League of Superheroes
by Stephen Leon Rice
This month, CFRB presents League of Superheroes by Stephen L. Rice
The League of Superheroes is a group of schoolchildren, four classmate boys and one little sister named Clarice. And before we go any further, I need to take a detour. You see, I never read a book with my own name as a character. However, this came close because I had a math teacher in junior high who called me "Clarice". Don't ask me how he could mispronouce it that way with it printed in his grade book and on top of every piece of homework and test I turned in, but he did. For two whole years. So I probably identified with this character a little more because of that. Back to the story.
Clarice's brother and his three friends are on the geeky side (another reason to identify with them) and they're into superhero comics. When Clarice introduces the guys to Genie, a girl she met in KidChat, none of them is prepared for how much it will change everything. You see, when they introduce Genie to the superhero websites, Genie studies their favorites and then somehow MAKES supersuits which give these young geeks REAL superpowers, just like their idols. Genie doesn't talk like a little girl, and not even an adult should have been able to fulfill such a tall order as to covert kids into real superheroes. And since none of them has ever seen Genie, they are all left wondering who -or what- she really is. When the League tries to uncover Genie's secrets, accidents start to happen and only the power of the supersuits saves their lives.
There's lots of action and a good level of suspense. When we finally get a glimpse of Genie, I couldn't help but think of a certain old Star Trek episode, but to tell you which episode or what character it reminded me of would be spoiling too much. It's a credit to Mr. Rice that he doesn't give away too much until the last possible moment. Another pleasant surprise was the wittiness of the dialog. I can't resist giving an example. This is a conversation between the adult villain and one of the Leaguers in full Supersuit/costume:
“How interminably droll,” my host observed. “Now, why did you come here—really?”
“I thought we might discuss matters like mature, intelligent human beings. Or failing that, we might at least have a standard superhero-to-villain chat, in which you laugh a lot and explain your evil plan to conquer the world, and I provide moral and ethical opposition to your wickedness, tell you that you shall not succeed, and wind up outwitting you and bringing your schemes to naught. Does that work for you?”
I think this book would appeal to YA readers, but it's not as "dumbed-down" as books written for this age often are. Some of the scientific explanations for the supersuit technology went over my head and I'm pretty geeky myself. I had a hard time figuring out where the science left off and the fiction started. But there was never a time when the lack of understanding made the actions hard to follow. This is also a book that doesn't hold any punches when it comes to controvesial issues like abortion. I really loved the scene where the abortionist was overcome by the accusing souls of all the babies he'd murdered, but I can only guess that a NARAL mom would be burning the book in public if she caught one of her kids reading it. Great job!
League of Superheroes Wiki
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Purchase League of Superheroes at Writer's Cafe Press and get it autographed free! Also available at Barnes and Noble.
Reluctantly, I mention that League of Superheroes is also available at Amazon. However, because of their new BookSurge monopoly policy, I IMPLORE you not to buy books from those greedy weasels unless you have a gift certificate or reward points that you can't use elsewhere.