You might not instantly recognise the name Jeremy Scott, but you’ll probably recognise the youtube channel CinemaSin – the place where I found out one of the creators had written a book about superheroes with an interesting twist. Upon seeing the book at my local bookshop, I bought it, then read it in a single sitting. I give it 68/100 – but would recommend it to anyone who is interested in superheroes.
[No Spoilers part]
The first thing you have to realise that this is a book targeted at young adults, from ages 12+. Because of that, the humour is less adult that Jeremy Scott’s expected dry humour from his youtube channel. In fact, try and forget about CinemaSins altogether when reading this book.
When I opened the book I was first put off by the formatting. In fact it took my several attempts to really get going and even then a couple of chapters to get used to the formatting and actually immerse myself in the book. I couldn’t figure out why the paragraphs were written and presented like they were, but people on the internet speculate that the formatting is to match the way blind people might read brail (or something). If so, original idea, but hard to read.
Once I got over the formatting issue, the story itself was fairly easy to get into. I felt that it was very “by the book” in the way the story progressed with the plot and character development. That isn’t a bad thing however, and I believe for young adults it makes it much easier to digest. There are a few plot twists, some of which are meant to be sort of predictable, others not as much. The story had a fairly fast pace and plenty of action.
I would actually say I really wish I had read this story in comicbook form. I think the plot and characters lend themselves much better to a comic format, and I think with the write artist and colourist it would be up there with Saga, and Scott Pilgrim as a comic. There has been hints at possible future comic options but those are very slim chances. Fingers crossed anyway.
The story is about a young boy called Phillip Sallinger who is one day told by his father he has super powers. That his dad, his mum and even his little brother has super powers. In fact, his whole town is a town for superheroes and he’s just about to start superhero school. Phillip is a telekinetic. He is also blind. One his first day of school he finds out he is put into a special class for disabled super powered kids, and whilst at first hating it, soon finds himself a group of close, misfit friends.
From the there story progress to how the group tackle discrimination at a school wide superhero-ing event, which leads to a montage for super power development and teamwork. This entire section was fun to read, and the ways the children get around their disabilities was very smart. You find yourself growing more attached to the main group of characters and cheering them on.
They first part of the new event, the group stumbles across an actual bad guy, doing bad guy things. They are then not believed by the rest of the town (because they’re young? Because they’re disabled? No idea.) and from there the whole event thing is kinda pushed aside and doesn’t really matter anymore. There are mentions when they try and practice for it again, but really, it doesn’t matter that much and they never go into it except when the villain comes and gate crashes it.
Personally I was disappointed by this, because of all their prep really didn’t seem to help them with the event itself. I was hoping it to be something like Enders Game where they use the tactics and teamwork they learnt to overcome their disabilities as a group to triumph and prove to everyone at school that they’re just as capable as normal kids. They do prove themselves, but with the bigger events happening against the main bad guy, rather than the comparatively unimportant school event.
Personally if I was that age, it wouldn’t matter if bigger things were going on (with the except of dead parent) I’d still be really obsessed with the school’s event and proving myself to my classmates. It was really hammered in the leading up to parts of the book and the lack of attention to it afterwards really let me down.
I think if I was to compare it to something, I would say The Goblet of Fire showed the main character Harry Potter and everyone being very obsessed and lots of scenes dedicated to figuring out how to win, and then a close detail of the competition itself, then the big reveal of the bad guy and the reveal of how he was manipulating things all along, making you go back over those chapters and think “ooooh”. In The Ables the story telling is very linear and nothing really makes you go back to recheck little details like that.
The ending however was very climatic, the characters did kick-ass and there was a good mix of closure and excitement for future happenings. Overall the book was very enjoyable as an easy read (once you get past the formatting) and whilst fairly violent things happen, there aren’t graphic details making it great for younger readers. I really would love to see it in comicbook form, and I’m sure I would read any sequels. I want to know what happens to Donnie after all!