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Editorial Reviews

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

Publisher's Summary

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 League—the very organization of superheroes that spurned his dad. Then there’s 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 father’s 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.

Critic Reviews

"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)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Ethan
  • Watertown, WI USA
  • 03-04-16

Really great story and characters

This was a very good, engaging story. I highly recommend it.

The one thing I wish was different is that the narrator makes nearly every woman sound like a bitter Valley Girl. It's easy enough to roll with but I picture the characters with their heads tilted and a weird expression on the face whenever a woman spoke.

That's the only possible negative. He really nailed the voice of the main character and that's vital.

Highly recommended. I hope you enjoy it!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Just fun and funny story.

I love a story that I haven't already heard 100 times before. Great performance. For anyone who grew up on super heroes, you'll love this.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Great theory.. Bad Narration

I loved the idea of this book and it was pretty well executed for the first half of the novel. However the use of many female characters were marred by narrator's inflections. I found it too distracting and at times nauseating. I really liked that there could be a gay hero, and I really liked that there was a book without all the gay sex that's used in some many other "gay" novels. Yet there were many plot holes in this book especially toward the end. Not worth the credit unless you found it on sale.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Rehashed superheros and bad romance

The Audible reviewer Megan Volpert starts her review with "No one on earth has anything negative to say about this book", but I find that hard to believe. For one thing, the author should have invented more of his own superheros instead of re-hashing old favorites. He renamed them, but it's apparent that Superman, Aquaman, Wonder Woman, etc. are all there. The plot is pretty predictable and offers no real surprises.

Thom encounters a LOT of SUPER-negative reaction to his gayness which I suppose if you lived in deepest, darkest Biblebelt or else in the heart of Red-neck-land (often the same thing) you would probably still encounter. It's a little hard for me to go with it in this day and age, but then I live in a socially advanced city so maybe I'm not the best judge on that.

The premise is great, I love the idea of a gay superhero kid. I like his superhero talent, and that he has a great relationship with his Dad, and the story of his disappeared Mom. It's apparent that this is Moore's first novel, but for a first novel the writing is overall good enough. I hope that in future novels he develops his own line of superheros and makes them become classics rather than reusing other people's creations.

Moore writes romance very badly, and the story would have been a lot more interesting without it, gay or straight. It doesn't matter who is involved in a romance, if it's badly written it really grates and romance is well known for being one of the hardest things to write well. Our hero Thom thinks like the heroine in a cheesy romance novel whenever he starts contemplating his own gayness or love life. He jumps to silly conclusions that are obviously wrong, and reacts with equal silliness. Could have been done a lot better, or better yet left out. I dinged this story down to 2 stars instead of 3 for this.

Moore also leaves the open question, if Thom can heal everyone, why doesn't he heal everyone? There are sick people all around him, but he doesn't always fix them. I guess I agree with "David" who also reviewed this book saying: "Yay" for the message, "Meh" for the story".

The narrator did a great job. There are a handful of narrators who are my very favorite and I wouldn't say he falls into that category, but if I wanted another book and it was narrated by him it I'd consider that to be just fine. I didn't mind his voices or inflections at all, and I'm pretty picky about narration.


8 of 10 people found this review helpful

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I LOVE THIS BOOK!

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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Jennifer
  • Calgary, Alberta, Canada
  • 07-16-11

Great Download

There really isn't anything that I can say that hasn't been more eloquently put in the reviews already. I really enjoyed this book, both the writing and the reader are excellent. It's certainly one I'd recommend to anyone!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Sydney
  • Calgary, AB, Canada
  • 02-20-11

interesting concept

'hero' plays out an interesting concept, but in a disappointing and two-dimensional way. i thought the narration was fairly entertaining (with the exception of one or two character voices that irked me). however, the author wildly over-explicates what's going on. the narrative trails off into details constantly, and definitely at the wrong times. it comes off as though the author thinks you're very mentally slow.

i can't think of anyone i'd recommend this book to. it wasn't awful, but there are much better ways to spend your time.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Swing and a miss

I thought the idea was intriguing but the delivery was sloppy. I kept waiting for the writing to tighten up and draw me in and it never did. I found myself increasingly annoyed that I cared so little about the story.

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

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Important examination devolves into misogyny

Would you try another book from Perry Moore and/or Michael Urie?

Probably not.

Has Hero turned you off from other books in this genre?

Maybe. I'm not feeling eager for more at the moment

What didn’t you like about Michael Urie’s performance?

The narrator obviously has a gift for portraying different voices and reading in an engaging way. However he amplifies the book’s overall sense of sexism and misogyny with the horrible, caricature voices he applies to women characters. His character voice portrayals, alone, render the majority of them wholly unsympathetic. They fall short of being human beings. Additionally, the books escalates in such a way that he begins reading in a style that is greatly overused in this genre. A sort of pat reading style lacking originality or distinction from so many other books.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

I appreciate the author’s attempt at portraying the feelings of despair and shame that so many (young) LGBQ people experience when coming to terms with their sexual orientation, and trying to face themselves and the world around them. The heteronormativity, widespread heterosexism, and internalized homophobia.

Any additional comments?

I had high expectations of this book, and found myself very disappointed. While I really appreciated the main character’s wit and dry humor in the opening sequence of events, this sensation devolved into disdain. While the book explores some important aspects of internalized heterosexism/homophobia woven into a somewhat interesting take on the superhero world of the Justice League (with aliases), it also has all too many of the faults found in this genre. The main character is constantly in crisis, feeling one thing then another in unbelievable, overwhelming extremes. “Never before” and “more than ever” appear at every turn as there is no part of the world he has the ability to take in or processes. He is in constant agony over everything. His lack of self-reflection and observation/awareness of anything outside of himself became more and more wearing, and a once sympathetic character struggling to come to terms with himself and oppression in the world ultimately comes off as wholly self-obsessed and self-absorbed – greatly as a result of his own self hatred and dissociation. The main character cannot, even in the end, see more than two feet ahead of him. Additionally, the author becomes increasingly misogynistic as the book continues. Every single woman character is duplicitous and betrays various male characters due to their inability to manage their feelings with the exception of one – Wonder Woman (who is known by a different alias in the book). Wonder Woman, however, is overtly labeled a “bitch” and the author shows outright disdain for her character at every turn. The narrator amplifies this general sense of sexism with the horrible, caricature voices he applies to women characters, rendering the majority wholly unsympathetic. There is also a profound reliance on the idea of the “strong male” archetype which emphasizes a kind of heroism that is only embodied by male characters. Invulnerability, a brotherhood based upon an overwhelming sense of “bros before hoes,” and masculinity that is built in stark and complete contrast to anything feminine and therefore “weak.” The book ultimately became painful to listen to, and I think it’s truly a shame that a book with so much potential had to rely so heavily on misogyny, saturated/exaggerating misery, and pockets of racism to propel itself forward – all wrapped up with a neat and implausible bow as an ending.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • David
  • West Lafayette, IN, United States
  • 10-05-15

Good Story but a misleading summary

So this is a great story about the struggles of being a gay boy in America. I see this all of the time in daily life and it make me very sad for the kids who have to deal with that kind of persecution. That being said, the novel summary plays like it is a super hero book. In reality it is a book about the trials and tribulations of a kid who doesn't align with societies preconceived placement who just happens to have super powers. It is a good novel with a good story but make no mistake, this is not a super hero novel, this is a novel that attempts to bring light to a challenging social problem through super hero fiction. This story gets 4 star instead of five not because of the afore mentioned summary issues, but instead because of the 'woe is me' feeling through the book. Instead of a feeling of empowerment, I just felt sad which made it a hard listen.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful