Sunday, 3 September 2017

Review: Masked

Masked Masked by J.D. Wright
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I've been in the mood for superhero fiction lately, but it's hard to find good stuff. Most of it is poorly edited and not especially well executed, and I'm afraid this one isn't an exception.

At first it got the Randy Jackson reaction: It was just OK for me, you know, dogg? I could have overlooked most of the issues - even titanium not being a good conductor of electrical blasts, although the same electrical blasts were destroying creatures made of rock, and even the gradual drift from third person limited into more and more headhopping - but what dropped it down to three stars was the implausible stupidity of the characters.

So let's say you have important information about a wanted supervillain - who he is, that he's even still alive, that kind of thing. And let's say that this supervillain, if not stopped, is going to kill more people, like he already has several times. And let's say that you have contact with a highly effective organisation that has much better resources than you do, many trained agents with lots of experience, and you're a group of late-teenage supers just starting out. And you have no reason to expect that there will be any negative consequences to telling this organisation about this villain, who is, again, killing people and needs to be stopped.

What do you do? Well, of course you agree not to tell them, and to go after him yourselves, and none of you even questions that this is the right thing to do in the circumstances.

Nope, sorry. Blatant stupidity in the service of setting up a sequel gets your sequel left unread.

Apart from that, it was, as I say, OK. A bit more detail about the teenage sex than was needed, maybe, but generally average. There were two black characters, both of whom were tech wizards, which seems to often be the lot of black supers (think John Stewart, John Henry Irons, Cyborg and his father...). It's interesting how this trope, which theoretically is about black people being intelligent, in practice often works out as giving them a subsidiary, supporting role in which they're not expected to protagonise or to need a character arc (which is the case here).

Maybe that's improved upon in the next book. I'll never know, because that one moment of supreme stupidity put me off reading it.

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