that we already know & love. There is certainly a sense of familiarity here. All of them getting a moment to shine. However, I did have a few issues with the dialogue. At times it felt a bit choppy & Jayne’s character in particular seemed a little off. That could be just that it’s such a hard character to do justice.. no one could do it in the way that Adam Baldwin does!

There were also a few niggling items of repeating the same moment or action. For instance, within the first 100 pages, I believe I counted three iterations of “the hairs on the back of the neck stood on end.” Otherwise, this was a bloody treat to read! The pacing was perfect for fans of the television series, there was a proper story & ultimately, it was nostalgic as fuck. I dug this a lot!

It will be interesting to see how the other two books get on, once the focus shifts from OMG FINALLY A FIREFLY NOVEL!! I personally loved the Serenity: Leaves on the Wind run of comics, which I feel added much-needed story for our beloved ragtag crew. It wrapped up some questions by giving us a look into the lives of these people we have grown to know so well. How they are managing after the traumatic events in the movie. So I’m not sure if someone will tackle the post-Serenity events in a full-length novel, because Zack Whedon did a helluva job in the comics. There is always potential for an ongoing series, though. Always.

Whatever happens, I am just so fucking happy to be back in the ‘Verse with the crew of Serenity. I will always hold out hope that we will get that reboot we all want & deserve on screen, but for now stories like these will do just fine.



3 thoughts on “Firefly: Big Damn Hero – James Lovegrove

  1. I agree, Holly, I had so much fun with this book! I thought it was well done and my only complaint was that some of the voices just didn’t quite work. I didn’t have an issue with Jayne, but I did with a few of the others. But in the end it didn’t matter that much, I can’t wait for the next book!


    1. Wash also felt a bit off for me, but I think overall Lovegrove did a pretty good job! It would be so tough to try & translate their personalities on screen to a brand new adventure on the page!

      I’m glad you enjoyed it, too! Really interested to see what the next one is like!


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