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In this provocative adventure, Moore (Red Moon Rising) explores the dichotomies of good versus evil and nature versus nurture through the story of a teenage scion of a heroic family who's forced into a life of rebellion. Because he's "unpowered," Brad Baron can never live up to the standards set by his legendary father and brother, but he strives on-until rampant prejudice and casual neglect lead him to make friends with a band of malcontents bent on changing the system through supervillainy. Discovering his latent, illegal power of telepathy, Brad adopts their mission as his own and discovers dark secrets underlying everything he's ever believed. While Moore's story stands on its own as a superpowered coming-of-age story, complete with a bad-girl love interest and dramatic scenery-destroying battles, it's also a subtle criticism of institutionalized privilege-in this case, featuring a society in which flashy physical powers are valued more than less-obvious ones, and normal people are practically faceless bystanders. Come for the fights and tights, stay for the fascinating evolution of a sympathetic villain. Ages 12 up.
Being the nonpowered brother of a superhero could turn any good kid bad.
Sixteen-year-old Brad Baron attends Monroe Academy for Powered Teens with the powerful children and siblings of other superheroes. Having no powers makes this a dangerous proposition, especially in Physical Training, a fact made all too clear when Brad is laid up for several weeks with shattered vertebrae. He's moved (involuntarily) to the alternative program, and not only does he make a few friends, but also discovers teachers who aren't jerks or hero-worshippers. However, his big, dumb brother, Blake, aka Artillery of Justice Force, thinks Brad's new friends make him look bad. Blake's attempts at meddling only serve to deepen Brad's anti-hero sentiments. Brad and his friends form an alliance when he finally discovers his own latent telepathy, and they seek out connections in a world where telepathy is illegal. When they make a startling discovery about the origin of superpowers, what should they do with the knowledge? And will they survive any decision they make? Moore's science fantasy takes place in a recognizable world, and young teens will identify with Brad and his cohorts. Well-crafted characters, moral nuance, and a tale with nice, believable twists make this a great addition to the teen-superhero genre.
This is superhero fiction done right. (Fantasy. 12 & up)—Kirkus