Wednesday, January 13, 2021

We Could Be Heroes by Mike Chen

I love a good superhero story. I grew up on the Superfriends (Wondertwins rule!) and I enjoy comics, but I especially love a great prose superhero story. A good one just hits me square in my reading happy spot. My favorites are the Velveteen Vs. series by Seanan McGuire and Soon I Will Be Invincible, by Austin Grossman. Hench, by Natalie Zina Walschots, is another new favorite. So when I read the description of We Could Be Heroes, about a superhero and a supervillain who don’t remember their backstories, I thought, cool, sign me up. When I got the book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review, I tried to get into it, I really did. It’s not bad, but I just kind of bounced off it. The book seemed like it didn’t know what it wanted to be. It kept switching from an intimate character piece on memory loss to a superhero mystery to a heist novel to an action story, and it didn’t do any of it very well. The two main characters had no depth and felt like cyphers all the way through, even as they learned more about themselves and their lost memories. The villain’s plan was rather nonsensical and the entire final third of the book was a long slog. In the acknowledgments, the author explained that the novel started out as a short story idea. I think that’s where it should’ve stayed. There just isn’t enough meat on these bones. 

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