Rise of the Heroes (Hero.Com) by Andy Briggs

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Rise of the Heroes (Hero.Com) by Andy Briggs

Category: Teens
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Jason Mark Curley
Reviewed by Jason Mark Curley
Summary: If you could download superpowers from the web, would you go to Hero.Com or Villain.Net?
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 192 Date: June 2008
Publisher: Oxford University Press
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-0192755438

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After a game of Laser Tag, the rain begins to pour. Toby and his friend Pete, get locked out of the house by Toby's sister, Lorna. She watches them with her friend, Emily, as they get soaked and a thunderstorm begins. There is a loud crack of lightning that hits a tree near the house and Lorna soon lets them in.

Stuck for anything else to do, they decide to look at trailers for upcoming films on the internet. Whilst doing so, another bolt of lightning crashes right on them, shaking the house and seemingly destroying the computer. Toby is upset he may have destroyed his father's computer, but when he presses the power button the computer begins to come back to life. The film trailers they were looking at before have been replaced with a new set of icons, and the title HERO.COM at the top of the page. It's a website than can give people superpowers.

The next day they try the site again, and this time all of them take a power and accept a mission from the website: to stop a bank robbery which is taking place quite near them. They fly to the bank and stop the bad guys, but a villain called Doc Tempest, emerges from the bank and fights back. They stop him from taking the money, but in revenge he kidnaps Lorna and Toby's mother.

What dastardly plan does he have in store and how will the children get their mother back?

This book has been published at the same time as Council of Evil (Villain.Net) and the books really deserve to be read together. Though both of the books are, unsurprisingly, almost identical in style, the plots and characters are radically different. Of the two, I preferred the Villain side, as it was less subject to falling into cliché, it was a lot darker and I liked the central character a great deal more (that might say more about me than the book however). At the start of the Hero side, the four characters seem to be there just to make up numbers. It's hard to highlight major differences between the two girls and the two boys. This does get a little better as the book progresses, and the characters seem to find themselves.

This is pretty much a classic superhero style story. I think the translation to this format has offered the chance to utilise some literary effects that might not be thought worthwhile in comic books. The novel form gives you the chance to get much closer to the characters, and step right down from the action when needed. Both books are paced very well and keep you going all the way through.

Yes the story lines interlink, but not as much as you would expect, and also with little to no damage to the mystery of the plot lines – quite an achievement if you ask me. It's all very well written and readable, not to mention, a lot of fun!

Coming, as this does, post Heroes (TV Show) I think this is going to be a popular title and attract a lot of comic book fans who might not otherwise want to pick up a novel. I can see strong sequel possibilities here too, especially with the character development and unique concepts evident in these novels.

Here at Bookbag Towers we've seen an edition where both books were issued in one 'flip' volume. The two in one, reversible book format is great fun, and seems like a novel idea (I know, it's like you can see that joke coming a mile off and there's just nothing you can do about it). We really hope that the publishers will take this idea further.

I'm giving Hero.Com four stars, and Villain.Net four and a half. So that means the joint book gets four and a quarter. Hmm, that might mess up The Bookbag's star ratings system; maybe these books have brought out the villain in me!

Buy Rise of the Heroes (Hero.Com) by Andy Briggs at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Rise of the Heroes (Hero.Com) by Andy Briggs at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Rise of the Heroes (Hero.Com) by Andy Briggs at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Rise of the Heroes (Hero.Com) by Andy Briggs at Amazon.com.


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