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Sunday, September 20, 2009

Quantum Prophecy: The Awakening by Michael Carroll

Someone has watched The Incredibles and turned it into a novel. Great movie… mostly great book.

From the start, we jump into a comic-book-in-novel form: a huge battle rages amongst the superheroes and the villains. Ragnorak, a villain, wields a vehicle designed to strip the superheroes of their powers...

The battle ends in what becomes known 10 years later as the Day of Mystery. Because at the conclusion of the battle, all superheroes and villains disappeared. No one knows why. But countries around the world still celebrate the efforts of superhumans who fought for the innocent against the forces of evil.

Flash-forward. The superheroes did not all die that day. All who survived did lose their powers. But then they had children….

As Danny and his friend Colin grow into their powers and discover they are the offspring of ex-superhumans, they are kidnapped, and here things get complicated (and interesting).

(None of this gets entirely sorted out since this book is the first of a series…)

Danny’s father is Quantum, a former superhero. Quantum had the gift of prophecy and had a vision of Danny leading an army that would destroy most of the world. In order to avoid this, Facade poses as Danny’s father while Quantum is imprisoned, and powerful men collaborate to avoid the culmination fo this prophecy whilst simultaneously setting events in motion that look like they will trigger the fulfillment of this prophecy.

The author gets it right in some ways, so it’s a disappointment the times he strays. The good guys get that you can’t make an -ends-justify-the-means moral argument. The former good guy that chooses to violate this principle ends up appropriately as a bad guy. (Though, I should add, it is purposely confusing in this first of the series about who is good/bad and what their motive and purposes are. This is part of the development of climax, and I can’t say for sure where it’s going, although the moral message is accurate thus far.)

There is a bummer of a casual use of God’s name (about 3 times). There is a couple of girls who are known as DDG (drop-dead gorgeous) who tease the boy character being naked (not that he was; she was joking about it. Then she joked about seeing a tattoo on another character’s derriere. She would have been so much more attractive if she had been drop-dead modest and ladylike, too. Instead the author sets her up as kind of exciting. There is a reference to a party where the adults drank too much. And there is a time when a guard is lecturing a superhero about morality (he’s wrong, but he’s a bad guy), and she likens tuning him out to what she does with her mother’s “ranting.”

If the author keeps the good/bad distinct as they should be and doesn’t mix it all up in future novels in order to be “modern,” it could be a great series if you read it aloud to the younger tweens and skipped certain parts.



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