Superhero Syndrome, by Caryn Larrinaga

12_31_17 Superhero Sydnrome


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To summarize this novel in a few words: a romanticized Kick-Ass with an actual superpowered origin story.

Tess finds herself with a new lease on life when her debilitating and mysterious illness is cured. She gets involved with the vigilante subculture of her hometown. Costumed vigilante, at that. Oh—costumed vigilante with superpowers.

This was a novel that captured the origin story formula perfectly. The sequence of events leading to the birth of her superpowers, the reveal of the bad guy—it was all purposefully and meticulously placed. Great pains were taken to remain loyal to the classic way.

It was really the interactions of the characters that gave me the Kickass vibe. There’s definitely other overtones involved, but that’s the one that stands out. As such, character interactions were well-done and their relationships meaningful.

One thing I did have a problem with was how easy things felt for Tess. In a few ways, she felt more like a Mary-Sue. The speed at which she gains control over her powers, the ease at which she accomplishes her goals—nothing really felt like a challenge for her to overcome and so some of the intense scenes felt a little flat.

Regardless, the entire thing is well-written. I wouldn’t mind seeing a proper comic adaptation. It definitely pays tribute to the genre, and does it well.

Buy it here!

Prophet of Marathon, by Bob Waldner 

Whatever you think you might know about how this novel ends, unless you’ve read it, toss it out the window. Right now. It leads the reader in one direction and then veers sharply away from a predictable course. Prophet of Marathon had one of the most satisfying endings.

Most of the appreciation comes from the storytelling. James narrates the series of events in the manner of one who’s managed to distance himself from disappointment in his life. Yet his tone maintains some level of brevity and a subtle irony. While his family pressures him to make a real life for himself, James resists. He has no clue what he wants to do. Then he gets tangled up in a scheme that will set him up for life. As you can imagine, that doesn’t go well.

The author chose to break away from many stereotypes and tropes that follow this genre. It follows a realistic interpretation of what would happen regarding his circumstances, rather than a Hollywood tale. There’s only a handful of characters to keep track of. It keeps things simple, and it allows for James’ development to be streamlined. Which wound up being the main focus of the narrative. Some of the development was reserved for those closest to James, leading to a lot of interesting little life lessons peppered throughout.

James’ voice brought the narrative to life, but it was the series of events and the way they played out that really made the story. There was plenty of foreshadowing leading up. And yet it still remained quite the mystery. No matter how many times James gets knocked down, he gets right back up and powers forward. He maintains an aura of charisma and determination that help facilitate his cause. I liked his interactions with other characters. They were meaningful and served to move the plot forward.

And, man, the twists that punctuate this narrative. The part I find comical was the fact that they’re twists because they go against the grain. When Hollywood would have a pivotal positive moment dropped into the main characters’ lap, Prophet of Marathon did no such thing. All these events led up to the well-constructed ending.

I enjoyed this novel from beginning to end. The author did a great job not only setting the stage, but executing it as well. Pacing, characterization, and writing style all held up fabulously. Step inside, the scheme of the century awaits.

Buy it here!