Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Early Review: Hero Worship by Christopher E. Long

Release Date: January 8, 2014
Publisher: Flux
Source: NetGalley
Author Links: Website | Twitter | Goodreads

Ever since becoming an IWP—Individual with Powers—Marvin Maywood has dreamed of joining the Core, a group of gifted heroes who save lives and stop crimes. But because he's a homeless teenager who is forbidden to use his amazing powers, wanting and achieving that dream are two very separate things.
But when Marvin saves a family from dangerous hoodlums with his incredible strength and speed, his chance to try out for the Core comes at last. The opportunity seems like a dream come true—until he realizes that the idyllic hero life he imagined is just a mask for the corrupt reality. And when a beloved hero is murdered, Marvin is suspected of being the villain behind the crime.

Marvin. What a boring name for a character.
On the up side, Marvin has superpowers! 
Except he can't be a superhero, because he's been labeled as having 'dirty' powers. Only those with 'clean' powers are allowed to use them. And since Marvin is a good boy who believes in following the law, he works as a dishwasher in diner instead of becoming the hero he wants to be. In fact, unlike his roommates (aka two other homeless kids with dirty powers), Marvin idolizes the crime fighting organization called the Core.
Hero Worship? Get it?!
Ahhh...so clever.
Anyway, most of the people who have been classified as 'dirty' don't exactly collect the Core's action figures. Marvin's roommate, Yvonne is a classic example. Her hatred for the Core (especially their leader) is not exactly a secret. But since she makes a living getting junkies high with her power, Marvin doesn't really take her opinion seriously. So Marvin continues to follow the rules, collect Core memorabilia, and dream of one day being a member of the elite team. 

Marvin is such a good guy that when he encounters a family in need of his help, he breaks the law to save them, even though he knows if he is discovered using his powers it will be bad news for him. This brings him to the attention of the youngest member of the Core, who may or may not have Marvin's best interests at heart. She tells him that he has been chosen to try out for the Core, and like any good fanboy Marvin jumps at the chance.
Poor Marvin. You hate to see his idyllic views tainted, but you know it's just a matter of time before everything comes crashing down on him.
And it does. In a big way. Not only does he discover that the Core is shady, but when one of the founding members is murdered Marvin becomes a wanted fugitive. 

I liked the characters, the plotline, and the pace of the book enough to glide through the story with ease. I don't see any other books coming after this one (yet), but the ending leaves it open for more stories about these characters. And as much as my boys like comics, this is definitely a book that I'll be buying as soon as it comes out.

I was expecting this to be more of a middle grade reader (Think: Percy Jackson or Harry Potter), but there's quite a bit of adult content in this which pushes it up to the young adult category. Maybe even mature young adult, since there is a non-descriptive rape scene in it. It's actually quite different considering it was a female using her powers to have sex with an unwilling male. Still rape, baby! I'm wondering (if this turns into a series) if this will be brought up as an issue that the character needs work through.  


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