Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Review - Hero by Mike Lupica (2/5 stars)

I got an advanced reading copy of this book through Librarything's Early Reviewer program.  It sounded pretty neat, a boy finds out he's a super hero and saves the world.  I love super hero books and was excited to read it.  The reality wasn't as awesome.  This book is part sports commentary and part politics; there is very little wonder and awe in the story.

Billy's dad is some sort of top secret agent for the government and is killed in the line of duty.  Billy believes that his dad's death wasn't an accident (as stated) and is determined to prove this.  During his investigation Billy finds himself developing super powers.  He realizes that his dad was part of a world that has remained a secret to him.  With his dad gone it may be up to Billy to save the world.

I am trying to think if there is anything I liked about his book.  I guess it has super heroes in it; even if they were lame.  Also it was a pretty short book and was over quickly.

As for what I didn't like...well let's start with the basics and work from there.  The dialogue was stilted and fake sounding, not to mention it was written using the vocabulary of a young child.  I understand it was a children's book; but it is pretty dumbed down even for that.  The plot was transparent and painfully simple.  The book wasn't engaging and the characters were paper thin and cliched.

There are a ton of sports references throughout this book, lots of name throwing.  It confused me at first until I found out Lupica used to be a sports commentator and that his previous novels were about sports.  I personally don't really follow many sports and found the constant references irritating.  Also there are a lot of politics in here.   Billy's mom is big into supporting political parties.  I am also not a bit politics fan, so I found the inclusion of all of this to be boring and irritating.  If you like sports and politics this may be the book for you.

Now let's move on to the superhero aspect of the novel.  Billy gains his powers inconsistently and they change with no rhyme or reason...also they really aren't all that super.  He can run faster, jump higher, heal faster...yawn.  There is nothing creative here.  Billy's enemies are just as boring and predictable.  There just isn't anything fantastic here or anything interesting.  Seriously my three year old son comes up with more creative and interesting super hero scenarios than those that are explored in this book.

Overall this book was poorly written, had an over-simplified plot, was boring, and not at all fantastical.  It would be more for fans of sports and simplistic politics.  Honestly I am not sure what group the author is aiming at with this novel.   There isn't enough action and adventure to interest me (an adult female) and I can't imagine any young adult boys finding this much more interesting.  Technically the writing was correct and there weren't a lot of spelling errors or anything so that's why it gets two stars versus one.

This book goes towards the following reading challenge:
- The 100+ Book Reading Challenge

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