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The Zodiac Legacy: Convergence Hardcover – January 27, 2015


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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 4–7—In legendary comic creator Lee's first prose novel, two factions, each comprised of people who harness animal power from the Chinese zodiac, fight to control the fate of the world. While visiting a museum in China, Steven Lee's life changes forever when he follows his mysterious tour guide's screams for help, leading him to a secret room where Maxwell, a power hungry war contractor, accidentally releases an ancient power into the world. Now equipped with the aggressive fighting prowess of the Tiger, Steven teams up with Jasmine, a fake tour guide who has been fighting Maxwell's group for years, to travel the world and find the other hosts. Along with a feisty singer, a brawler from Ireland, a techie, and an extremely shy girl, Steven must learn to control his powers. The first installment in a planned trilogy, Zodiac has everything readers would expect from Stan Lee: plenty of action, a fast-paced plot, a villain who is driven more by misguided ideals than pure evil, and a group of young, ordinary people trying to make sense of their newfound powers. Illustrations by Tong, known for his work on superhero comics in the UK, add to the book's appeal. A cliff-hanger ending leaves readers wanting more. Give this to superhero enthusiasts and fans of adventure stories; it will fly off the shelves.—Marissa Lieberman, East Orange Public Library, NJ

Review

In this series opener that marks Marvel comics legend Lee's debut for kids, 12 people-some heroes, some villains-receive superpowers based on the signs of the Chinese zodiac. The heroes, of course, are the youngest characters in the book. The descriptive prose is as spare and unambiguous as an old-fashioned interactive computer game-think "Zork," from the 1970s. "[The stairway] was made of wood, with a creaky old railing beside it. The walls were worn metal, stained and weathered by time." But the book contains enough fight scenes for several issues of a Marvel comic, and they're joyously inventive. People reveal their characters by the way they fight. A tiny girl with the ability to teleport wins fights by running away, over and over again, until the other person is exhausted; she's the Rabbit. These confrontations aren't described with the clarity Lee and Moore use to talk about the settings. Readers may have to look at a few passages twice to figure out just who hit whom. Fortunately, Tong loves drawing battle scenes. Pages and pages are crammed with energetic black-and-white drawings of people bounding around the room. But the characters are so engaging that the scenes where they're joking around and telling ridiculous stories are more entertaining than the battle sequences. The prose may be too bare-bones for some readers, but the surprises are genuine, and the cliffhangers will bring people back for the next adventure. (Adventure. 8-12)—Kirkus

Lee, the famed co-creator of such Marvel superheroes as Spider-Man and the X-Men, presents his first novel. Kicking off the Zodiac Legacy series, this action-driven outing is very much what his fans might expect. Chinese-American 14-year-old Steven Lee, on an educational tour of Hong Kong, stumbles on a secret plot to control the super powers of the Chinese Zodiac, perpetrated by Maxwell, a mercenary general seeking world domination. Steven accidentally gains the power of the Tiger and is immediately drawn into an emerging group of zodiac-powered young heroes dedicated to stopping Maxwell and his band of similarly zodiac-enhanced thugs. As the two sides race around the globe to corral the remaining powers and their wielders, Lee and Moore deliver desperate chases, bombastic banter, and increasing spectacular confrontations, albeit with a tendency toward over- description ("Maxwell reached out and backhanded her across the face. His hand swept through the air, leaving a trail of Dragon fire in its wake"). This frenetic light adventure should please readers who already love the Marvel universe and nurse their own dreams of superpowered glory. Final art not seen by PW. Ages 8 12.—PW

Fourteen-year-old Steven Lee considers himself an average Asian American teen, so when he stumbles upon a mystical ceremony deep in the bowels of a Hong Kong museum, he has no idea how to handle the apparent superpowers on display. And once drawn into the ceremony, Steven surprisingly discovers ancient powers-those of the tiger in the Chinese zodiac-rising in himself. Fleeing the evil Dragon Maxwell, Steven aligns himself with Jasmine and Carlos to seek out others being captured by released zodiac superpowers. He persuades them to Jasmine's side even as he questions her ability to lead. This is legendary Stan Lee's first novel (the initial title in a proposed trilogy for middle-schoolers), and he has created an intriguing new set of superhuman-both good and evil-who are empowered by the creatures in the Chinese zodiac. What the story lacks in character development will likely not be missed by readers, who are pulled along with Steven from one confrontation to the next. Enhances by Tong's punchy illustrations, this novel will be in high demand from graphic-novel readers and movie fans alike. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: What's hotter right now than comic book superheroes? The myth of Lee, a Marvel Comics icon, speaks for itself, and the promotional engine for this is already at light speed. Melissa Moore—Booklist

3Q 5P M After the death of his beloved grandfather, teenager Steven Lee is sent to Hong Kong by his parents who want him to become more knowledgeable about his Chinese-American heritage. Here, during an unexceptional class field trip to the New China Heritage Museum, something extraordinary happens when he breaks away from the group to investigate an unusual sound. There, in the museum's sub-basement, he witnesses the frightening transformative power created by the combination of ancient artifacts and modern technology. This discovery initiates Steven's inclusion in an international group of young people who have been recruited to stop the power-hungry Maxwell and his manic mercenaries from accomplishing world domination. Using the fascinating mythology of the Chinese zodiac as the plot device that drives the story, the authors have created a world in which the powers of twelve unique animals can be transferred to a select group of people. The characters that are destined to use the powers are extremely stereotypical; however, instead of being offensive and off-putting, this heavy-handed typecasting comes across as familiar and comical. This is understandable, as the text reads like a verbal description of a detailed visual. Basically, the narrative is a running description of the characters, setting, and action that would be found in each illustrated panel of a comic book. Action-packed and heavily illustrated, this first book in a projected series should appeal to middle school students who are fans of Stan Lee, anime, graphic novels, superheroes, and the works of Rick Riordan.-Lynne Farrell Stover.—VOYA

When fourteen-year-old American Steven Lee wanders away on a class trip through a Hong Kong museum, he uncovers a secret chamber where scientists are embed- ding the mystical powers of the Chinese Zodiac into maniacal military contractor Maxwell. Steven's unexpected arrival derails the procedure, though, and when two other intruders start a skirmish, the power of the Tiger finds its way into Steven instead. At the same time, other mystical animal energies manage to escape, and Steven is drawn into a battle to stop Maxwell from recapturing them. Now Steven and his two new compatriots are off on a worldwide adventure to discover other young people turned superhero by the Zodiac energy, to convince them to join the fight against Maxwell and his team of warriors, and to save the world. Jam-packed with action scenes and characters with imaginatively conceived powers, this addition to a growing genre of superhero novels will garner a new generation of fans for the venerable Stan Lee. The first in a planned series, the story unfolds along conventional lines-teams gathered, powers explained, battle lines drawn-but offers additional complexity as characters choose which side to join. Steven is the only real kid in the fairly large and diverse cast, and the story isn't always his; the narrative always comes back around to him, though and readers will likely appreciate seeing a teen holding his own against and alongside adults. He's also an engaging hero to root for, equal parts confused adolescent and born leader. Ultimately fun, and at times funny, this is a strong superhero-team story for readers not ready for the bleaker realities of Sanderson's Steelheart (BCCB 1/14) but who want something more complex than Disney's Big Hero 6. Final art not seen. AM—BCCB

Gr 4-7 In legendary comic creator Lee's first prose novel, two factions, each comprised of people who harness animal power from the Chinese zodiac, fight to control the fate of the world. While visiting a museum in China, Steven Lee's life changes forever when he follows his mysterious tour guide's screams for help, leading him to a secret room where Maxwell, a power hungry war contractor, accidentally releases an ancient zodiac power into the world. Now equipped with the aggressive fighting prowess of the Tiger, Steven teams up with Jasmine, the fake tour guide who has been fighting Maxwell's group for years, to travel the world and find the other hosts. Along with a feisty singer, a brawler from Ireland, a techie, and an extremely shy girl, Steven must learn to control his powers in order to defeat Maxwell. The first installment in a planned trilogy, Zodiac has everything readers would expect from Stan Lee: plenty of action, a fast-paced plot, a villain who is driven more by misguided ideals than pure evil, and a group of young, ordinary people trying to make sense of their newfound powers. Illustrations by Tong, known for his work on superhero comics in the UK, add to the book's appeal. A cliff-hanger ending leaves readers wanting more. Give this to superhero enthusiasts and fans of adventure stories; it will fly off the shelves. Marissa Lieberman, East Orange Public Library, NJ—SLJ
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Series: Zodiac
  • Hardcover: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Disney Press (January 27, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1423180852
  • ISBN-13: 978-1423180852
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 1.5 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #16,947 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Trishap on February 4, 2015
Format: Hardcover
Zodiac by the renown Stan Lee, along with Stuart Moore, and illustrated by Andie Tong, is a really good book! This book packs action from the start to the very end and there it promises more as the series is advertised as a trilogy, and thank goodness, because you will be yelling for more, just as I am. I can't wait to find out what happens to Steven, Jasmine, Carlos, Roxanne, Liam, Duane, and Kim, not to mention Maxwell and his goons. But I am ahead of myself, let me start a bit earlier in the story.

Steven is just a ordinary kid on a once in lifetime school trip in Hong Kong, when in a strange Chinese heritage museum he slips away from his group, following the strange guide down into the basement (of sorts). While down there Steven and the strange guide (Jasmine) are hit and infused with the power of their Zodiac signs while trying to stop Maxwell from hatching his evil plan, and unfortunately also releasing four rogue Zodiac powers into the wild. Now Steven, Jasmine, and Jasmine's friends must join to track down the people infused by the rogue Zodiac powers before Maxwell as his group of paramilitary goons get to them first.

The characters in this book (even with their Zodiac powers) are still believable, they still have the same fears, insecurities, and joys as the rest of us. It is refreshing to see that it didn't get lost, and that maybe things like this can happen to plain everyday people like you and me. It is also nice to see how four kids from very different walks of life and are very different from each other can come together and learn to work as a team.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Jon (Scott Reads It!) on January 27, 2015
Format: Hardcover
When a book has Stan Lee’s name on it, you expect great things from the man who helped turn Marvel into an international sensation. The Convergence is the first in a planned series that tackles a team of young superheroes who each have a special power based on their zodiac sign. So much of this novel is a setup for our story and establishes what the Zodiac is and so, not enough time is devoted to developing our characters. The heroes and villains are almost cartoonish in nature and are mere husks, devoid of much personality.

Steven Lee is a Chinese-American teenager who struggles to balance his heritage and American culture. He’s never really felt like he’s been apart of anything and has felt like an outsider his whole life. When he finds out that he is a Tiger and is asked to join the Zodiac, it seems like this is what he’s been waiting for along. To defeat Maxwell, Steven and his team leader Jasmine need to recruit other Zodiac team members from all over the globe.

I applaud Lee and Moore for including very diverse characters from a variety of backgrounds, making this team more relatable. I believe that reader’s will find Steven’s cultural struggle very realistic and will only make him easier to empathize with. Considering that the majority of superheroes out there are white, it’s refreshing to see that Stan Lee is following Marvel’s mission to make superheroes more diverse in The Convergence. Zodiac will definitely appeal to those who loved Ms. Marvel and the female Thor and this novel is the answer to the public’s appeal for a different kind of hero.

Zodiac has a large cast of characters and many of them aren’t given enough page time causing the majority of the characters to be pretty basic.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By zacware on April 25, 2015
Format: Hardcover
Action abounds in this super hero style adventure inspired by the Chinese zodiac. While the beginning is a bit transparent, it is sure to appeal to middle grades readers craving action. From the first few pages all the way through to the end, action takes the center stage. There's a bit of literary merit with foreshadowing and some minor character development, but the star of this novel is the fast-paced adventure. A phenomenal addition is the comic-book style action graphics spread generously throughout. Well-crafted and engaging, I almost think the illustrations were the best part of this book. I think I'd prefer seeing it in a graphic novel format if this illustrator does the work. They were fantastic!

The parents' initial acceptance of Steven's disappearance is a bit too abrupt, as are some other plot actions. This is the main reason why I can't give it higher than a 3-star rating.

This is a good choice for readers making the transition from graphic novel to old-school formats as well as for those readers who are Marvel and related super hero fans.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By SciFiChick VINE VOICE on February 4, 2015
Format: Hardcover
Young Steven Lee is suddenly give the powers of a Tiger from a mystical Zodiac. And he becomes an integral part of a renegade group whose sole purpose is to stop a tyrannical madman from gaining the ultimate power from the entire Zodiac. Lee and his new acquaintances must hunt down the youth who have gained powers of the Zodiac and recruit them, before others can reach them.

Convergence is the first in a new super-powered series from the living legend, Stan Lee. Young comic fans will enjoy this original series pulling from lore with a modern-day twist. The young characters are unique and entertaining. And the villains (at least the henchmen) are given personalities and backstories as well. This exciting series debut is packed with action, mystery, and humor. And it ends with a big showdown that doesn’t disappoint. There’s even a fun twist at the end that will leave readers eager for the next in the series.

*Review previously posted at SciFiChick.com
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