Hero, by Perry Moore

>> Sunday, November 27, 2011

AUTHOR: Perry Moore

PAGES: 428

SETTING: Alternate version of present-day US
TYPE: Superhero / gay / YA

The last thing in the world Thom Creed wants is to add to his father’s pain, so he keeps secrets. Like that he has special powers. And that he’s been asked to join the League – the very organization of superheroes that spurned his dad. But the most painful secret of all is one Thom can barely face himself: he’s gay.

But becoming a member of the League opens up a new world to Thom. There, he connects with a misfit group of aspiring heroes, including Scarlett, who can control fire but not her anger; Typhoid Larry, who can make anyone sick with his touch; and Ruth, a wise old broad who can see the future. Like Thom, these heroes have things to hide; but they will have to learn to trust one another when they uncover a deadly conspiracy within the League.

To survive, Thom will face challenges he never imagined. To find happiness, he’ll have to come to terms with his father’s past and discover the kind of hero he really wants to be.
Thom's father used to be one of the world's most famous superheroes, until tragedy struck, thousands of people died, and everyone started hating him. Now he wants nothing to do with the superhero scene. Thom, however, has recently discovered he has superpowers himself, and when he's given a chance to try out to join the superheroes, he knows it would really hurt his father if he found out. And that's not Thom's only secret, he's also gay, which in this world is a bad, bad thing.

I liked the idea of this. No, actually, I loved the idea of this. The execution, though, not so much. It felt off, somehow. It's difficult to put my finger on exactly what it was, but there was something about the writing style that kept making my attention wander and which made it difficult for me to get what was going on. Too often I couldn't understand why characters were reacting in a certain way. Someone would get angry and I, for the life of me, couldn't see why. So I'd go back to see if I'd missed something, if another character had said something offensive, and wouldn't find anything.

Still, there were enough things I liked when I wasn't puzzled that I kept turning the pages, mostly enjoying myself. Thom's fellow wannabe superheroes are a truly fascinating bunch, and I really liked the bit of romance that was introduced.

And then, things kind of disintegrated as we approached the conclusion. It became harder and harder to understand what was going on (and seriously, I'm a reasonably intelligent person who can normally cope just fine with complex plots), and some quite jarring violence suddenly appeared on the page. It made the book end on a low note.



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