by John W Otte
Paperback, 416 pages
Published April 1st 2012 by Marcher Lord Press
Why did Robin Laughlin (aka. Failstate) think being a superhero on a reality show would be a good idea again?
Things seemed so simple: win the show, become an official, licensed hero.
But with his brother, Ben (aka. Gauntlet) stealing America's heart and his own powers proving too unwieldy even for the monitored studio challenges, Robin begins to wonder if his calling isn't to save the world after all.
Until one of his competitors is murdered.
Vowing to find the killer, Robin sets out on a very real quest to unmask the hidden villain. Can Robin find justice? Or will his lunk of a big brother ruin everything?Publishers Weekly Starred Review:
“Otte nails the concept . . . He balances fantasy with teen hormones in a clever and page-turning debut . . . The amusing noirish atmosphere of the setting draws older readers . . . A TV show full of sequel possibilities.”
I am just over 1/4 way through Failstate, which is hardly enough for a full review. Obviously. But I am never short on OPINION!! I have lots already.
Like, what's up with this cover? I expected to find comic book drawings when I opened the book. I didn't, but I haven't been disappointed, either. I mean, with a cover like that, I expected action, and I've gotten bucket-fulls right off the gate.
I did not expect to enjoy the character of Failstate (or Robin) so darn much. (The character in the middle. He doesn't look exciting, does he?!) That has taken me by surprise. He is withdrawn for obvious reasons, when he is in his "super-hero" state, he is ugly enough to make people sick, literally pukey-sick. It's hard for Robin to feel amazing when he has to hide behind a mask. But this guy's troubles are only getting started. He's also got this strong super-power that is nearly impossible to control, and yet not "cool", either. He's got the quite-alive hormones of a young guy, but not the looks (as a hero or not) to attract girls' attention. Worse, his relationship with his mom is estranged and I'm getting some hints to deep reasons, but I don't know why, yet. All of that would be manageable, though, if his brother wasn't the complete opposite. Yep. It's no wonder I'm feeling sympathetic for this great guy.
I also did not expect to fall in love with this world so quickly. In this reality, some people have powers, some are useful, some not-so-much. A few figure out how to "save the day", like stop a robbery in a rough part of town. There's even a few idolized Heroes that have been recognized as "great". I love the way Robin has his own favorites. I love the way everyone is so darn real, gritty, faulty, REAL, even when they're so unbelievably loaded with superpowers. Too fun.
There are a few other things that stand out. One is how Robin and his family attend church and pray to God. It's delivered in that same, this-is-life sort of attitude that is fun. Another is how the writing style would be a fast read for my middle-grader kids, but I don't feel too old to read it, either. It's pretty cool to find a book with enough challenges and foreboding to capture my interest, but enough action that I'm bettin' my boys would love it, too. You know? And then there's the Game Show setting. I watch way too many reality shows, and I'm getting a kick out of being behind the scenes of one. It's early enough in the season that no one's a celebrity, yet, but lots of people know a little about all of them. Perfect.
Today I was supposed to post my review with the rest of the Team Novel Teen Tour... everyone else's review links are below. So, yea, I'm totally LAME since I haven't finished the book, yet. (I'm tired of complaining about my computer problems... you can review past posts to catch my drama.) So, I shot an email off to John W Otte with some interview questions and I'm hoping he'll get back to me by the time I finish my review on a future post. Hey... maybe I'll even get a book to give away!! :-D I think life should be good or even better... so I'm going to take advantage of my personal issues and highlight this fun book twice instead of once. So... STAY TUNED for more of Failstate. I'm not finished with it, yet!!!
About the Author:
|John W Otte|
I'm a severe Type B personality wrapped up in an introverted package, and yet I like to write. What can I say? Married, one son, a pastor in the Lutheran Church -- Missouri Synod.
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