A familiar but entertaining take on the superhero genre.

THE FLYING WOMAN

From the Terrific series , Vol. 1

After a mysterious encounter with a dying woman, an aspiring actress suddenly gains superpowers in Sherrier’s (Earths in Space, 2013, etc.) superhero novel.

Miranda Thomas is a young woman living in Olympus City, with a nascent acting career, overprotective parents, and typical middle-child dynamics with her two sisters. All of this changes, however, when she comes in contact with a mortally wounded woman with electricity-based superpowers who then disappears in front of her; soon, Miranda discovers that she now has powers of flight and super-strength. After a series of heroic actions covered by the media—such as preventing a plane crash (which she accidentally started) and defusing a hostage situation—she assumes the name Ultra Woman and joins two other superheroes, Fantastic Man and Mr. Amazing. Dubbed the Terrific Trio, they start piecing together clues about the origins of their powers, all while facing Olympus City’s first supervillain. Sherrier offers a thrilling origin story in this series starter. In certain aspects, his fast-paced novel feels very much like a comic book, as it embraces some stereotypical aspects of the genre (secret identities, a stark good-versus-evil setup). Nevertheless, the author plays with the form in refreshing ways, as the book pokes fun at superhero clichés in a self-aware fashion. For example, for a good part of the novel, Miranda refuses to wear a cape or tights, insisting on donning “nothing a normal person would refuse to wear in public setting.” Her older sister, Bianca, meanwhile, is depicted as “cringing, questioning, and condemning all at once” Fantastic Man’s over-the-top heroic mannerisms. It’s this deviation from the norm that makes Miranda’s journey shine. At the conclusion, there are still many unanswered questions for subsequent novels to tackle.

A familiar but entertaining take on the superhero genre.

Pub Date: Oct. 10, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-72861-674-2

Page Count: 344

Publisher: Time Tunnel Media

Review Posted Online: Jan. 11, 2019

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TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD

A first novel, this is also a first person account of Scout's (Jean Louise) recall of the years that led to the ending of a mystery, the breaking of her brother Jem's elbow, the death of her father's enemy — and the close of childhood years. A widower, Atticus raises his children with legal dispassion and paternal intelligence, and is ably abetted by Calpurnia, the colored cook, while the Alabama town of Maycomb, in the 1930's, remains aloof to their divergence from its tribal patterns. Scout and Jem, with their summer-time companion, Dill, find their paths free from interference — but not from dangers; their curiosity about the imprisoned Boo, whose miserable past is incorporated in their play, results in a tentative friendliness; their fears of Atticus' lack of distinction is dissipated when he shoots a mad dog; his defense of a Negro accused of raping a white girl, Mayella Ewell, is followed with avid interest and turns the rabble whites against him. Scout is the means of averting an attack on Atticus but when he loses the case it is Boo who saves Jem and Scout by killing Mayella's father when he attempts to murder them. The shadows of a beginning for black-white understanding, the persistent fight that Scout carries on against school, Jem's emergence into adulthood, Calpurnia's quiet power, and all the incidents touching on the children's "growing outward" have an attractive starchiness that keeps this southern picture pert and provocative. There is much advance interest in this book; it has been selected by the Literary Guild and Reader's Digest; it should win many friends.

Pub Date: July 11, 1960

ISBN: 0060935464

Page Count: 323

Publisher: Lippincott

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1960

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The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

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A LITTLE LIFE

Four men who meet as college roommates move to New York and spend the next three decades gaining renown in their professions—as an architect, painter, actor and lawyer—and struggling with demons in their intertwined personal lives.

Yanagihara (The People in the Trees, 2013) takes the still-bold leap of writing about characters who don’t share her background; in addition to being male, JB is African-American, Malcolm has a black father and white mother, Willem is white, and “Jude’s race was undetermined”—deserted at birth, he was raised in a monastery and had an unspeakably traumatic childhood that’s revealed slowly over the course of the book. Two of them are gay, one straight and one bisexual. There isn’t a single significant female character, and for a long novel, there isn’t much plot. There aren’t even many markers of what’s happening in the outside world; Jude moves to a loft in SoHo as a young man, but we don’t see the neighborhood change from gritty artists’ enclave to glitzy tourist destination. What we get instead is an intensely interior look at the friends’ psyches and relationships, and it’s utterly enthralling. The four men think about work and creativity and success and failure; they cook for each other, compete with each other and jostle for each other’s affection. JB bases his entire artistic career on painting portraits of his friends, while Malcolm takes care of them by designing their apartments and houses. When Jude, as an adult, is adopted by his favorite Harvard law professor, his friends join him for Thanksgiving in Cambridge every year. And when Willem becomes a movie star, they all bask in his glow. Eventually, the tone darkens and the story narrows to focus on Jude as the pain of his past cuts deep into his carefully constructed life.  

The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

Pub Date: March 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-53925-8

Page Count: 720

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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