Published November 26th, 2016
Standalone (FOR NOW)
I always get a teeny bit nervous when an author sends me an email asking me to review their book, whether the book piques my interest or not. The reason being that a year ago when I really dedicated myself to the book world and reviewing books seriously (rather than the old “it was good!” reviews I used to write when I first started using Goodreads), I told myself that I would always be honest with how I felt, whether I enjoyed a book or subsequently did not. I would never advocate for something that I didn’t like, but the thought of writing a negative or critical review of book that I have had interaction with the author with… now that is the stuff of nightmares. However, when Steven Bereznai shot me an email a couple of months ago asking me to read his book, I Want Superpowers, I was really, REALLY intrigued, and said yes without so much as a second thought.
Now, with that out-of-the-way, holy hell.
Steven Bereznai has created something really special here, something that speaks to the certified nerd in me. He has not only concocted a story that feels wholly original, characters that were intriguing and believable, and a plot that kept me eager to see unfold; but he did all of this in less than 300 freaking pages.
I have read several reviews that say this book combines aspects of The Hunger Games and 1984, and while I agree with that sentiment for the first quarter of the book, after a certain point I Want Superpowers finds its own unique path. While there is no doubt that this book should be classified in the dystopia subgenre (a genre I usually stay away from, mind you) there was not a cliché dystopia feel to it. Perhaps that was the incorporation of the comic books and superheroes, but I was never overwhelmed by the “death to the oppressive society!” nuance. And, as it turns out, things aren’t always what they seem…
I really enjoyed the main character Caitlin. She was snarky and had fight in her, but it didn’t seem like she embodied that “special snowflake” persona that a lot of the dystopia books use. She really was a better character based on the people around her, and I always love authors who create characters like this: the ones that are developed with their relationships rather than just their actions.
The writing was, in one word, fantastic. I was engaged, and the story is told in a first person POV from a character that is competent in actually telling the story. There are messages of love, love that extends past romantic relationships. Messages of friendship that are real and genuine. The importance of independence and sacrifice can be found in these pages too, the fact that a person can be a superhero without having super powers.
I really don’t want to get into any spoilers or talk about what happens and what doesn’t happen in the course of the book, mostly because I read this book with a completely blank slate and I loved it for that reason. I highly recommend this book to any superhero fans out there, whether it’s a mild interest or a rabid obsession. If you liked Brandon Sanderson’s Reckoners Trilogy, you should most certainly give I Want Superpowers a go.