I actually read a book again! I’m slowly having more time for that, mostly because instead of binge-watching shows on Netflix I binge-do homework, and I’m starting to run out of homework for the semester. At which point I start reading again.
Anyhow, I just read S.J. Delos’ So Not A Hero – it’d been on my list for a while, and I finally got around to it when I realized that my Amazon Prime lets me get a free book every once in a while.
I quite enjoyed it, to be honest – there were a couple scenes of a graphic nature that I skimmed past, because I’m not really interested in that sort of thing, but other than that, I found it all enjoyable. Sure, there were one or two things that slipped past the editor,1 but it’s the first book Delos has written, and I’m certainly not going to be up in arms about one or two spelling mistakes. It happens.
Now, a bit of background on the story: it’s a Superhero Story, where people randomly become Enhanced, some sort of Mysterious Cosmic Energy2 giving them various superpowers.
The heroine of the story, an asian-american who goes by Karen,3 has just been evicted from her (rather terrible) apartment. The reason? Her landlord found out that she’s an ex-convict, out on parole at the moment. Her parole officer starts giving her a hard time about being down on her luck and is just generally an awful person.
You see bits and pieces of what she went to prison for, but the long and short of it is that she was a supervillain. “Crushette” may not be the best name, but there’s a lovely bit of tongue-in-cheek referencing to copyright law here where the book discusses a law that was passed after the first Enhanced folk started showing up, when “every city had their own Superman and Hulk.” The comic book companies leaned on Congress, and Congress made it illegal4 to use an existing superhero/villain name for yourself. Helpfully, they also established a centralized database of the names, which kept everything from getting too complicated.
And then, while waiting for the bus, Karen catches a plasma blast5 that would’ve hit the non-Enhanced people also waiting at the bus stop. She gets them to safety and helps the superhero in the fight take down a group of supervillains, some of whom she’d worked with in the past.
And he offers her a job, saying that there’s a spot open on his superhero team.
At which point she goes into a lovely little spiral of self-doubt and introspection, and the book becomes a sarcastic redemption story. Karen spent two years in a maximum-security prison: she’s not going to accept that good things can just happen to her, and she spent too long as a supervillain to not have some great banter ready for every situation.
From there, the book gets fun. The superhero team is a dysfunctional little group, the villains aren’t afraid to swear, and Karen has a running issue with the fact that, while she’s indestructible, her clothes aren’t.
Basically, it’s a villain-becomes-hero superhero story told for adults, and I quite enjoyed it. Give it a read.
- Or rather, weren’t edited in such a way that made me wonder if there’d been an editor at all – not egregious errors, just, like, spelling mistakes every once in a while. ↩
- I use capital letters to express my sarcasm ↩
- She changed her name to fit the ‘American standard’ to spite her family, it’s a whole plot arc. ↩
- Punishable by, if I’m remembering right, something like five years in prison. ↩
- Or something, I’m paraphrasing here – this is still the first two chapters that I’m describing, and the book is significantly longer than that. ↩