Monday, February 4, 2013

Review: Hero

By Perry Moore, read by Michael Urie
Published 2011 by Brilliance Audio

Thom gets that his father is suffering. That's part of the reason why he doesn't confide in him about his special powers. Or that he's joining the League, an organization of superheroes that shunned his father. The worst secret of all is that Thom is gay, and he doesn't know how to figure out who he truly wants to be.

This book came highly recommended from a few friends. I don't really read a lot of superhero-type books but I'm willing to try pretty much anything. I was interested to see how the intersection of two secret identities would play out in the novel and which would be the more difficult for Thom to come out about/come to terms with. Unsurprisingly, Thom struggles about equally with both aspects of his emerging identity and the two pieces seem to interact in unexpected ways.I liked the slow reveal of Thom's history - we know something big happened to his father but not what. As the pieces are revealed, Thom's struggles make even more and more sense. I loved Thom's ragtag band of up-and-coming superheroes. Though it's cliche for us to be presented with a band of underdogs to root for, there's a reason it's a cliche - it's genuinely a great feeling to get behind the underdogs. I love that they had some real but also some ridiculous powers and I liked that Thom worried he wouldn't be much good in a fight because his ability is healing instead of something defensive. Despite this being a book about superheroes, Thom's feelings of being overwhelmed by his struggles are incredibly realistic. I felt like the divide between Thom and his father was also realistic and very well-done. I did think that the truths of Uberman and the Dark Hero were a bit obvious, but with so much else going on in the story, I suppose it didn't seem that poorly executed. My main issue comes from the format. While I had no problem with Urie as a reader, I felt that the book dragged in audio form. Though this is a superhero book, the action is very spread out, so I found a number of sections dragged while listening. It was a disappointing experience. However, as a whole, I thought the book dealt with the twin secret identities very well and is an impressive addition to superhero books.

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