Friday, December 6, 2013

Review Me Twice: Supercenaries by Josh O'Brien

I am easily distracted by typos. It's what makes me a halfway decent editor: if I see incorrect punctuation, spelling, or grammar, or a missing (or extra) word, my mind stutters in reading and tries to make me fix it before moving on. The thing about reading (and reviewing) NaNoWriMo novels is that the average person does not have a professional editor fixing these details before the reader gets a go at it. (But hey, I've found typos in bestsellers, too, so it's not an exclusively NaNo thing.) There were a lot of those in Supercenaries, so I was fairly distracted.

But! (There's always a but.) I really liked the characters. They were introduced well. It was sort of like a laundry list at the beginning (each chapter shows you a new character until we have all of them ready to start interacting) but I liked it. Within each chapter, they were succinctly and descriptively introduced. It wasn't like saying, "This is Joe and his superpower is this and he is currently doing this with his life until joining Supercenaries." Each one is a little different, and is recruited a little differently, and - this is the thing that impresses me - has a slightly different voice. Geographically speaking, I was a little confused, because one character would be quite clearly English, and the next could be from... literally any large city in the world. And so on. But they have distinct voices, even though they aren't in the first person. That's the only way I can describe it.

Josh warned us, before we started reading, that he believed the ending to be a little rushed. This is coming from someone with the same problem (see Cassy's spot-on critique of Epilogue from last year), but I agree. I think it's a NaNoWriMo thing... you hit 50,000 words, and DING! you just finish as quickly as possible, because your goal is met.

All in all, I'd say once it's finished being tweaked and edited, Supercenaries will make for a solid superhero book that fits into the current trend without being swallowed up by it.

I actually really liked Supercenaries.  It was well thought out, and had a good plot to it.  I wasn't thrilled with the way the characters were introduced, but as the book progressed, it was a lot easier to keep track of characters than I had initially anticipated, which is good.  It's very easy to get caught in the trap of having so many characters you can't keep track of them.

I like that O'Brien wasn't afraid to take risks.  There was a lot of things that I didn't expect, but in a good way.  You weren't sure what was going to happen next or who was bad or good or anything.  I was able to figure out (part of) the ending.  But I didn't figure it out until MUCH later in the book (and we all know that I have a predilection for figuring things out before I should), so it was well done.

The only real complaint I had was that things were... TOLD to me a lot.  For example, a character mentioned having back up and then told the reader that "Rhien usually worked that stuff out."  The very next sentence was, "I've already worked that stuff out."  There was a lot of that kind of thing in the book, but I feel like with a good edit, that kind of thing could be fixed.  

The end was rushed.  I think that it could have gone a LOT of awesome places, but that doesn't mean that the ending was bad.  It was interesting and fit well with the rest of the book.

As always, I was happy to have the opportunity to read a NaNo book.


  1. Thanks for the stellar review guys! Looks like another edit and a bit of a revamped ending is in order!

    1. You're welcome! It was such fun reading your book. :)

    2. Well when I've done a full edit/rewrite I'll send you guys another copy as a thanks for the review :)