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Seven Wonders (Angry Robot) Paperback – August 28, 2012
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Attention Science Fiction Fans
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"A cool, clever, wickedly twisty superhero story. You can, and will, provide your own pictures..." - Mike Carey, New York Times bestselling writer of The Unwritten and X-Men
"A blast of pure pleasure. This is Watchmen meets NYPD Blue, while The Incredibles stroll by; fast-moving action infused with Christopher’s infectious love of pulp fiction and the superhero genre."
- Philip Palmer, author of Red Claw, Artemis and Hell Ship
"Superheroes, we’ve always been told, are far above the common man in both powers and nobility, but Adam Christopher unrelentingly tells the story of heroes struggling to guide the world long after they’ve lost their own way. Seven Wonders slams readers in the gut from the very first page and then just keeps on firing cannons, giving readers the same choice as every single citizen of San Ventura… either duck and cover, or ride along with the laser."
- Paul Tobin, author of Prepare to Die!, Spider-Girl and Marvel Adventures: Spider-Man
“Seven Wonders is everything that’s great about superhero novels - a fast pace, a complicated plot, iconic characters, and an unlimited effects budget. Absolutely wonderful.”
- Seanan McGuire, New York Times Bestselling author of Discount Armageddon and Ashes of Honor
About the Author
Adam Christopher was born in Auckland, New Zealand, and grew up watching Pertwee-era Doctor Who and listening to The Beatles, which isn't a bad start for a child of the 80s. In 2006, Adam moved to the sunny North West of England, where he now lives in domestic bliss with his wife and cat in a house next to a canal, although he has yet to take up any fishing-related activities.
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I think the important thing to remember is that Seven Wonders was actually written before Empire State and maybe that has something to do with the perceived drop in quality between books. Empire State was tight and controlled where Seven Wonders, while not meandering around, seemed to take longer to get to the point.
What I liked?
The world where superheroes exist and are always locked in a battle with the super villains. By the time the novel starts, there is only one group of superheroes left, the Seven Wonders, and one super villain, Cowl. There are still other superheroes out in the world but they have for the most part retired as they have defeated their villains.
What I disliked?
The first quarter to a third of a novel jumped around in time between present day and the past and it was difficult to keep track of the timing of the chapters and most of the beginnings of chapters was spent trying to figure out where it all fits in than enjoying what is actually happening.
It felt as though every character was a POV character without actually settling on any character to be a consistent POV. It isn't a massive epic novel and yet it felt as though everyone was chipping into the story and you never spent long enough with anyone to get to know them or like them before the chapter ended and your flipped into someone else's head.
The ultimate villain in the novel isn't even presented until about two thirds of the novel and then suddenly you're supposed to care about the struggle against them. The conflict stated off on a very small scale on being in San Ventura and then suddenly the whole world was involved and everyone had to pitch in. Like I said the ultimate villain was only introduced at about 67% and the whole novel was set up to be an intimate struggle before that was almost pushed to one side and an even bigger conflict was brought in.
Will I read Adam Christopher's future novels?
Absolutely. I'm looking forward to The Age Atomic next year.
If you are a fan of super hero tales set in the "real world", give the Wild Cards, Wearing the Cape and Velveteen series a try.
But then points of view will shift. Again and again. And time too. Keeping track is not so bad, heck, I loved Malazan! But each point of view adds enough to a character to make them flawed, while showing another character as horrible/boring, and maybe hint at some deep character story that will never be revealed. In the end, not a single person is easy to relate to, or really even interesting. After a while I gave up knowing whose eyes I was supposed to be seeing through and just tried to pick up what was going on.
That's a bit of a waste as well. There are really three or four stories here, each condensed too much, but yet interesting. I would love to know more about some of the goings on, the history, interactions. Sadly almost everything goes out with a whimper or a mostly-described fight, then proceeds to the next story. Eventually it's old school comicbook madness, even referring to an 'infinite crisis'. Maybe there's satire here?
At the end it is revealed that this began as a project of vignettes. From that angle, these are great. Connecting them end to end has taken away from what could be interesting characters/stories in their own right. The editor should have helped make this a cohesive novel, or just stuck with vignettes or short stories.
All that said, I read this in one sitting, so it at least keeps the attention!