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)
I would definitely consider the audio edition better than the print. Michael Urie is a fantastic actor who gives three dimensions to each of the characters he voices in this book. While there are times it is hard to tell if there is a paragraph or section break, they hardly hinder the quality of the experience.
It's a unique take on a classic story. The characters are clearly derivative of comic book heroes across multiple genres, but Moore turns them on their heads. We get a behind the scenes look at what goes on for super heroes after they take their masks off. Our protagonist, Tom Creed, is unlike any comic book character, but Moore doesn't make the entire book about how he's different. We see his problems, triumphs, joys, and sorrows and identify with him on all of them.
I have not, but I definitely will now.
I listened to this on a drive from Los Angeles to San Francisco. Half way on the ride up and half way on the ride down. I didn't listen while I was in the city because I didn't want it to end before I reached my destinations!
It was about a gay character! People dont write and certainly dont get published as often when the main character of a story is gay and this book wins out because of that. I also enjoyed the idea of superheroes and how the world was shaped as a comic book which melded the fantastical and sometimes absurd ideas into a reality that was fairly believable.
Decent, Placid, Gay.
I liked how he read the book but in other contexts I would be severely dissapointed in his performance.
This book is a must read for comic book fans. It has action, humor, and a coming of age story. A lot is made of the main character being gay, but it reads as a young man becoming a hero and just happens to be gay.
The rest of Thom's team of heroes. Ruth was my favorite and the comic relief of the story.
Michael did a good job with all the characters.
This book had me wanting a sequel. I was saddened to learn that Perry Moore, the books author, had died of an overdose.
Absolutely! And I have! Some of the names are a little silly, but since when do super heroes have normal monikers? I ADORE this book - I have listened to it several times, and I laugh out loud every time.
The voices and timing are spot on - love it!
You know you've read a good book when you turn the last page and feel a little as if you have lost a friend. ~Paul Sweeney
Yes, absolutely. It is sometimes hard to find something new and different and this book definitely is both.
I liked the main character. Despite not being gay, or a boy, or a superhero, I still found this character very relate-able.
Not sure. I enjoy "reading", but sometimes lack the time to sit down and read, so I do listens on the go. There are very few I would look back on and think... "oh geez, I really should have just 'read' the book."
Absolutely. I am horrible about naming stars and don't usually put famous faces to the characters I read in books.
If you like superheros and underdogs (and are not scared off by a gay character), you will really enjoy this book.
Compelling, fantastic and relatable
That I could put myself in the main characters shoes having gone thru the process of coming out. I knew how he felt.
The main character Tom.
Yes, and I can foresee me listening over and over again.
Out of the 60+ audiobooks in my library, this one was truly a treat. Michael Urie should narrate WAY more often. His delivery is incredibly fun and moving and sweet. I loved everything about this book. It's incredibly empathetic and moving, but is also knowingly silly and fun. This book had all the great elements of a guilty-pleasure action hero movie with the emotional spirit of a great graphic novel. I recommend this audiobook to super hero-fanboys and average readers alike.
This is a fabulous read. A story about a teenager dealing with a lot of typical teenage issues, plus the not so minor issue of his burgeoning super powers. He fights with his dad, he gets teased by his peers, he has a crush on a famous person, he is struggling with his emotions and he feels like he will never fit in anywhere. These feelings are magnified because he is gay and he is sure his dad will never be able to accept it or the fact that he is super powered.
While this book is written for teens, adults will enjoy it too. This is a fast paced read with many twists and surprises. The book is full of super powered beings with a variety of abilities. Plus, it's a great story. Once I started listening, I didn't want to stop until the book was over. I REALLY hope Perry Moore writes a sequel. And Micheal Urie is a fantastic narrator. He captures the voice of the teenage protagonist perfectly.
FYI- This is not a story to sit and listen to with your 10 yr old. Just because it is about superheroes, doesn't make it appropriate for everyone. There is violence, loss and some age appropriate sexual overtones, IF you are the target audience,
A must for superhero fans, since there are not enough superhero books on Audible. The story of a teen coming to terms with a disease that causes him nothing but embarrassment and being gay, which everyone seems to know without him telling them. Add to that the manifestation of superpowers? Just makes a great story. Read it!!
While the title of this review might seem like a dig, I actually did like "Hero". I applaud the novel for its candor on the subject of being a gay male teen. Though there have been a few instances of gay super heros, the super hero genre (both in comic books and novels) has largely avoided the subject of homosexuality, which is strange for a genre that embraces "gritty realism", or whatever phrase the DC fanboys are using to describe the current incarnation of the DCU.
My problems with the novel are this:
While I love a little silver age pastiche as much as the next comic geek, there is too much of it in this novel. Most of the supporting characters are obvious takes on existing super heros, hence Warrior Woman (almost no variation from Wonder Woman at all), Golden Boy (an a**hole version of Kid Flash), Uberman (a hollwo, brainless take on Superman), and Justice (who comes equipped with an origin story pretty much identical to Superman's). All the pastiche makes it seem a bit like Perry Moore decided to take the easy route in evoking images of a silver age version of New York, as opposed to engaging in the practice of world-building that is so integral to fantasy novels (which super hero novels technically are). However, I must admit that I enjoyed the little touches that related the world of the novel to our modern day world. I think they were very much necessary to make the story relevant to the audience of young adult readers the novel is aimed toward.
Second criticism: not enough backstory on Goron. If he's supposed to be the love interest in the novel, shouldn't we have seen a bit more of him, and learned a bit more about why he is who he is? I feel like way too much of the book was devoted to perpetuating the ridiculously obvious (***SPOILER ALERT***) "secret" that Goron and Dark Hero were one and the same. It was a big misuse of what should have been a much more important character.
Mostly, what was offputting about the novel was the prose, which could have been described as "atrocious" at times, and "sufficient" at other times, but never "great" or "engaging". I'm a bit of a word nerd and I feel like the words being used to tell a story are always as important as the story itself, if not more important. Novels aren't movies; you can't have Michael Bay come in, do a bunch of crane shots, blow some sh*t up, and expect people to love it. It takes hard work, and I feel like Moore should have worked harder on refining his prose.
Complaints noted, I did like the novel and I'd be willing to give its rumored sequel(s) a try.
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