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(See Thomas’ notes on how he grades)
(Preface: Read this book in print) A glorious superhero novel where aliens come to earth and challenge the world’s best to trial by combat. Up until that time the superheroes battling one another had been akin to the choreographed danger of professional wrestling — all flash and no substance. Now superheroes are dying in job lots to these few individual aliens. While the aliens aren’t wreaking havoc on the civilian population, everyone believes it is only a matter of time. The government has lost control.
Jo Tanis, a newly indoctrinated super-heroine, is thrust into a leadership role to save herself and her species. She must embrace the idea of dealing with super villains and avoid the ever present danger of being killed by her own government to deal with the alien threat.
Blaze of Glory is a solid read and worthy of the $15 print price.
It’s a nice new take on super powers and the world that would develop around them. Blaze of Glory provides a fresh voice to this genre which can get stale with the same old shtick. Add to this, Blaze shows a nice selection of different powers, some of which we wouldn’t normally think of as those of superheroes/villains.
Too often female protagonists are either pushed around or are so hard you can’t stand to be around them. I appreciated Jo Tanis (aka Blaze) being not a strong woman nor a weak woman, but a nice mix. She reminds me of Sarah Connors in Terminator – soft and worrying sometimes, hard as nails when she has to be.
At first glance the plot seemed contrived and I worried about it. When more was revealed toward the end of the book, you realize that it is perfectly logical and given that set of circumstances exactly what would have happened. Enough hints were dropped to get a gist of what was happening but this blunt reader missed them. It was a pleasant surprise. Kudos to Sheryl for not wimping out and spoon feeding it to us!
Not So Good
There were a few moments that I couldn’t buy within the story. Jo is trying to stay away from the superhero police (for want of a better word) and so she goes back to her home town and sets up a secret lair in the store where she worked before she became a super-heroine. Not to mention getting back into the lives of her former friends and colleagues. A perfect way to stay hidden, right? Might as well have tacked up a neon sign saying “SUPERHERO LAIR THIS WAY.”
I felt more could have been done with the super who could read the future. While Blaze of Glory did a journeyman job of playing with the predestination angle, I felt that I almost wanted to see that character alone wade through the time paradoxes in her own novel. I know, this was about Jo but I was left wanting more!
The shifts between current time and flashbacks could have been handled smoother. Several times I had to guess what time the writing was in.
I found the wrap-up, while logical, a bit terse. I have this complaint about many superhero novels in that the final fight scene and aftermath is so short it feels like novelus interrruptus.
This review is by Thomas Gondolfi, Author of Toy Wars and the CorpGov Chronicle and numerous pieces of short fiction in the genres of science fiction and cyberpunk. He is also the owner of TANSTAAFL Press (How do you like your SciFi? ). For more bio information go to http://tanstaaflpress.com/authors/biographies/tom-gondolfi/
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