- Series: H.E.R.O. (Book 13)
- Paperback: 262 pages
- Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (August 3, 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1491281804
- ISBN-13: 978-1491281802
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 14.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 9 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #10,629,365 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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H.E.R.O. - Dark Breach Paperback – August 3, 2013
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Carey is now a fire elemental, but continues to hate supers (especially Stephanie) and wants them all wiped out. She hooks up with a “wizard” named Blake who can steal energy from supers leaving them powerless. He was a bit too much like Neon for my tastes especially since there is every indication that the powers drained from the heroes will return. I could have done without Blake entirely, and wish that the focus had remained on Carey as the main villain.
First there is the ongoing perspective change with every chapter. It's interesting at first, but Kevin has an incredibly hard time holding the continuity. On occasion he'd show an event from one person's view, then go away from that part of the story for 2-3 chapters, during which another character would get involved, but then use that new character to go back to the events from 3 chapters before and effectively review them. There is little warning about the time jumps, and no obvious markers. A reader has to be used to this style to catch them.
Second, the jumping perspective change has resulted in all character development being lost and with many characters having wildly erratic personality swings. It seems like a character will have one personality when they are the focal character, but another when they are merely a player and a different character's monologue is carrying the action. Psystar and Diva are the most obvious, but I noticed something similar with Black Tiger, Sparks and Carey. They appear to lack a lot of the stability of character necessary to make reading about them interesting.
****Warning spoilers appear after this point***
And then there are the powers. This story appears to have 2 main plot threads.
Number one is the side effect of the events from Malice. The final explosion at the warehouse did release the virus that Carey and her employers were working on, but instead of turning powers off, the effects are some momentary coughing and then an increase in power and mutations while the phenomenal healing that has been around since the beginning is finally toned down slightly. It's a nice idea, but doesn't really work. Most of the superpowered characters in this story were already far too powerful, and the increase only reduces the fun while making the fights almost painful to read.
Number two is the villains in this story. Carey isn't too bad, and could have been developed nicely if she'd been allowed to remain a lone and frustrated voice against the supposed "special treatment" superheroes get. Unfortunately, the main villain in this piece is Blake, a new supervillain with an extremely limited intelligence, absolutel amorality and no ability to understand anything in the world around him. this guy seemed to have spent the last 8-10 years living under a rock. He believes in magic and when his powers do develop casts "spells" rather than being like any other blaster, but that's not enough. First his power is limited unless he drains other developed of their abilities and then unlike every other "blaster" developed he can use any element and even some new ones. He's a typical overpowered Kevin Rau character. There is no nuance or subtlety in this character. He's a giant elemental wrecking ball who attacks the heroes without any real thought. After seeing this with the Kurcet, and then Dolldrum and then the corporation in Malice it was painful to read another story with a villain who was far too powerful to be interesting.
And that's probably my biggest complaint. The funny thing is that some of the top Marvel and DC villains haven't exactly been super powered themselves. Lex Luthor originally was only very smart and very wealthy, not exactly a direct threat to Superman. The Joker also isn't exactly a powerhouse, but his ability to scheme and plot has made him one of the greatest opponents Batman has ever faced. Even in Marvel comics you see Baron Doom who while he does have some special powers, is mostly aided by the resources of the country he rules and an amazing scientific mind. Pure power is fun once, but it eventually gets very boring. Kevin has clearly fallen into the trap that each villain has to be bigger, badder, stronger, and the story has suffered greatly from this.
I will probably try reading the next book in this series, but unless the story takes a turn back towards the fun which characterized the first 5-6 stories I will cease reading these. The recent stories are all very much one and the same and lack any of the fun elements that keeps me interested.