Masks: Rise of Heroes by Hayden Thorne ~ Review by Shelby

Reading this book is like reading an episode of “The Incredibles.” It’s a lot of cute sweet fun. There’s a very old school comic book-esq feel to the narrative and a 1970’s (Ok so I picked a random decade.) genre style that is more heart warming than the modern blood and destruction versions of our superheroes.
Rise of HeroesTitle: Masks: Rise of Heroes

Author: Hayden Thorne

Publisher: Torquere/Prizm

My Rating: 4 of 5 stars

From the Publisher:

Strange things are happening in Vintage City, and high school goth boy Eric seems to be right in the middle of them. There’s a new villain in town, one with super powers, and he’s wreaking havoc on the town, and on Eric’s life. The new super hero who springs up to defend Vintage City is almost as bad, making Eric all hot and bothered, enough so that he almost misses the love that’s right between his nose. Peter is Eric’s best friend, and even if he does seem to be hiding something most of the time, he finds a way to show Eric how he feels in between attacks on trains and banks and malls. The two boys decide to start dating, much to the chagrin of their other best buddy, Althea, who has a terrible crush on Peter, and a secret or two of her own to keep. As the fight between the villain, known as the Devil’s Trill, and superhero Magnifiman picks up, Eric’s relationship with Peter almost ends before it begins when Eric finds out about Peter’s special talents, which might just rank Peter as a superhero in his own right. When the Trill takes an interest in Eric, too, Peter and Althea, along with Magnifiman and Eric’s normal, middle-class family all have to work together to keep Eric, and their city, safe. Can they figure out the super villain’s plan in time?

My View

Eric is a pretty normal sixteen year old, well normal by the standards of all the crazy new things showing up around town. Sure he’s a goth boy and gay and has a yen for blue food coloring. He does ok in school preferring his art classes to his math and science and enjoys spending time with his two best friends Peter and Althea. All in all a pretty normal boy. That is until he suddenly seems to be the epicenter of ever crime incident around the city that the new superheroes around town seem to be showing up at.

Peter is Eric’s best friend, but he is also in love with him. He’s better at science and math but has an artist’s soul. And he has a secret. It’s a pretty big one and when evil super-villain the Devil’s Trill’s battle picks up with superhero Magnifiman the secret might just come spilling out. The new relationship between Peter and Eric might not survive.

So this book was really cute and sweet. The beginning ran a little slow, but as the action picked up things became a little more entertaining. Of course opening things up with a crashing train and a flying rescue certainly grabs the attention. I enjoyed the little quirks of this story a lot. Eric’s obsession with blue dye was hysterical. I loved it! I swear I wanted to see him dye his eggs blue! Such a fun little quirk that made me grin every time it came up. I enjoyed how the superheroes were just emerging and that these kids were just discovering what their powers meant and how to control them. Eric’s perspective was amusing and I particularly liked Althea and the craziness her life was becoming.

Frankly I felt like there was a really nice comic book quality to the feel of the town and the characters. I would have loved watching this as a Dreamworks animated film or something. I particularly enjoyed Althea’s developing powers since technology is the dominating force of the modern age. Being able to rag on your friends from blocks away by infiltrating their computer…priceless. 😀 I liked the goofiness of the standard superhero/reporter relationship and the way it was portrayed as both are secondary characters here. I mean Magnifiman…really…that’s the best you can come up with? It doesn’t even sound super. 😉

This story fits very well in the YA category, a good read for a teenage audience. It doesn’t necessarily match up well for an adult audience. A lot of the emotions are very surface and nothing gets too deep. This would be a fantastic book to try and get some teen who only deigns to read a graphic novel into reading something with a little more substance. It’s a light hearted story with interesting and humorous superhero characters and a normal boy trying to find his way through his teenage years and first love. As a book even attempting to play to an older audience the emotional developments left a lot to be desired. I never felt more than a best friend connection between Peter and Eric despite their developing relationship. It all came about really quickly and I didn’t follow the progression well in Eric’s head from “he’s my best friend” to “wow he’s amazing.” In fact I got more emotion from Eric when he figured out what they’d all been hiding than I did in how he felt about Peter.

While I very much enjoyed the book I didn’t love it. I am curious to see what happens in the adventures of Peter, Eric, and Althea in the future and what new dastardly plots our evil villain masterminds can come up with. For a light-hearted romp with daring do and unimpeachable moral characters this is a lot of fun. Right is right and wrong is wrong and that’s the way it should be. Of course the clichéd over preachy characteristics of Magnifiman fit right into this world. Even if his long winded proselytizing does make Eric shake his head. And Peter is a sweetheart and I’m cheering for him. All in all a fun story and I’m glad I read it.

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Farewell Giveaway
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.

Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,

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