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The Legion of Nothing 1: Rebirth Kindle Edition
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|Length: 376 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, and instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise. Learn more
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Second time around, several years later, I read the ebook, and again, the story kept me engaged despite the fact that it needs a good editor. There are missing words, added words, missing commas, added commas, and inconsistent or incorrect apostrophes (most notably, the author doesn't seem sure whether to put one in "Heroes' League" or not). Nothing truly egregious, and I only spotted one minor homophone error, but there are quite a few instances of the same issues. He credits two editors, and many online readers who've spotted a great many typos, so I hate to think what it started out looking like. More proof, if proof were needed, that the best predictor of a clean book is a clean manuscript, since even a very good editor will miss things if there are too many errors to begin with.
So, what was this story that kept me so engaged? It's a young superhero's first-person story of the revival of the Heroes' League (yes, the apostrophe should be there), started by his grandfather along with some others, whose grandchildren are now also teenagers and are also ready to join the new League. The narrator is Nick (hero name "the Rocket"), who has inherited his grandfather's powered armour and, apparently, his interest and skill in engineering (though not his grandmother's phasing ability, it appears). It's not clear why, in most cases, the powers and other abilities have skipped a generation (assuming that they have; only one of the fathers is a super, as far as Nick is aware, though I presume there may be others unrevealed). But it leaves the teens with limited guidance and supervision from their elders, and they have to figure out the moral dilemmas of superheroism for themselves.
Nick is often not sure what to do, and ends up doing nothing, which is more realistic, though less exciting than the usual headstrong character one often gets in these stories. There's a good deal of mundanity in his life and his description, alongside the hero issues. I think that, on the whole, this is a feature rather than a bug; it highlights the hero stuff by contrast.
The plot gradually builds, and the action scenes are well distributed and well handled. The characters are mostly distinct and well-drawn (I never could get a handle on Marcus, but he's the one Nick knows least well). Overall, an entertaining story, and if I could get some kind of reassurance that it would go past a good editor I would definitely want to read the next one.
Nevertheless, it is an entertaining read.
We have the storyline as a group of young teenagers whose grandparents were supers from the 50’s and 60’s: The League of Super Heroes. They lived in a fictitious town near Lake Michigan and have to deal with an interesting amount of interference from mature supers coming from all over that area of the country. Of course all the mature heroes are telling them they don’t know what they’re doing and that they should just go away, but they always seem to make progress where the older ones don’t.
Lot’s of villains coming out of the woodwork. It wouldn’t be a story of up–and–coming superheroes without a lot of unrelated villains popping up around every corner. Spiderman would eat his heart out to see this many bad guys in just one story.
This was originally written as a Web–serial, but reformatted for a novel. This makes for a more enjoyable read without dealing with all the unnecessary white space generated by the Web–serial format.
Of course, since this is a tale of teenagers, the main character is a bit of an angsty jerk, but Jim manages to avoid allowing it to beome the key problem. Instead, he sticks with the basic package of corrupt government officials allied with organized crime bosses to spin a implasuible, but fun talk.
The characters are a bit on the thin side. The hero/narrator gets plenty of time to grow and shine, but the others come across a bit like central casting products rather than fully developed characters with personalities and passions. For a first effort, this is not unexpected and overall this is a solid job, but I'm not sure I'd expect future tales to be excellent.