Today is my stop for the blog tour hosted by That Bookshelf Bitch, in which I review Secondhand Origin Stories. I’ll leave the author bio and links as to where you can get a copy for yourself below.
After about a decade of drawing comics independently or with small presses, Lee started writing prose out of a combination of peer pressure and spite, then continued out of attachment to their favorite made-up people. They live in Minnesota even though it is clearly not a habitat humans were ever meant to endure, with their lovely wife/editor, the world’s most perfect baby, and books in every room of the house.
If you like categories, they’re an ENFJ Slytherin Leo. If you’re looking for demographics they’re an agender bisexual with a couple of disabilities. If you’re into lists of likes: Lee loves comics, classical art, round animals, tattoos, opera, ogling the shiner sciences, and queer stuff.
Author website — https://www.leeblauersouth.com/
Twitter — http://twitter.com/AmmoniteInk
WHERE TO FIND THE BOOK:
AND NOW ONTO THE REVIEW:
Title: Secondhand Origin Stories
Author: Lee Blauersouth
Genre: Young Adult: Science-Fiction
Publication Date: 15th March 2018
My Rating: 3.75/5 stars
Opal has been planning to go to Chicago and join the Midwest’s superhero team, the Sentinels, since she was a little kid. That dream took on a more urgent tone when her superpowered dad was unjustly arrested for protecting a neighbor from an abusive situation. Now, she wants to be a superhero not only to protect people, but to get a platform to tell the world about the injustices of the Altered Persons Bureau, the government agency for everything relating to superpowers.
But just after Opal’s high school graduation, a supervillain with a jet and unclear motives attacks the downtown home of the Sentinels, and when Opal arrives, she finds a family on the brink of breaking apart. She meets a boy who’s been developing secret (and illegal) brain-altering nanites right under the Sentinel’s noses, another teenage superhero-hopeful who looks suspiciously like a long-dead supervillain, and the completely un-superpowered daughter of the Sentinels’ leader. Can four teens on the fringes of the superhero world handle the corruption, danger, and family secrets they’ve unearthed?
When I read the synopsis to this book, I was super excited to dive into it. Mostly because it was a book about teenage superheroes and they were a diverse cast, which sounded similar to Not Your Sidekick, one of my all-time favourite books. I really wanted to love this book but I ended up just enjoying it and finding it unmemorable.
The novel was in multiple perspectives, four to be exact, and whilst I ended up not minding it too much and the story linked together nicely despite the change of perspective, I still found that I didn’t like the multiple perspectives. BUT this is more a personal preference then the author’s writing, because I did find that the story flowed quite well and there was hardly any confusion with the plot.
This book has a lovely, diverse cast, including: a person of colour, gender-fluid character, characters on the LGBTQIA+ spectrum and a character acquiring a disability after an accident.
I enjoyed reading about the four main characters, they were a diverse cast and you could see their relationship develop. Opal is a black characters (I can’t say for sure what her nationality is) and she was independent and intriguing and I adored her. Though she is reckless and is quick to protect, even those she does not know, which is an admirable quality in a superhero. Jamie was sweet as well, but when I first met her, I genuinely thought she was 10 years old at most because her voice just seemed so young. I grew to like her as the story went on, but when I first met her, I kind of found her annoying. Oops hehe.
I adored Yael, even though I found xe’s voice hard to get into and understand at the beginning. Xe’s fiercely protective of Jamie and Issac, who he considers his siblings, and is a gender-fluid shapeshifter who uses xe and xyr as pronouns. I’m still on the fence about Issac, I don’t dislike him necessarily but I don’t love him. But I can admire his adaptability and clever mind. I guess we can’t love all the characters in a book, right? But I do love Martin, who is the family artificial intelligence (AI).
I think what made me love the characters more was the relationship they had together. Jamie, Issac and Yael seem to have grown up together and they are loyal and love each other wholeheartedly, doing anything and everything to protect each other and bring comfort to each other. They all end up adding Opal to their sibling family too, which I found was sweet and cute. Honestly, they all need to be protected from the world, especially Martin, who I think is my favourite character (yes, the AI is my fave character. Don’t judge me).
I think Lee Blauersouth’s writing is easy to read and they have a way with words that creates vivid imagery in one’s head. However, I found the plot to be extremely slow and the world-building to be lacking. I would have liked to know more about the history of the world and more about how the prisons work and how the Altered came to be and who the APB are. There are snippets of this information, but not enough to get a full picture. The plot, in my opinion, only really picks up after about halfway of the book, which I think is too long as the audience’s engagement will have wavered by then. The pacing was really slow too, which made it harder to keep wanting to read in my opinion. I felt most of the conflict was centred around family, but then I guess it did expand.
The last couple of chapters (the chapters are long) were much more fast paced and I devoured the end of the book in one sitting because I just needed to know what would happen to the squad. Despite the ending’s predictability, I quite enjoyed it and was satisfied by it.
One thing that would be useful for this story is an appendix of superhero names and their civilian identities, because I struggled to figure who was who because the changing perspectives would change how the characters viewed the superheroes
Overall, it was a cute read, and it is not that long of a book and I definitely would recommend you pick this up, especially if you love superhero stories. I want to see more of the characters so I will be picking up the sequel when it comes out.
BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE
23 April (Monday)
- Secondhand Origin Stories blog tour launch
- Excerpt from Stuffed Shelves
- Feature post from The Backwards Bookshelf
- Feature post from Candid Ceillie
- Review from The Backwards Bookshelf
- Review from Crimson Blogs
- Review from Samantha House
24 April (Tuesday)
- Excerpt from Not Just Fiction
- Excerpt from Utopia State of Mind
- Feature post from Unputdownable Books
- Review from That Bookshelf Bitch
- Review from Bookish and Awesome
- Review from Cliste Bella
- Review from wallflower’s plight
25 April (Wednesday)
- Excerpt from BookMyHart
- Excerpt from The Nerdy Elite
- Review from Candid Ceillie
- Review from F A N N A
- Review from forthenovellovers
- Review from Igniting Pages
- Review from Spines In a Line
26 April (Thursday)
- Excerpt from Provocatrix
- Review from Bookish Wanderess
- Review from bookishwisps
- Review from Flying Paperbacks
- Review from TheHufflepuffNerdette
- Review from My Reading List
- Review from Unputdownable Books
27 April (Friday)
- Author interview on That Bookshelf Bitch
- Excerpt from Afire Pages
- Feature post from Cliste Bella
- Review from The Book Maiden
- Review from The Little Miss Bookworm
- Review from Reader Fox and a Box of Books
- Review from The Youngvamp’s Haven