Can the powerless son of a superhero do what his father couldn't? Spencer Harrington is the son of the Crimson Mask, the world's most powerful Augment. Ever since witnessing his mother's abduction by a psychotic supervillain two years ago, he's been confined to his father's arctic bunker. Haunted by nightmares and tired of eating cardboard rations in the "Icehole", Spencer launches into his father's dangerous world to uncover his mother's fate. With no superpowers of his own, Spencer stumbles through a web of conspiracies and top secret facilities armed only with his multi-tool and an arsenal of weapons grade smart-assery. Along the way he rallies a team of everyday people and cast-off Augments, but he soon discovers that his father's nemesis, the Black Beetle, isn't his only enemy or even his worst.
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A review copy of this book was provided by the author, narrator, or publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.
I have a weakness for superhero stories that portray a superhero’s personal life instead of focusing just on the hero while relegating their family to the background. You’d think that their familial relationships would be some of the most important and intricate relationships in their lives, and often, it’s rarely touched on or touched on in a way that supports only whatever the hero has going on. These relationships have to be some of the most complicated relationships that heroes have, and this books explores this in its own way. Spencer is a likable, sarcastic kid (and just like a kid he can get really annoying at times), and while he may not have powers, he has skills that are handy, showing that a hero doesn’t always have to have godlike powers to be useful. Spencer’s father does seem to truly care for his son, but his work has left him distant and controlling, and it felt perfectly understandable that Spencer would resent his father, especially in the wake of his mother’s abduction. Situations like that bring about tough questions such as why can his father save others but could not save the most important person in their lives?
This book was infused with humor, angst, and action. Spencer is pulled in deeper and deeper into his father’s world and learns that things aren’t so simple as he once thought they were. There’s something always going on in this book, but it does manage to still give readers a good sense of the characters and various relationships are explored throughout the book aside from Spencer and his family’s. This book takes time to process emotions and thoughts rather than skimming over them, and it really capitalizes on Spencer finding personal strength. The book is told from other point-of-views aside from Spencer’s, but Spencer’s story is told from first person where the others are not. This may be jarring from some readers, but regardless, the other sections are well-written and absorbing. Spencer can read a little younger than he is. This feels like a coming of age story, but I would think that maybe Spencer is a little too old for that categorization. Then again, we can all hit a late spurt.
The narration didn’t work for me. Mitchell Lucas wasn’t a bad narrator, but I found him to be a bit monotonous. Emotions I was expecting from passages just weren’t there, and it hampered my enjoyment of the book because it took me a while to look beyond the narration and focus on the story. I don’t know if Lucas is a new narrator. This is the first book I’ve read by him, but I think with a little more time and practice, he could be just fine. And it could’ve just been his reading for this particular book. Sometimes, I find that one book isn’t representative of a narrator’s talent and have revisited my thoughts about certain narrators after hearing more of their work.
This is an underdog story filled with familiar emotions in a superpowered setting. Comic book fans that enjoy X-Men or Superman will probably get the most enjoyment from this. The story is familiar and it has that comic book feel that appeals to comics fans. However, lovers of genre fiction and people who aren’t particular about genre fiction can enjoy this story as well with it’s easy, engaging story line.
I love everything about superheroes, so of course a book about the son of one would interest me. It's done in a way that even if you aren't a lover of superheroes, you can still get into the story. Our main character ends up on quite an adventure, and it's a lot of fun to read about. There's a lot of technology, and at times it confused me a little bit. It didn't take long for me to figure out what was going on at these times though. The characters were all awesome, even the "villains." I love when an author can include sarcastic humor in the dialogue. Mitchell Lucas was the narrator of the audiobook, and he did a fantastic job with the voicing. He was able to make each character sound different enough that it makes the story easy to follow. I really enjoyed this audiobook, and I would be interested to see this become a series. I recommend this book to any fan of superhero stories for sure, but also anyone that likes a good adventure story as well! **I was provided with this audiobook in exchange for an honest review. My opinions would be no different if this was not the case