Title: Secondhand Origin Stories
Series: Secondhand Origin Stories, #1
Author: Lee Blauersouth
Publisher: Createspace Independent Publishing Platform
Publishing Date: 2018
Number of Pages: 364
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy, Science FIction
Opal has been planning to go to Chicago and join the Midwest’s superhero team, the Sentinels, since she was a little kid. That dream took on a more urgent tone when her superpowered dad was unjustly arrested for protecting a neighbor from an abusive situation. Now, she wants to be a superhero not only to protect people, but to get a platform to tell the world about the injustices of the Altered Persons Bureau, the government agency for everything relating to superpowers.
But just after Opal’s high school graduation, a supervillain with a jet and unclear motives attacks the downtown home of the Sentinels, and when Opal arrives, she finds a family on the brink of breaking apart. She meets a boy who’s been developing secret (and illegal) brain-altering nanites right under the Sentinel’s noses, another teenage superhero-hopeful who looks suspiciously like a long-dead supervillain, and the completely un-superpowered daughter of the Sentinels’ leader. Can four teens on the fringes of the superhero world handle the corruption, danger, and family secrets they’ve unearthed?**I want to thank Shealea and the author for providing me an eARC in exchange of an honest review. This, by any means, did not affect nor influence my review.**
C/TW: ableism, misgendering
The moment I’ve read Shealea’s tweet about this book, it immediately caught my interest. That is why I immediately grabbed the opportunity to read this one. Unexpectedly, reading this book on the beginning wasn’t quite easy for me. I lost interest just few pages in. And I had to go back from 10% in it to the very beginning and start all over again just to give it another try.
For a book full of superheroes, this is surprisingly an uneventful one. It was all about telling how great the superhero characters were without really showing it. Just tell rather show. I expected some really good superhero action scenes, all I got was that one leading up to the end. The world-building was especially the most disappointing part. It was just lacking. I couldn’t even feel and imagine the world the author was trying to build. The pacing, it was slow but it suddenly became fast at the last quarter of the book. I think the real story begun almost too late. Things spiced up and became really interesting at approximately around 75%. There were also tons of scientific terms especially on the beginning that were too complex to understand. Hence, lot of things didn’t make sense. It almost requires the reader to ask Google lot of times.
On the positive side, this book is original and diverse – from POC characters to gender fluid character, they were all present. I liked the concept very much – it being a story of the children of superheroes and how they became heroes themselves. This is character-driven and I loved all the characters. I loved each of them and their own different stories – especially Yael. I also liked the writing. The emotions were really there. I also loved how family was given an importance as a topic in this book and the lessons learned at the end. And I really appreciate the gender sensitivity this book is trying to teach to its readers by teaching it to its characters themselves. This book uses gender neutral pronounce such as xyr/xe and they/them. It opens discussions regarding gender sensitivity and also the struggles of persons with disabilities. Though, I want to warn persons with disabilities of this book the ableism in it. I don’t think I would be able to recommend this to everyone because of that.
Overall, I still liked it. Though I was disappointed in some aspects, I was not disappointed in it as a whole. In fact, I was unexpectedly satisfied by how it all ended. I just would have loved it more if some aspects were given improvement. Still, I would suggest for you to try it if you are just okay with the things mentioned and want an original superhero story.
After about a decade of drawing comics independently or with small presses, Lee started writing prose out of a combination of peer pressure and spite, then continued out of attachment to their favorite made-up people. They live in Minnesota even though it is clearly not a habitat humans were ever meant to endure, with their lovely wife/editor, the world’s most perfect baby, and books in every room of the house.
If you like categories, they’re an ENFJ Slytherin Leo. If you’re looking for demographics they’re an agender bisexual with a couple of disabilities. If you’re into lists of likes: Lee loves comics, classical art, round animals, tattoos, opera, ogling the shiner sciences, and queer stuff.
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