Soon I Will Be Invincible - Austin Grossman

This is, effectively, a straightforward superhero comic told as a novel! Highly recommended by a couple of friends, it incorporates every cliché it can lay its hands on. So much so that I wondered in the first couple of chapters whether someone would realise that they're in a work of fiction, due to all their lives being so story-like, and otherwise inexplicably random. It's not subtle, and it's not particularly insightful or ironic or clever, beyond being a comic in novel form.

After the first couple of chapters, I was really quite unimpressed. It's a novel that's about superheroes, yes, but... that's not enough. However, what saves the book is that it's actually really well written. The characters are done well, with a surprising amount of depth, the backstories and plot keep you interested, and it all hangs together well. There are mild twists (nothing that'd be out of place in a comic book) and the integration of the characters as both super-heroes/villains and actual real people is done well, beyond the occasional lack-of-self-awareness-for-comic-(book-)effect.

Not earth-shattering, perhaps the best comparison I can give is with Ready Player One. It's not as retro, or as inventive, or as silly, or as guiltily fun. But it's not that far off.

Posted 2013-09-23.