This book is among the best I’ve read this year, and it might actually be the best. Hero is Perry Moore’s first novel, and he nailed his debut perfectly. The story revolves around teenager Thom Creed, son of the superhero Major Might (aka Hal Creed). As the story opens, Thom is dealing with two “problems”: his own superpowers are starting to reveal themselves (a problem because his father hates superpowers; Major Might, being more in the Batman mold, with no powers to speak of) and he’s gay (a problem that Thom feels will have most of the world against him).
In short order Thom manages to save a bus load of people, using his powers to heal, and ends up with an invitation to try out for The League. And this is where I stop talking about the plot. Unlike some novels where you can talk about chunks of plot without giving away anything too important, this novel has a wonderfully involving plot where everything builds on everything else. So, you’re just going to have to get the book and read for yourself because I refuse to ruin it. I will say that I was moved by this book, to the point of tears a couple of times.
There are a few things I will talk about though. Thom working out his issues with his powers and being gay was well done. All teens (and adults for that matter) grapple with major issues in their lives and there are no illusions here that Thom makes all the right choices. His choices have very real consequences for those around him, and it’s good to see that played out. It also yields some great words of wisdom, like this passage I quoted earlier in the week.
It’s a lot of fun figuring out who in The League matches up to the DC and Marvel superheros we’ve all grown up with. As I said above, Major Might is very much in the Batman mold; Warrior Woman is Wonder Woman-esque, and so on.
Lastly, Hero takes place in a city that had a disaster that resembles the World Trade Center disaster, although in the case of the novel it was otherworldly invaders that caused the destruction. As I read the book in the week before the 9/11 commemorations, it certainly added another emotional level to the book.
I read somewhere this week (sorry, I can’t remember where), that Moore is hoping to make Thom’s adventures into a series. I hope that’s the case because I would love to see more of Thom and his world.
Update: Read an interview with author Perry Moore at AfterElton.