No one on earth has anything negative to say about this book, so the challenging part of reviewing Perry Moore's first novel is how to reign in the geyser of good vibes. Hero is the first in a series of young adult fantasy novels that centers on the life of a gay teen superhero, Thom Creed. Moore is ridiculously qualified to write such a book. Openly gay and with a long career in the film industry where he is perhaps best known as the executive producer of The Chronicles of Narnia series, it is unsurprising that this novel was an uncontested favorite to win the Lambda Literary Award in the Young Adult category.
It's not only the young adult crowd and the GLBT crowd that are hopping on board this love train, but also the superhero-loving crowd of comic book geeks. Leading the bandwagon of support for this exciting new series is none other than Marvel Comics guru Stan Lee, who is developing a television show based on Moore's novels. The audiobook actually opens with a jolly introduction from Stan Lee, whose enthusiastic recommendation alone should be enough reason to listen to this book.
But there is still more goodness, in that the novel itself is narrated by Michael Urie, the openly gay stage and screen actor best known for his recurring role as Marc St. James on the hit television series Ugly Betty. Urie is gifted with a knack for character voices, and delivers a dozen uniquely hilarious and heartwarming voices for the various superheros and wannabes in this novel. There's the League, featuring an alien calm for Justice, a publicity-ready sparkle for dreamy blond Uberman, and a slinky rasp for speedy Golden Boy, the sidekick of Silver Bullet who has been demoted to trainer of the League's next crop of heroes. Thom Creed, in the universally appealing tones of an outsider's tenderly introspective coming-of-age, is among this crop. He is joined by the voices of perpetually grouchy Scarlett, drippy nosed Typhoid Larry, and sarcastic chain-smoking psychic Ruth, all hiding secrets of their own.
Perry Moore has written a book that does exactly the right thing at the right time, bringing together a remarkably broad audience in a way that can only be described as a game changer for the several genres it bridges. Whatever reason you might have for wanting to give it a listen, Michael Urie's action-packed rendering of familiar feelings and unpredictable situations ensures that you will not even consider pressing that pause button the future of the world is on the line, in more ways than one. Megan Volpert
In the story comic book legend Stan Lee calls "spellbinding" and "totally original," Thom Creed has secrets. For one, like his father, he has super powers. Also, he's been asked to join the Leaguethe very organization of superheroes that spurned his dad. Then theres the secret Thom can barely face himself: he's gay.
But becoming a member of the League opens up a new world to Thom. There, he connects with a misfit group of aspiring heroes, including Scarlett, who can control fire but not her anger; Typhoid Larry, who can make anyone sick with his touch; and Ruth, a wise old broad who can see the future. Like Thom, these heroes have things to hide; but they will have to learn to trust one another when they uncover a deadly conspiracy within the League.
To survive, Thom will face challenges he never imagined. To find happiness, he'll have to come to terms with his fathers past, and discover the kind of hero he really wants to be.
Timely and inspiring,Hero tackles love, friendship, and the struggle to come to terms with who we really are in a sincere and suspenseful way.
This audiobook includes an exclusive introduction written and read by Stan Lee himself.
©2007 Perry Moore (P)2010 Audible, Inc.
"Moore's casting of a gay teen hero in a high-concept fantasy marks an significant expansion of GLBTQ literature into genres that reflect teens' diverse reading interests; given the mainstream popularity of comics-inspired tales, the average, ordinary, gay teen superhero who comes out and saves the world will raise cheers from within the GLBTQ community and beyond." (Booklist)
Business Physicist and Astronomer
This book hits at so many levels I can't do it justice in a brief review. While I'm inclined to to warn about the gay content, and encourage the listener to be tolerant, that would violate the spirit of the book.
I've read professional criticisms of this book and laugh inside at how the critics so easily can miss key points. The book intentionally reads like a comic and so the characters are supposed to be somewhat 2-dimensional. Comics are written for kids---it's brilliant that some of the 'action' is predictable. It's not an autobiography!!!
But the ideas are profound. That we torment super heroes with bigotry is very wonderfully presented. That we don't know what the real lives of those around us is really about is brilliantly portrayed.
To the rigid moralist there may be some objectionable passages but I find my own tolerance going deeper as I get older. I think that's called maturity.
I highly recommend this book. I also believe it is an important book.
I LOVED this book. I thought I would try a book that was a bit outside of my norm (I usually go for the Stephanie Plum type books). But I wanted to see what a book with an openly gay main character would be like. And other than it being a driving plot vehicle, it was not a turn off. Since I have a person very close to me who is gay, I wanted to see if their world was really different than mine (nope, its not -- except for the super hero part!) :)
Listen to it. Its great. I would recommmend it to teenagers -- especially those who are struggling with their sexuality or know people who are struggling.
I cried at the end. I will definately look for more books by Perry Moore.
I must say first that I can relate to this book very much, except for the super powers of course. I loved the whole story so much that it makes me sad that I've already finished it. There are really cool characters and really weird ones too. The story kept it slightly dark but dynamic and enjoyable too. It really kept the book interesting and me glued to the point that I didn't want to do anything but listen to the book. Hopefully the writer will make a sequel to this book. This is most definitely a good read or listen.
I could not stop I had to finish this all the way thru I sat in my vechical for a over a half hour just to finish the book. I made me laugh and cry. I hope there is another addition to this book I would love to get it.
I wasn't sure if I wanted to read the book but after hearing the audio excerpt I decided to give it a try in the audio version and was surprised! It was pretty good, definately made me laugh out loud in some places! I loved "KickAss" and this was a good combination of it and other super hero characters.
I thoroughly enjoyed this story! I like science fiction, fantasy and mystery novels, especially the cosy mysteries and loved comic books as a kid. I found Thom's romantic relationships very easy to relate to and enjoyed seeing which heros were inspired by which comic character from my childhood. The only reason I took a star off is b/c I didn't really understand the transformation of Thom's powers. Perhaps I wasn't listening carefully enough but how the transmutation of the energy from healing into other abilities occurred was confusing. It's probably just being overly analytical on my side but it did bother me. I was quite sad to find that Perry Moore has recently passed away and that one of his projects had been a sequel to this novel. The first thing I did after finishing it was to look for the next book as I really wanted to find out what was next for these characters. RIP, Mr. Moore and I'm glad you gave us this book before your untimely passing.
I often found myself asking if this title was written just for me. Being a gay superhero has been difficult and it was nice to hear of someone else who has been through the same experiences as I have. I have repeatedly recommended this book to others so they can better understand what I went through as a young super-hero and in many ways am still going through as an adult. If you are looking for a fun read, this is it. If you are looking for a coming-of-age story like you have never heard, this is it. I highly recommend this title and anxiously await the next book in the series!!
TV-free, Battery-operated-toy-shunning, Natural-ish Mama
Not having been about superheros in that geeky, old-fashioned Marvel comics way, where they actually wear tights and capes and act like dorky-but-powerful DudleyDo-Rights. Not having been about a gay boy having a cheesy teen crush on a dorky, cape-wearing superhero called "UberMan" (gag!).
Just FYI, being GBLTetc-friendly, it's not the gay part I minded, it's the google-eyed drooly-dreamy teenybopper fantasizing that made me retch - boy or girl, this is NEVER attractive. Or interesting.
"Just looking at UberMan's strong muscles through his tight unitard made me imagine resting my head on his manly, hairy chest as he whispered romantic sweet nothings in my ear and read me a noble, uplifting bedtime story. With UberMan, it's not just that he's soooo handsome and wonderful, it's that he's really sensitive and sweet, too! He not only fights crime and saves the world every day, but he spends his spare time rescuing household pets from danger and volunteering at the retirement home! Oooh, UberMan! You're so DREAMY!" I mean, REALLY. All this in the first chapter of the book, basically.
The main character (the gay teen) is totally NOT relatable. I have NEVER known anyone like him, NEVER. The character is just so contrived...I cannot believe that he is a real person. I can't believe that ANYONE in this book is real...they are all so sterotyped and ridiculous. The book is written in the first person, natch (hardly ever a good start), and the protagonist must mention his father's mysterious disgrace and how much everyone hates his father now, and how all the superheros despise his father after his fall from grace (even though the father has a "trophy room" full of commendations, such as the one he received for singlehandedly saving the planet from a fleet of alien ships from another planet), and he brings up this "disgrace" about four hundred times by the third chapter. Halfway thru the book and still haven't found out what the mysterious disgrace is all about, but it's still hammered on about...it gets a mention every fourth paragraph or so, with no more explaination than in the beginning. Really?! Talk about beating a dead horse to death!
What would have made this book better? Probably, um, not having been written.
Something that has NOTHING to do with superheros (I'll never chance another superhero book again) and something that is NOT on the Audible list of "You Really, Truly Shouldn't Miss Out On These Amazing Books" booklist for teens.
I was surprised to see "Hero" on that list alongside "Great Expectations" and, now that I've listened to it, I'm even more surprised. Shocked, really. Wondering what they are smoking over there at Audible, and more importantly, what has it been laced with. Sheesh!
No. His voice is annoying. I can't really say why. It's just the kind of voice that gets under my skin...there's a little bit of a pathetic whine to his performance (or maybe that's just the "voice" of the character), but he didn't do anything special with the other characters in the book, either. It was pretty underwhelming.
UberMan, first. Then the disgraced Dad. Then all the rest of them. If there was a dog or something, I might leave it. There's not much harm a household pet can do in a book utterly devoid of any other characters.
I will be returning this book at my earliest opportunity. Do not waste your credits on this one, seriously. There are *plenty* of other really bad books out there that are better than this one!
54-year-old community college IT instructor. Over 500 titles in "My Library."
I thought I would like Hero. However, the longer I listened to this story, the more I disliked it. Towards the end (and I did force myself to go all the way to the conclusion), I found myself hitting the fast-forward button to skip over a few minutes here and there.
You're inside the head of a teenager. You will be listening to a teenager's thoughts and feelings. For a teenage listener, this will probably be entertaining. For an adult listener, you may find this experience "uncomfortable."
I can find pleasure in reading a young adult novel or comic book story. I've enjoyed seeing The Avengers movies. But there were too many times during Hero that I had thoughts like "This conversation (with another character or with himself) is stupid." And there were fight sequences where the way heroes used their powers made no sense.
If you're a young adult, I think you'll probably like the story. If you've moved beyond the teenage years, you may not find the story or writing mature enough for you.
I grew up in a household full of books. I love reading, and I love having someone read to me.
I really just picked this up on a whim. I liked the concept of a gay superhero who is just starting on his journey.
This book exceeded any expectations I could have had for it. It had moment of humor that would make me laugh out loud, as well as brilliantly written scenes that caused me to cry. The characters had flaws that made them real and relatable, and even some of the secondary two dimensional characters you can envision seeing around school or the workplace.
I also want to say that Michael Urie's reading of this was brilliant! I don't think they could have found a better narrator. His reading of each character was well done, and allowed me to sink into the story without getting distracted by confusion of which character was supposed to be talking.
I could go on and on about how much I love this book, but I think I should end this review by stating I love Ruth. She is my favorite character, and if I had nothing else to say about this book it would be that I'm glad I read it, just because I got to meet her.
I will indeed be reccomending this book in any format to people.
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