Fourteen-year-old Zach Harriman can feel the changes. The sharpening of his senses. The incredible strength. The speed, as though he can textmessage himself across miles. The confidence and the strange need to patrol Central Park at night. His dad had been a hero, a savior to America and a confidante of the president. Then he died, and the changes began in Zach. What Zach never knew was that his father was no ordinary man-he was a superhero, battling the world’s evil. This is a battle that has been waged for generations and that knows no boundaries.
And now it’s Zach’s turn to take on the fight. It’s Zach’s turn to become a hero.
There were several character stereotypes in this book that got on my nerves.
- The grieving teenager, investigating his father’s death, discovers he has superpowers
- The super-smart, super-pretty girlfriend
- The athletic bully
- The protective mom, trying to recover from the death of her husband by diving into work
- The uncle trying to step into the dad’s place
- The wise old-guy mentor
- The random, vague, cliché bad guys without motive or personality
None of those things are bad, they’re just overdone. It felt reminiscent of practically every superhero story ever.
Let’s dive into a few of the different characters and why they didn’t work for me.
Zach was just… ehhh. He didn’t grab me, but I didn’t hate him. He’s a typical kid, thrown into a whole new world after his dad’s death when he realizes he has superpowers and HE IS THE CHOSEN ONE AND HE MUST SAVE THE WORLD FROM THE EVIL NAMELESS BAD GUYS.
Kate is so, so, so, so cliché. She’s pretty. She’s smart. She’s determined. She teases Zach all the time and yet is incredibly supportive all the time. Yes, Kate got on my nerves.
Spence. Why must there be a mean, athletic bully every. single. time. I just don’t get it. This part really felt like Spiderman to me.
Elizabeth (Zach’s mom) is fine. She might be the best character in the book.. She’s a pretty typical mom-trying-to-recover-from-husband’s-death-and-take-care-of-her-kid-etc. She was okay.
Uncle John. This guy got on my nerves and I’m not even sure why. I didn’t completely understand what he had against Zach’s dad and Mr. Herbert, but maybe that’s just me.
And here were are at Mr. Herbert, the stereotypical old-dude mentor. (Noooooooo!!!!) He’s cryptic. He disappears and reappears when Zach isn’t expecting it. He drops little bits of wisdom here and there. He trains Zach. He quotes Spiderman. What’s not to like? Ummm… everything?
Now for my personal favorite. The “bad guys”. *FACEPALM* (I’m about to get spoiler-y here, so be warned.)
They (emphasis on THEY) are the Bads. Therefore they must be evil, even though we never. ever. get an introduction to them. Most of the encounters Zach has with “bad guys” are really just SPOILER tests by Mr. Herbert. END OF SPOILER.
The only actual bad guy Zach meets is the SPOILER assassin at Senator Kerrigan’s speech and he doesn’t even meet him properly, he just shoves him out of the way of the bullet. END OF SPOILER. So far we have nameless, faceless bad guys with NO MOTIVES that we’re supposed to believe are huge threats, or bad guys that SPOILER are really just tests by Mr. Herbert END OF SPOILER. Uhhh… no thanks.
Also, the beginning failed to get my attention. He dove straight into a fight scene without making me care about his characters, and therefore I did not care. Instead, I skimmed. Another no-no – he didn’t open his book with his protagonist. He opened with a character that’s dead the entire novel.
All in all, I didn’t like it. It had a lot of potential that, sadly, it didn’t live up to. It really felt like a first draft of a book that could have been good – but just wasn’t edited properly. One star, for the fact that it was a superhero story which I typically love, and that there was practically no violence or objectionable content.