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Thread: Superhero Literature

  1. #211
    MCRN Admiral FuzzyBoots's Avatar
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    Re: Superhero Literature

    Going Through the Change

    This is the first of four reviews I'll be posting. The third book in the series, and some short stories, are coming out, and I volunteered to be an Advance Reader, so Curiosity Quills sent me the first two books.

    Menopause and superpowers, seems like a weird combination, no? But in this case, it really does work. Four women using Cindy Liu's alternative medicine remedies develop powers ranging from flight to super-strength and turning into a man to armored skin to the ability to throw flame. The parallels are obvious to menopausal issues such as lightheadedness, hormone changes, eczema, and hot flashes. The characters are well developed with their own little foibles. The action was a little disjointed, with scenes frequently changing characters without notice. I liked that it was nearly halfway through the book before there was some sort of villain, and that the heroes were far from tactically proficient. It makes sense that it would take time to adjust to having powers, and that the primary danger would be domestic.

    I received this book for free from Curiosity Quills in exchange for a fair and unbiased review. Last note, the editing was on point here, much as I have come to expect from their releases.

  2. #212
    MCRN Admiral FuzzyBoots's Avatar
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    Re: Superhero Literature

    Swarm by Scott Westerfield

    One of the things that I liked about the first book was the thematic tie the powers had in connections between people. By their nature, the Zeroes both affected the world and had the world affect them back. For all of their faults, the Zeroes were trying to use their powers to do good things, and at the start of this book, they're trying to continue to do so with their illegal nightclub, The Petri Dish, wherein they can manipulate people, but for a good cause. The problem is, they're not the only people with powers, and not everyone is above the influence.

    Enter Glitch and Coin (names provided for them by Nate / Bellweather, a couple who are using their powers to wreak havoc, in part because they can and in part for the attention. And, in part, because they're trying to hide from something more powerful, the eponymous Swarm, who's hunting Zeroes...

    I liked the book. The Zeroes, for all of their powers, are very vulnerable, and the nature of their powers and how they connect to other people means interpersonal conflict can wreck them. Relationships built up in the first book are strained to the breaking point, and sometimes past it, and not everyone survives. Because frankly, they're kids, and their brilliant plans sometimes amount to naught. The book does jump around a lot, constantly switching perspectives, but the person's POV is stated at the beginning of each chapter, so it's not too difficult to follow.

    One of the other things I really liked about the book is that it handles the trauma of what they've gone through. Kelsey doesn't just brush off being locked in a trunk in the first book. Thibault is deeply wounded by the abandonment of his family, and what he has to do in the climax of the book, leaving him even more alone. Nate is crushed when he encounters a situation his power can't handle. Despite their powers, they're just kids, and they don't just shake it off. I like that.

  3. #213
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    Re: Superhero Literature

    Has anybody here read the 1977 Robert Mayer novel Superfolks? It's one of my favorites. Kurt Busiek acknowledges as it as very influential on his work. Alan Moore, unsurprisingly, denies it influenced his (despite Grant Morrison's claims to the contrary.)

    My other favorites are the Wild Cards line and that pair of Elliot S! Maggin Superman novels someone mentioned upthread.

  4. #214
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    Re: Superhero Literature

    I've read the first two wildcard books and loved them, but the third one didn't grab me as much so when other stuff came up in life I didn't bother going back to it.

  5. #215
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    Re: Superhero Literature

    The fourth book in Jim Bernheimer's Confessions of a D-List Supervillain series, Rise of a D-List Supervillain, is out now.

    https://www.amazon.com/Rise-D-List-S...dp/B0754DJHKK/
    The United Federation of Charles: http://unitedfederationofcharles.blogspot.com/
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  6. #216
    MCRN Admiral FuzzyBoots's Avatar
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    Re: Superhero Literature

    After a few baking months of the author saying the book was completed and the publisher wouldn't answer any of his questions of where the book was, Please Don't Tell My Parents You Believe Her is out. My review:
    A fitting end to the series

    What can I say without spoiling the twists and turns of this book? It's good. Really good. Penny faces not only physical challenges and hazards, but psychological and philosophical ones. She has to literally fight her inner demons and decide who she is. Hero, villain, daughter, friend, girlfriend, icon, force of change... and if she's not careful, winning will lose everything.

    Getting into slight spoilers, in this book, Penny is deprived of powers, family, and friends, forced to rely solely on her wits, a handful of allies, a robotic body of incredibly advanced technology, and an animatronic goat. Twists and turns, and a metric ton of callbacks, results in a satisfying finale to the series.

  7. #217
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    Re: Superhero Literature

    Quote Originally Posted by FuzzyBoots View Post
    After a few baking months of the author saying the book was completed and the publisher wouldn't answer any of his questions of where the book was, Please Don't Tell My Parents You Believe Her is out. My review:
    I hate the fact the confrontation with the parents was handled offscreen.

    I also hate leaving behind the Inscrutable Machine.

    Which is perhaps the best reaction he could have got.
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  8. #218
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    Re: Superhero Literature

    The Tournament of Supervillainy will be out this October.

    I also recommend, if you don't mind typos (so use the audiobook), DOCTOR ANARCHY'S PLANS FOR WORLD DOMINATION by Nelson Chereta.
    The United Federation of Charles: http://unitedfederationofcharles.blogspot.com/
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  9. #219
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    Re: Superhero Literature

    Powerless by Matthew Cody

    The plot is simple. A 12-year-old boy named Daniel moves to the small town of Noble's Green, PA so that his family can be with his grandmother, who's received a cancer diagnosis. Not long after he arrives, he realizes that the children of Noble's Green have something odd going on, and he eventually learns that they all have superpowers, ranging from super senses to intangibility to being able to turn invisibility to flight and super-strength. No adults have powers; at the age of 13, children lose their powers entirely, as well as apparently any memory of having had them (and, because much of the interaction between the children involves their powers, they also suddenly become estranged from their former friends who they barely remember spending time with). Daniel, the first new kid in some time, is envious of their powers, but also finds himself in the right position, as someone without powers, to investigate where the powers came from, and why they go away.

    What could have been a very simplistic book actually gets a fairly nuanced treatment. The kids are just kids, enjoying the use of their powers for the most part, but knowing they have to keep them secret. Not everyone uses their powers properly, including two bullies where it's made abundantly clear that were not some of the more noble-minded kids keeping them in check, they'd be wreaking havoc. The eventual villain has sympathetic motivations even if he is misguided. And the characters have more depth than a handful of personality traits and a power. Logical questions, such as how the kids get away with no one noticing (it turns out they have a guardian of sorts looking after them), or what keeps the kids in check (self-policing and a passed-on tradition of the town's historical hero, Johnny Noble, as the original superhero, combined with the span of only a few years for powers), are addressed.

    Overall, I quite enjoyed this one. It's a YA book, so don't be looking at it for grimdark themes or explicit sex and violence (there's some minor teen romance, and at least one broken arm, but that's the extent of it), but I think any adult who enjoyed reading Harry Potter will like this one.

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