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Cheap at twice the price

By Stable, author of The Archive Of Unusual Events

Aug 17, 2016: Price is a superhero story that’s a lot of fun and has been going for some time. I’ve read the first book (Death of a Hero) and am some way into the second, so my review is based just from that experience.

The first book actually seems superior to the second. We have a protagonist with an at-first-sight uninteresting superpower (instant healing) and the story is about both his growth as a person and his growth finding ways to make his power effective enough to make him a dangerous combatant. Good stuff.

The start is clunky though. In this world superpowers are fairly rare (I think it’s mentioned at one point there are about 100 people with powers per million, so 1 in 10,000), but the gaining of powers seems to be a fairly easy process, admittedly with some kind of price. So it’s basically just lucking out. This is a little unsatisfactory but not immersion breaking. A random teenager gaining powers because his crush died and instantly deciding to become a revenge-killing vigilante did hurt my immersion . . . But it gets the story moving and if you allow that one conceit then it all makes sense from there.

Every character also is a little obsessed with the classifications of powers. These seem a little borrowed from Worm, with some similar terms, but they are their own system. The obsession may reflect the author’s categorising nature, but I could be projecting there. Having said that the powers are varied and interesting, including some truly innovative ideas. (A sentient momentum-wave-based lifeform? Love it.)

I have a few other gripes. The United States has been shattered into the Fragmented States for example, but this doesn’t seem to impact anything that occurs. Powers are regularly described as ignoring the laws of physics, but no reason is given or even hinted at . . . nor does anyone seem to be putting any effort into finding out why or how. The second book has so far been a lot slower paced than the first. Finally, every time someone says the word "nope" we apparently need to hear about how they pop the p on the end. None of these issues are a huge problem at this point, some may be covered in later books, and the sass and banter between the characters is a joy to read.

So to sum up: Price is a good fun read with great dialogue. Speed yourself past the opening and get into some good, solid superheroing.

5 of 5 members found this review helpful.
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