By Brent Meske
Michael Washington is a normal boy in a normal town until, obviously, things change. At first, he just has trouble making friends. In fact, he is the target of quite a few bullies. The prospect of a newer, odder student in the girl called Charlotte seems promising, but soon even that is eclipsed by the news that most everybody in town has superpowers—all except one: him.
As I’ve said before, a lot of indie writing has certain key flaws. This book is no different. The description scenes are wonderful and sometimes quite witty and entertaining. It seems like the author has a good ear when it comes to this aspect, as seen below.
He felt guilty and awful for the thought, but he couldn’t squash it. Grandpa was coming over more often for dinner now, and had popped in several times for breakfast over the summer.
But for every well-presented paragraph of inner dialog or description, we have equal representation of weak, colorless dialog. Half the time, the characters seem to spit out either cliché hero quips or trite everyday contrivances—whether it be people saying hello and how are you with each other, or asking if they should do something, like below.
“Yeah, that’s another thing. Isn’t is about time we told him the truth? I mean, my God Susanna, considering who I am, and his grandfather…he has a right to know.”
It is hard to dispel the basic inability for the characters to speak meaningfully to each other, especially when it seems like the author can express everything else in a unique way.
Michael is obviously the main character, and as it follows him around, it’s not so bad. I didn’t particularly like him in the beginning but grew to like him and over time to not liking him again by the end. His irrational reasons for doing half the things he does is bothersome, above all.
The other characters aren’t ever developed too much. We have Charlotte—his female interest—who disappears for a large section in the middle and is only hyped up for her love capabilities if not as an outlet to gush over things from the past. His parents are stereotypical and flat, and the bad guy is cookie cutter.
Frankly, I had few I liked.
Here, too, there was a lot not going on. Only after writing about this did I see other people had similar complaints about the story’s beginning—that being: it is too slow. By the time things get going, I already disliked Michael, which isn’t good. Then it improves…for a while.
Once the action does start, it is repeated scene after scene of Michael in the middle of action where he somehow makes it out of and then…everything goes black and he’s in the hospital again. For all his time in the hospital, I would expect people to start suspecting he has some kind of super healing power because it never takes him long to recuperate and get back into a situation that lands him in the hospital again.
Eventually, why this repetition happens is revealed—though lackluster at best—and Michael dons his detective cap—or so the book keeps telling us he does—to find out what is going on. Somehow, he always goes to the right place to find the next info dump we readers need to understand this peculiar town.
Clearly, this bravado builds until he and his girl wonder barrel into fight the bad guy and he somehow defeats him—though even this is undermined by another character.
In the end, I wanted more from this book. The premise is interesting and unusual, but at the heart of it, the story turns out to be nothing more than a normal superhero comic dressed up as something it’s not. Supposedly others have said the second book is better, but having zipped through the first couple of pages, the same voice echoes out to me, and I’m not sure I want to hear anymore from Michael. That being said, there are elements here that show the author has a voice, just we don’t get to hear too much of it in this outing.
Check out the book, here.
Check out his website, here.