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Hero Worship Paperback – January 8, 2014
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From School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—In a future filled with superheroes, there are two classes: the elite members of the Core, whose powers are "clean," and the likes of Marvin and his friends, whose powers are "dirty" and therefore do not warrant official recognition by the Core. Marvin's power feeds on fear; he taps into the emotion of those around him and gains super strength. He's able to save a family being held at knifepoint by a gang of teens, but has to disappear afterward so that he is not recognized. The teen soon meets Eliza, a Core member whose alter ego is a superhero named Roisin. Marvin is starstruck and flattered that the great Roisin takes an interest in him. She even encourages him to try out for Core membership. This is a debut YA novel for Long, who writes for Marvel, DC, and Image comics. The writing is better suited to comics than traditional stories: the characters and situations feel a bit one-dimensional, situations often lack explanation and fleshing out, and the plot lags in a few spots. The main characters are not likable: Marvin is a worrier and Eliza is nasty. In one particularly disturbing scene, Eliza physically forces herself upon Marvin, coercing him into non-consensual sex. The protagonist moves on with little reaction and Eliza's motivation is not explored. Kids who get to the last 50 pages of the book will be rewarded when the pace picks up; Marvin comes into his own, and the plotlines start to make sense and build to a relatively satisfying conclusion.—Amy Cheney, Alameda County Library, San Leandro, CA
For his entire life, 17-year-old Marvin Maywood has idolized the Core, the squad of superheroes that protects his city from crime. Because his own powers are “dirty,” he knows he can never join their ranks; however, after committing a daring rescue, Marvin finds himself chosen as a potential recruit. It doesn’t take long for him to see that the Core is not the upstanding, heroic outfit he had always believed it to be. Faced with truths that put his convictions to the test, Marvin must decide what it really means to be clean or dirty, and what it means to be a hero. Long’s experience writing for Marvel and DC Comics lends this superpowered novel added depth and believability. Loaded with action and moral ambiguity, this is a classic superhero story with noir sensibilities. Sex, alcohol, and corruption feature in the narrative but never gratuitously so. At its heart, this is the story of a teenager trying to navigate relationships and find his place in the world—only supersized. Grades 7-10. --Julia Smith
Top customer reviews
This book was such a delight to read, finishing it in half a day, the world building and characters were very well done and made for a quick and easy read.
Reminiscent to me of the movie 'Sky High' in some ways, the hot girl becomes interested in the potentially powerful teenager whilst pushing aside his friends and never realising that you can't take some things at face value no matter how much you want to.
Marvin and his friends Yvonne and Kent are considered 'dirties', individuals with unclean powers (children are tested when they are younger to discover whether they have dirty or clean powers) and so have to hide their abilities just to get by, Marvin is fascinated by The Core, the organization of Superhero's with 'clean' powers who rid the city of all criminals, and who happen to be Marvin's idol's much to the chagrin of his friends.
One night Marvin saves a family from a bunch of youths trying to rob them, and finds the next day that he's been outed by using his powers, and so The Core contact him to let him try-out for a prestigious position in their group, teaming up with the youngest member ever Eliza (aka: Roisin), Marvin discovers that The Core isn't all they make themselves out to be and are in fact corrupt, but when he is set up for the death of one of their popular and esteemed hero's he finds himself a wanted man unless he can somehow prove his innocence, but with not only the superhero's after him but the general population as well, Marvin will find himself hunted down until the truth comes out.
I can see this book being turned into a series, it really does have the potential there, but in saying that it works really well as a standalone novel as well.
For those of you who like superhero and underdog stories you should definitely pick this one up, a very well written story, that will keep you entertained all the way through.
HERO WORSHIP was an incredibly fast read for me. I didn't expect to finish it in a single day! (It's hard to read a full book on a work day, after all.) I really liked Marvin Maywood, the protagonist. He's the Superman or Captain America type of hero -- the guy who does the right thing because it is the right thing. Unfortunately for Marvin, it's illegal for him to use his powers.
In the world of HERO WORSHIP, people with powers are tested when they manifest. "Clean" powers are a fast track to celebrity and possibly membership in superhero team The Core. "Dirty" powers are illegal, and most pay to have therapy to get rid of them. Marvin and his two best friends are homeless and scraping by as a result, since they refuse to get rid of their powers. Then Marvin saves a family and finds himself being courted by Eliza, a clean superhero.
It's an interesting world starring some characters I love (Marvin and his friends), but I thought the plot was a little weak. Marvin fails to notice obviously bad things staring him in the face. Once he clues in, he still walks into an obviously bad situation. If you can't tell from the previous paragraph, Marvin's world is pretty obviously corrupt. Yet I never quite believed that the cover up works, given how many people have to be involved. And there was an incredibly off-putting scene of sexual violence that hangs there like a bad taste. It doesn't affect the plot and there's no scene of emotional reaction (which I would expect) and . . . the book just goes there and then basically ignores that it happened.
I enjoyed HERO WORSHIP, but I think its appeal is mostly restricted to superhero fans. There are other stories out there that have more cross-genre appeal. The central characters are strong enough that I'm interested in reading whatever Long writes next.
Most recent customer reviews
I was instantly draw into this book.Read more