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All Those Explosions Were Someone Else's Fault: A Novel Paperback – November 7, 2017
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About the Author
JAMES ALAN GARDNER has twice won the Aurora Award from the Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Association, as well as the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award for short fiction, and the Asimov’s Reader’s Choice Award. He lives in Ontario. James is the author of Expendable, Commitment Hour, Vigilant, Hunted, Ascending, Trapped, and Radiant.
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I enjoyed the craftsmanship involved in the world building. Not so happy about the price, but the author has earned my trust.
As soon as I heard about this new release from James Alan Gardner, I knew I had to try it - I mean, superheroes and monsters? Yes, please! I have never read a book with a combination quite like this before, but it sounded perfect since I love superhero movies and can't get enough urban fantasy. Luckily, All Those Explosions Were Someone Else's Fault lived up to most of my expectations. I loved watching Kim and her friends figure out their newfound powers and all the bells and whistles. It's so much fun exploring a world in which both superheroes (or should I say Sparks) and monsters exist together. The world-building in this is outstanding and we're thrown right into the mix. The science (80%) and magic (20%) system that controls the world and defines powers and abilities for both Light and Dark creatures. Even though we're dealing with so many sci-fi and fantasy elements mixed together, the story never gets too silly or inconsistent. My favorite part is actually the relatability of Kim, our Spark narrator. Kim is an Asian-Canadian gender-fluid person who is still in the process of self-discovery and reinvention (she mostly uses she/ her pronouns). Her voice is incredibly refreshing and admirable - plus, just the right amount of nerdy. Kim might just be one of my new favorite characters of the year, by the way.
Overall, if you're looking for a sci-fi urban fantasy novel with monsters and superheroes that packs quite a punch and fits in so much in just under four hundred pages. Plus, the formatting is unique and is reminiscent of comic book pages, making you speed through the story that much quicker. If you're a fan of fast-paced adventure, the Marvel Cinematic Universe (this novel is incredibly visual), a strong cast of characters, and can't resist all sorts of urban fantasy worthy creatures, you absolutely need All Those Explosions Were Someone Else's Fault by James Alan Gardner in your life. I will definitely have to check out more of his work in the future.
When four friends get caught up in an explosion at their university lab, they obtain superpowers and quickly get called on to use them to fight Darklings and villains. The four friends take on superhero personas and gradually become accustomed to their new skills, learning to work together as they fight and hunt down the bad guys.
All Those Explosions is aptly named, as the young ladies frequently tend to be around big explosions. Gardner does actually develop the characters a bit, and he does string together a somewhat feasible plot, but mostly the book is about superheroes figuring out how to use their powers, using their powers to fight bad guys, and dealing with the explosive results. True to the comic books that inspired Gardner, he writes about lots of fighting and explosions.
The mix of Light and Dark, and the Sparks' occasional use of magic, sets All Those Explosions apart from other superhero stories, as does telling the story from the perspective of the college girls. It has a definite feminine/YA feel to it. Gardner keeps it light, injecting the story with plenty of humor. It's a fun read, like a comic book without pictures, but not a book that leaves me itching to pick up the sequel.
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the complimentary electronic review copy!