Wednesday, January 14, 2015

It Runs in the Family: Superheroes or Supervillains?

I'm so thrilled that Macky has decided to start writing reviews again! It's mostly great for you, dear readers, since he often reads books of an entirely different sort from me and you'll now get a wider variety of reviews here on the little old blog. He's kicking things off this year with a middle grade series review for a set of books that sounds freaking fantastic. Give Macky a warm welcome back!

The Cloak Society series book covers
by Jeramey Kraatz
Series: The Cloak Society #1-3
Publisher: Harper Collins
Publication Date: October 2, 2012 / October 1, 2013 / September 30, 2014
Source/Format: Bought / Kindle e-book


Book nerd and comic book geek hybrids, lend me your hybrid ears. This gem of a trilogy brings the world of comic book superheroes and middle grade adventure books together in a whirlwind of awesome.

Clearly, I am a fan. Why so? I cut my teeth on reading with the Animorphs series by K.A. Applegate, the kind of middle grade stuff that took the genre and story seriously. Punches were not pulled. Narratives plowed through at the expense of even the reader’s expectations and hopes. Bad things happened in a world that suddenly got larger and scarier than we already thought it was. And our heroes… fought back. Hard.

That happens in comics a lot. Think Teen Titans and X-Men - young kids with power thrust in their hands facing a path they need to walk fraught with peril and needful danger for the sake of the greater good. But in middle grade books, where the characters are themselves in middle grade, how often do things get really dark? Off the top of my head, the likes of Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, and Ender’s Game (not technically a middle grade book per se, but the characters were FOR SURE in the middle grade age range) come to mind.

And then, There’s The Cloak Society. It has everything I personally look for in an adventure. To me, the adventure formula is simple: I want to team up with my best friends and use our powers to save the world together.

I love the characters (The Mist is my favorite! Watch out for that girl, because she's so lovable.) Alex, the main character, happens to be a fun take on the anti-hero trope, and is so consistent and well written. He knows his mind and he carries the narrative on his shoulders. Plus, the blue light telekinesis! (I’d take pink light, if I could have telekinesis. But alas, I’m still working on activating the rest of my brain’s 95% untapped potential. Yes, more than 5% of the human brain is accessible. But I’m writing this review on a cold winter morning.)

Powers. Teamwork. Back story. Crazy odds. Friends that are family and family that are friends. A fight for the soul of a city and the greater good brewing up into a mighty storm of strategies and counter strategies woven together into a coming of age story of a new generation of heroes.

5 stars, and only because I love it. It’s well-written, and I will for sure re-read this series again and again.

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