The Crashers Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
This is a story about people. Dirty, ugly, arrogant, insufferable, vulnerable, imperfect people, trying to make the most of a situation totally out of their hands and over their heads. This is story of what normal people would do if they were given super powers; what they would REALLY do, and not just how they'd step up and save the day. It is imperfectly perfect. It tackles issues about successful, about privilege, about race, and failed marriages and illness and fear and love and it does it in realistic terms, it looks at people as parts and as machines and as spiritual creatures.
It might remind you of your favorite comic, but the best part is it won't remind everyone of the SAME favorite comic. It will be something a little different to everyone and you'll find your favorites and you'll rush through to make sure they're still alive on the last page and you'll be surprised.
The language isn't full of frills but has a sort of poetic grittiness that is neither too much nor too little. In short, if you love superheroes and you love inclusive works of art, read this book.
It isn't about the graffiti on the wall that says THANK YOU CRASHERS.
Instead, it is about the people who live in a dirty, awful, and hopeful world like the one we live in. It is about those people who find out one day they can do things differently and the *real way* they would make that work for them. The struggle, the community building and both the desperation to be understood that leads them to one another and the real connective tissue that ends up growing there.
If you want a book about punches and saving the world, this isn't for you. If you want a book about people you can see yourself in if you suddenly were able to bend time or something when you woke up tomorrow, then, this is the one for you.
Read it and get back to me. We've got a lot to walk about.
But that's a bit harsh, as I actually came to care for the broken people who strangely found themselves empowered, and had no idea what to do with themselves. This includes the villain of the piece, whose actions we can't possibly condone, but whose tragic life and emotional reaction I could easily understand.
Even the supporting cast was well fleshed-out.
The pacing was uneven, with several action-packed scenes surrendering the following chapters to slower studies; sometimes the latter would bring things close to a halt.
But for all that, I'm still going to pay attention to what this author does next, exactly because of the deft handling of the characters.
BUT! There's some really great character work in here, and a lot of very clever deconstruction of superhero tropes. The people who get powers don't really get anything they want or have any of their problems solved, they've all got baggage and problems and are self-destructive and stupid, but they all grow and change on you in pleasing ways. My biggest criticism is that Carla, who I like a lot, didn't get enough airtime, and I wanted more out of her anxiety and hurt and the pressure from life to be stubborn and independent. It's a great thing to say that your biggest criticism of plotting and scripting is that there wasn't enough of your favorite character.
The diversity in this book, however, is off the hook. Were Cubed a worse writer, it would almost feel Saturday Morning cartoon-esque, with a disabled child and an old man and two gay men and a Lebanese woman and a Korean-American and a latina...but the aforementioned complaint about how front-loaded the backstories are (which I don't like, obviously) does mean that all the characters feel real in ways that are honestly masterful. Yes, Kyle is Korean-American, but it's never really a big deal because his backstory is so much more dense than, say, his on-again-off-again girlfriend who is a Lebanese cop, and her heritage and appearance become a focus given the current police environment. Carla's anxiety and tension makes sense because of her Mexican heritage...again, if it matters it gets brought up in ways that aren't just for its own sake. It's very, very meticulously done.
The main identity of the book -- superhero narrative deconstruction -- is probably the main thing I like about this book. It's got a lot of Season 1 Heroes going on in there, but it has a lot of ideas that are more in line with Ed Brubaker's Captain America run, where it's just some dudes and a cop chasing down domestic terrorists. The result ends up as this really strange fusion of normalcy, where characters are worried about bills and groceries and Carla teaches a child about Star Trek but also Carla can zip Norah to a location at the speed of sound. The one time they "fight crime," it's intentionally treated as the stupid, pointless endeavor it would be in the real world. And, at the end, it concludes like it would -- it's just over, they win and there's no fanfare or celebration. It all creates a tangible 'realness' I really dig. It feels just enough like a story to be good fiction, but not enough that it stops being not just A real world, but OUR real world, where superpowers draw attention and domestic terrorists get blamed on brown people overseas and having to put a man down isn't a light decision nor does it solve anything -- it just brings things to a close.
Having said thus, the conclusion felt a bit too perfect for me. They are going to have further adventures and there's a lot of sequel building that I dig, but there's too much concluding, too many characters have their problems wrapped up in a bow. I want to spend more time with the characters but with how messy and grimy the rest of the book is, it felt very Hollywood to end with them all turning to the thing they were struggling with and all but say, "You know, I learned something today," as though it were six back-to-back South Park endings.
So yeah, it's VERY deserving of the five stars but the caveats of a front-loaded intro and a slightly theme-opposing ending isn't enough to stop me from recommending this. Very worth your time.
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