Saturday, November 23, 2013

Hero Worship by Christopher E. Long

Published: January 8th, 2014
Publisher: Flux
Pages: 240
Copy: Netgalley
Summary: 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

There seems to be a little bit of a trend right now in books with 'superheroes' in them.  Or perhaps not a trend, but I have seen a few - Brandon Sanderson's Steelheart comes to mind.  Hero Worship was an interesting book with a look at the seemier side of having powers.  In fact, people are tested and it is discovered whether those powers are 'clean' or 'dirty'.  In this book though, the terms are somewhat open to interpretation.

The story follows Marvin, a talented if somewhat idealistic teen, who has a serious case of hero worship for one of the more prominent heroes.  Marvin was a nice boy but his situation seemed a little strange.  He lives with two friends, also 'dirties,' in a maze of concrete under a highway, yet they have electricity, TV and running water.  For me this seemed just a little too convenient.

Other than that, I liked the characters.  Marvin's reaction to Roisin offering him a trial for the superheroes set was just exactly what any red-blooded guy would do.  I had fun watching him flounder his way through the very murky waters.  This was definitely a case where the reader sees what's coming way before the main characters do, and it made it fun to read.  I could see clues and kept wishing that Marvin would just open his eyes and see what was really happening. His two friends, Yvonne and Kent are great balancing influences and it's easy to believe the affection they have for each other.  An older steadying influence is provided by Gus, who seems to take them under his wing a little - I liked him a lot.  Reminded me a bit of my grandfather.

Christopher Long has written comic books for DC Comics and Marvel Comics and a host of others and this shows in his writing.  Hero worship was fun to read and I'm sure will be loved by anyone who enjoys that super hero type world full of last minute escapes and over the top action.

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