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Publisher's Summary

"Leave it to Stan Lee to save his very best for last. A Trick of Light is as heartfelt and emotional as it is original and exciting. What a movie this one will make."(James Patterson)

"Beguiling, cinematic, operatic, A Trick of Light is a bracing espresso first thing in the morning and the thrum of a familiar love deep at night." (Gary Shteyngart)

In one of Stan Lee’s final collaborations and most innovative works, the legendary creator invites you to unleash the power of your imagination, and bring to life an epic, superhero origin story set within a tech-centric, highly connected world, unnervingly reminiscent of our own.

Narrated by Yara Shahidi, one of today’s brightest talents, Stan Lee’s Alliances: A Trick of Light introduces listeners to a mysterious young woman, Nia, whose fate is intertwined with a seemingly ordinary Midwestern teenager, Cameron Ackerson, whose quest for YouTube stardom takes him to the heart of the Great Lakes Triangle where he is imbued with the power to "see" and "hear" a new reality.

As Nia and Cameron’s relationship grows, they conspire to create a more righteous online universe, but wind up crossing a shadowy outfit called OPTIC. Meanwhile, a threat of galactic proportions emerges, imperiling humanity’s very existence by harnessing our individual desire to connect as the very means to destroy us.

Can Nia, Cameron, and Juaquo (Cameron’s best friend) save us from our own collective ruin? 

Join forces with Stan Lee to find out! 

©2019 New Reality, LLC (P)2019 Audible Originals, LLC.

Go Behind the Scenes with the Creators of Stan Lee’s Alliances: A Trick of Light

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Meet our Heroes

Meet the Creators

Stan Lee was known to the world as the man whose superheroes propelled Marvel to its preeminent position in the entertainment industry. His co-creations included Spider-Man, The Avengers, Black Panther, X-Men, Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, The Fantastic Four, and hundreds of others. Lee continued to serve as Marvel Entertainment’s Chairman Emeritus until his death in 2018. Lee was also the Chairman and Chief Creative Officer of Stan Lee’s POW! Entertainment, which he founded with production partner Gill Champion and attorney Arthur Lieberman.In Stan Lee’s Alliances: A Trick of Light, Lee chose the immersive medium of audio to share one of his latest universes and casts of superheroes. His trademark mastery of creating both engaging and provocative story lines is on full display as he and his co-creators developed a fascinating new world to explore that deftly comments on our own.

Meet the Creators

Academy Award winning filmmaker Ryan Silbert a writer, producer, author, and founder of Origin Story Entertainment, a multi-platform entertainment company with a global focus on storytelling. Silbert’s next project is Stan Lee’s Alliances: A Trick of Light, an original, first-of-its kind audio storytelling event produced by Amazon’s Audible Studios and starring Yara Shahidi. Created by Silbert, Luke Lieberman, and Stan Lee in the late cultural icon’s final collaboration, Stan Lee’s Alliances: A Trick of Light will debut on June 27th as an Audible Original. With work recognized by the Academy Awards, the Canadian Academy of Film & Television, Sundance, and the Berlinale, Silbert’s repertoire includes such films as the Academy Award winning God of Love and Spike Lee’s The Girls in Trouble. Silbert is currently in development on television, film, and immersive narratives projects created specifically for audio platforms.

Meet the Creators

Luke Lieberman started his career working for the legend, who mentored him in the art of storytelling. He left Stan's employ to relaunch the Red Sonja comic book franchise, which has published over 300 issues and 60 graphic novels, and where he serves as licencor and executive editor to this day. Luke also practices intellectual property and entertainment law at Rosenfeld, Meyer & Susman of Los Angeles. His current projects include writingthis year’s Red Sonja: Birth of a She-Devil mini-series for Dynamite Entertainment, executive producing the Red Sonja feature motion picture, and co-creating Stan Lee's Alliances: A Trick of Light, an innovative audio experience from Audible Studios and performed by Yara Shahidi, with Ryan Silbert, and Stan "The Man" Lee himself.

Meet the Creators

Kat Rosenfield is an Edgar-nominated author and pop culture journalist with a gift for reporting on digital-age dramas from the place where art and politics intersect. In 2018, Kat was tapped to co-author Stan Lee's Alliances: A Trick of Light, with icon Stan Lee. She previously authored two young adult novels, the Edgar-nominated Amelia Anne Is Dead and Gone (2012) and Inland (2014). Kat began her career in journalism at MTV News, reporting on TV, film, books, and young Hollywood culture. Her work includes critical essays for Playboy, TV recapping for Entertainment Weekly, and live-blogging the 2016 US presidential debates and election results for Us Weekly. Her more recent work as a freelance journalist includes seminal reporting on controversies within the young adult publishing community. Rosenfield is a co-host of the Feminine Chaos podcast on Bloggingheads.tv and a contributing editor at Tablet.

Meet the Narrator

Actress, model, activist, and youth speaker Yara Shahidi is quickly emerging as a generational voice able to captivate and inspire audiences both on-and off-screen. With a combination of raw talent, authenticity, and passion for projects of substance, Shahidi’s narration of Stan Lee’s Alliances: A Trick of Light adds another distinct level of depth and sophistication to this visionary work. Best known for her breakout television work in Black-ish and Grown-ish, she most recently starred in the 2019 film The Sun Is Also a Star. Shahidi was a recipient of the "Generation Next" award at the 10th Annual Essence Black Women in Hollywood event and is intimately involved in various educational and social initiatives. Among them, Eighteen x 18, founded by Shahidi to encourage voter turnout, and Yara’s Club, a partnered venture with the Young Women’s Leadership Network of New York, focused on education.

What listeners say about Stan Lee's Alliances: A Trick of Light

Average Customer Ratings
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    2 out of 5 stars

So good, yet so bad.

Here we have a new story with classic Stan Lee flair and a strong cinematic feel. Yara Shahidi gives what sounds at first to be excellent audio narration. She has a good array of voices and her "neutral" narration voice is pleasant to listen to. Unfortunately, it quickly becomes apparent that there's a problem: Monotone. There is very little in the way of vocal shifts throughout the text. There are a couple of passable inflections, but mostly it's the same flat tone and the same even tempo all throughout the story. There are also no rhythm or cadence changes between characters, so even though the voices are different every character sounds basically the same. Now, I really struggled to rate the story on this one. On the one hand, at its core this really is a great story. There's a lot thing on, there are great characters that are easy to connect with, and the plot is suitably epic. Unfortunately, we also have some major problems. Descriptions are almost non-existent, most of the twists are super predictable, the tense feels gimmicky and is inconsistent, quite a bit of the writing is quite clunky, the author head-hops like there's no tomorrow, and honestly a good chunk of the dialogue just sounds absurd. Okay, so let's look closer at the positives. This really is a big, epic storyline that hits so many high notes. Lots of things coming into play that get paid off later, several subplots come neatly full-circle, and there are a couple of really neat twists. Nia is a fascinating character that you can't help but feel for almost right away, and Cameron (for all that he initially comes across as a whiney idiot) is super relatable. Honestly, I'm not actually certain if this ties in with the MCU or not. While there are direct references to both Thor and S.H.I.E.L.D. they never make any appearances so it's entirely possible that they were fictional references and they do not exist in the same universe. Now, honestly all of the negatives to this story can be summed up in one fact: they chose the wrong co-writer to transform Stan Lee's story into prose. I'm sure Kat Rosenfield is a fine writer, but this is what happens when you get a journalist to write a fiction book. Especially one written in the super gimmicky present tense. The book really has two openings, one for Nia and one for Cameron. But they both start with just a few lines of "here and now" and then the character spends long minutes narrating their past that led them to this point. Now, I'm a fan of back story, but not when it's all just plopped in your face like that right at the start. Especially when, realistically, none of it was necessary to understand the story. But more to the point is that while the book is ostensibly in present tense, huge chunks of it are told in past tense via character narration and flashback and it comes across very amateurish and clunky. I found the (lack of) descriptions very frustrating. There is decent description of the cyberspace aspects and some of the tech (and, somewhat oddly, Nia's appearance, though no other character is given a detailed description), but in most other respects the description ranges from minimal to non-existent. It might just be me, but I found most of the twists much too easy to figure out. Although it was cool to see so much from the villain's perspective, especially seeing what drives them, I feel like it derailed a lot of the potential tension because the questions were already answered. The dialogue in this story actually really bothers me. Some of it is so good. It sounds so natural and just flows so well. But then at other parts it's just this clunky mess, equal parts "no one actually talks like that" and "here's all these plot points/character moments/back story just in case you missed it." There's a part of me that thinks the good parts were written by Stan and the rest was filled in posthumously, but of course I have no real evidence of that. And, the head-hopping. Oh, the head-hopping. This is one of the major things that screams to me, this author does not know how to write fiction. Head-hopping is one of the few rules I agree with following 100% of the time. In the middle of a single scene, we should only be in a single character's head. Of course, this is not a rule if the book is written in an omniscient view point, but this one wasn't. Which leads me to two of my biggest pet peeves that this book does often. They are two lines (or close variations) that make me simultaneously cringe and roll my eyes anytime I see them. The first is, "What I/he/she didn't know (yet) was..." I hate that. Unless I'm reading a frame story told by the same character years after the fact (so the narrator could reasonably have this information), it is, in my opinion, one of the biggest cheats in all of writing and it serves no purpose. As a reader I much prefer to just read it when it happens. I don't need to be told that the character didn't know about it yet. And the second is, "That was when..." This is, I feel, the single most over used phrase in all of fiction and it's clunky and jarring and the writing would be stronger without it. I hope this wasn't too much of a rant. This book was just so frustrating. There are those few things that I really loved, but there was so much wrong that I just couldn't, in good conscience, give it a higher rating. But finally, let's discuss the ending. Honestly, what an ending! They're are so many points where our heroes almost fail. So many almost disasters. I was on the edge of my seat listening to it, and the final conclusion does not disappoint! Brilliant, beautiful, poignant, and perhaps even a bit poetic. I'm not sure I can really recommend this book to anyone other that Marvel and MCU super-fans, but at the end of the day if you can overlook the flaws in the writing there is a great story here.

24 people found this helpful

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not a place to put political digs against potus

i love stan lee bit not a place to put political digs at the president. famous people need to learn to keep their views to themselves. dont jam your politics down my throat. you should learn from the dixie chicks.

16 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars

Trigger warning

Child abuse incidents without any warning. Please read with caution if you are sensitive to child torture.

15 people found this helpful

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Riveting Adventure

This story was an amazing experience. It has a sci-fi, Ready Player One/Matrix/X-men feel to it. It was exciting and hard to find a good stopping place to continue with reality. The introduction by Stan Lee was fun and beautiful and really got me pumped for the story to begin. Highly recommend!

13 people found this helpful

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Wonderful! Can't wait for more

Stan Lee’s Alliances: A Trick of Light has it all: super heroes, unwilling sidekicks, vengeful aliens, secretive organizations and tech gone haywire. The audio book begins with an intro from Stan Lee which was beautiful to listen to his thoughts on the story to come. The story is an origin story of sorts as it develops the characters of Cameron, Nia and Juaquo. Cameron has an unusual accident which leaves him with cybertech abilities. The twists are somewhat unusual but keep it interesting. There are aspects of the story that remind me of Enders Game, Ready Player One, and Terminator. The ending is obviously left open since they have plans for more, but wraps up enough to be satisfying. While Yara Shahidi performs the audiobook wonderfully, it took me a bit to get into it since the main character is a Cameron and a majority of the story is from his perspective.

24 people found this helpful

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An interesting new story. I look forward to more!

Overall I loved it. It felt like a fresh Sci-Fi story. I wasn't very fond of the narrator. She used the same voice for each character which typically lacked any emotion. Weather a character was sad, angry or excited she made them sound as if they were all super calm and relaxed. Even if a character were to scream she barely rose her voice. I think the story could have been much more immersive if character voices were spoken with more personality.

85 people found this helpful

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not a bad story

keep your political beliefs to yourself. other then that wasn't a bad story. rip Stan Lee

6 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Loved this audible

Stan Lee dis an amazing job with this one. I'm in high hopes that another book would release and even a movie!! Again, amazing job!

6 people found this helpful

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About the narrator....

I'm not writing a review on the book (which I've given 5 stars) Just wanted to address other reviewers comments about the narration speed. I initially found the narration slow-paced. When I switched the speed to 1.25x it was perfect. So, at 1.25x speed, I LOVED the narrator. Perfect voice for this book. Well done.

112 people found this helpful

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story is ok, but the narrator is very monotone.

the story is ok. nothing is that big of a surprise, but it is ok. my main problem is the narrator is really monotone. if you preview the book and are ok with the narrator, you will probably be ok with the story. one thing I absolutely despised about this production was the music between the chapters and at various parts of the book. Honestly I will return any book I run into that does this. the music adds nothing, it only serves to pull you out of the story and I really hated it.

99 people found this helpful

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  • RStreet
  • 07-11-19

A disappointing & predictable story

I had high hopes for this book as it seemed like a really interesting concept, but the story is disappointing, predictable and bland. The narration doesn’t help and is very monotonous. Not helped by jarring editing, in particular the words “Juaquo says” have been recorded once and pop in in a different tone of voice from the narration. Overall, not a book I would listen to again, and it leaves me with no interest in following the story into subsequent books in the series.

6 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Ant's Reviews
  • 07-09-19

A good story made cringe-worthy

I don't often leave bad reviews but I'm struggling to listen to this story with this narration. I can't but visualise this being read from the book with such little feeling and variation and tone. A very bad choice of reader, in my opinion, to the point where I am finding it too poor and cringe worthy to continue listening. Update... well I finished it... a labour of love and a testament to the storyline being good enough to withstand the appalling narration. She reads what the characters say well enough, but the rest of the storyline is intoned in a childish word by word way that makes you think her finger was pointing below the text and has no ability to scan ahead as she reads...

4 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Lynn/Lee
  • 10-03-19

Well that is time I will never get...

Not only did I struggle with the narrator, I struggled with the slow pace and story. I thought a number of times about giving up completely but hoped it would get better. It did not. I was so excited for this book and that excited is now a memory. I would not recommend this. It was meh!

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Thomas Maund
  • 11-27-20

Fun story, but has old gender roles embedded in it.

I enjoyed the story - the performance was spot on - but I felt that the female protagonist got damselled and was left reliant on the male protagonist. It has potential as the start of a series, and with Lee’s death, I fear it may not be realised. There was a lot that wasn’t explored, such as why and how people got empowered and that bit where one character became a murderer for a bit then didn’t address it afterwards. That’s all material for later stories. I hope it will continue, but we’ll have to see. I also hope that the female protagonist gets her own agency and that we see some more female heroes to counterbalance the many female villains.

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Andy T
  • 10-19-19

Young Adult reading

Imaginative and, in places, engaging: but this is definitely there for young adults rather than the oldies amongst us! Lots of references to 80s and 90s films, video games and books, with a hint of horror in places. Frankly I should have realized that this was for a different audience.

1 person found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Jkwright
  • 09-17-19

Nothing special

Normally Stan Lee is full of surprises, but this left me wanting from the get go. The character development felt very recycled and the plot was so well signposted that any surprises became obvious.. Save your credits and listen to a podcast

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Toni
  • 07-05-19

Great, thought-provoking start

4.75 Stars While this has some similarities to other stories I have read this has genuinely interesting characters that I cared about, an engrossing plot that caused me to listen to it in one sitting and until well after midnight. As well as that it was a plot that made me think about how we depend upon and use technology in the real world too. The narration was good too. I really hope they decide to carry on releasing what Stan Lee has been working on prior to his death as I for one want to find out what happens next.

3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Greg
  • 07-04-19

so good, now wheres book 2?

so great, so well written too great to hear stans voice again need book 2 now though

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • sam
  • 07-01-19

Good but one problem

The story was good but the narrator let it down. Her voice felt flat, like her heart wasn’t in it.

10 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 08-20-20

excellently narrated

its my first audible and a great start!! excellent story and very well narrated.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • James Klein
  • 10-07-19

Original story but tough listening.

It's a shame, the story was quite original and futuristic however the narrator was just too difficult to listen to for all 37 chapters. Not sure whether it was the intent of Stan Lee but the narrator (Yara) was just annoyingly monotonous and lifeless. In addition, it just seemed pointless for Yara to read seemingly every word - word for word - including the filler words when mostly 2 characters in the book were talking at a time.... I imagine the paperback book could be a better option than audiobook unfortunately.

3 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Stephan
  • 01-29-20

story was okay, narration was boring

narration was very monotonous and every sentence seemed to be uttered with a half moan at the end. also narration of a male protagonist by female voice does not work well.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-16-20

Hatchbacks Review

this tale has more adult themes that are usually missing from comics but are used to great effect. very relevant to the direction of today's society. I'm very biased as I'm a Stan Lee fan but even with that is recommend it for some pass the time entertainment

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Stephen
  • 11-28-19

Slow to start but gets better .

I thought that it has an interesting plot. I hope that they're working book 2.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-16-19

must listen

A must listen, bring on book two. worth listening to the intro alone . 5 stars

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-02-19

addictive!

Loved the story from start to finish. It was such a captivating and addictive story, very hard to put down once you've started. The narrstor and creativeness of the story really takes you into a whole other world. It very easily paints the images into your mind. Will definitely listen to this again. Stan Lee, you have touched and inspired so many minds. you never fail to impress me! Rest In Peace Stan Lee ❤

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Lisa
  • 07-04-19

An action superhero movie in a book.

A great story, in line with dc and marvel. A little more modern in content- although it does feel like some of the ideas have been pulled from ready player one and iboy. Still it is fun and although I had an initial short annoyance to the readers voice, by the end of the book I really loved it. It also took some getting used to the score which pops up in the action scenes. Good, fun read..

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Kindle Customer
  • 07-11-19

Entertaining story without the theatre

An entertaining story full of stereotypical tropes which have been woven into a nice popcorn entertainment piece. There are deeper themes but it's not at the level of other YA fiction works or quite at the level of the MCU and other superhero narratives.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Kindle Customer
  • 07-10-19

Quite a good story, but...

would have liked to have had more than just one narrator. Found voice to be quite annoying at times.

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