Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Review: The Legion of Nothing: Rebirth

The Legion of Nothing: Rebirth
The Legion of Nothing: Rebirth by Jim Zoetewey

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I encountered this story first of all on Podiobooks, and it's a testament to how engaging a story it is that I listened to the whole thing, despite what I would have to rate as the worst audiobook performance I have ever heard. (The reader's delivery wasn't just flat; what emphasis he did put in was reliably in the wrong place.)

Second time around, several years later, I read the ebook, and again, the story kept me engaged despite the fact that it needs a good editor. There are missing words, added words, missing commas, added commas, and inconsistent or incorrect apostrophes (most notably, the author doesn't seem sure whether to put one in "Heroes' League" or not). Nothing truly egregious, and I only spotted one minor homophone error, but there are quite a few instances of the same issues.

So, what was this story that kept me so engaged? It's a young superhero's first-person story of the revival of the Heroes' League (yes, the apostrophe should be there), started by his grandfather along with some others, whose grandchildren are now also teenagers and are also ready to join the new League. The narrator is Nick (hero name "the Rocket"), who has inherited his grandfather's powered armour and, apparently, his interest and skill in engineering (though not his grandmother's phasing ability, it appears). It's not clear why, in most cases, the powers and other abilities have skipped a generation (assuming that they have; only one of the fathers is a super, as far as Nick is aware, though I presume there may be others unrevealed). But it leaves the teens with limited guidance and supervision from their elders, and they have to figure out the moral dilemmas of superheroism for themselves.

Nick is often not sure what to do, and ends up doing nothing, which is more realistic, though less exciting than the usual headstrong character one often gets in these stories. There's a good deal of mundanity in his life and his description, alongside the hero issues. I think that, on the whole, this is a feature rather than a bug; it highlights the hero stuff by contrast.

The plot gradually builds, and the action scenes are well distributed and well handled. The characters are mostly distinct and well-drawn (I never could get a handle on Marcus, but he's the one Nick knows least well). Overall, an entertaining story, and if I could get some kind of reassurance that it would go past a good editor I would definitely want to read the next one.

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