I was reading Soon I will be Invincible, I was reading it for probably about a couple of weeks and got to page 72. I have to admit, I haven’t had much time for reading recently but I tend to find that if I’m really enjoying a book, I will make time, so the fact that I only got to p72, is not a good sign really for this book. I was enjoying it, in that I thought it was a clever idea to write a novel about superheroes and supervillians in a world not to dissimilar to our own but getting only so far as p72 it feels like the author Austin Grossman is spending too much time setting up the story and exploring the general superhero and supervillian background. The book (so far at least) is told from two characters viewpoints, the supervillian Doctor Impossible and the new girl superhero Fatale. The first chapter is from Doctor Impossible view point and I absolutely loved the opening chapter, I read it literally with a big grin on my face, thinking this is going to be a fantastic book! Grossman gives Doctor Impossible some fantastic lines like -
Once you get past a certain threshold, everyone’s problems are the same: fortifying your island and hiding the heat signature from your fusion reactor. My first subterranean lab was a disastrous little hole underneath a suburban tract home.
Doctor Impossible from Soon I Will be Invincible by Austin Grossman
But then you get to Fatale, the newbie Superhero and her chapters are just not that interesting.
And then arrived Hurricane Gold by Charlie Higson, the latest Young Bond book and the lure of a new Young Bond book was far more alluring than ploughing through more Fatale chapters in Soon I will be Invincible. Now I’ve written about my opinions on the Young Bond books before (see towards the bottom of the post here), but in summary I think Higson goes into far too much detail on background stuff that is unnecessary and some of the Eton stuff is just boring. But anyway, I was keen to see what Hurricane Gold was like and so far it’s absolutely excellent and funnily enough even though I’ve only had it a couple of days and didn’t really have much of a chance to read it until last night, I’m already at p72. So, so far Hurricane Gold is far better than Soon I Will be Invincible. Hurricane Gold is this time set in Mexico and opens with a classic Bond meeting of bad guys in a hot and exotic location, very quickly followed by a rather gruesome sequence, that is probably pushing (but staying within) the boundaries acceptable for children’s writing. The sequence (sorry I’m not being more explicit but I don’t want to ruin things for anyone about to read it and I want to keep the element of surprise), was well written, incredibly gripping and made me at one point gasp outloud and put my hand to my mouth in horror. Higson then follows this up with putting the Young James in a house alone with some extremely obnoxious children in the middle of a violent tropical storm with some bad guys thrown in. Higson throws you straight head first into the plot and the pace is a lot quicker than Soon I will be Invincible, so far the only negative is that a letter from one of James’ pals at Eton is featured, this is the only mention of Eton so far and it jarred a little, I don’t know, it may be necessary to plot later on but it felt at the time when reading it that it had been included just to keep up the Eton link and to remind readers what had happened before, which at least so far didn’t seem necessary. Still, I think I’ll be ploughing through Hurricane Gold pretty quickly and I’ll give you a full review when I finish it. I’ll pick up Soon I will be Invincible again when I’ve finished Hurricane Gold and I’ll review that properly to.
On a final note, I am really truely beginning to appreciate how reading another writer’s work can help educate you about your own. I know that Soon I will be Invincible and Hurricane Gold shouldn’t really be compared with each other as the former is for adults and the latter for kids but a fast paced plot doesn’t do any reader any harm, young or old.