Superheroes and humanity


Copertina Seven WondersOk, let’s try something else, something that will push me out of my comfort zone and into the realm of “Oh, my freaking Cthulhu, my English used to be better than this mess!”.
And there’s no better way to do it than a review.
I warn you: I’ll ramble a lot, and I guess I’ll get sidetracked by my volatile mind, and probably repeat myself. But let’s give it a try and let’s ramble on. The subject? Seven Wonders by Adam Christopher.

I reviewed Christopher’s first novel, Empire States, some time ago (in italian, mind you!), an I really enjoyed  reading it. This time the ride was even better.

In a world where only one super villain remains, the Seven Wonders are sworn to protect the city of San Ventura, the metropolis the infamous Cowl keeps in a tight grip. And when Tony Prosdocimi, selling monkey in a computer store in San Ventura, finds himself with superpowers, the guy does the only sensible thing one would do: he decides to use them to help the Seven Wonders, kick the Cowl’s ass and free the city. There’s only one small problem: things aren’t so simple and huge, huge trouble is on the way.

The best thing of Seven Wonders is Tony. I liked the Seven Wonders and their struggle against the Cowl; I appreciated the complex psychology of detective Millar; I found the whole setting deeply intriguing; I loved Blackbird with all my laughing heart.
But to me the real focus was Tony.

He’s… gosh, Tony is a mess. He’s full of good intentions and fears. He’s naïve, fragile, baffled by the changes going on in his life.
And he’s a dick.
Sorry, Tony, you’re a dick. But you’re perfect that way.
Tony is the most human human-being I had the opportunity to read in a book in quite some time. He’s the embodiment of the fact that good intentions aren’t enough; that Uncle Ben’s saying, the one about great powers and stuff, is still a fitting advice nowadays.
And detective Sam Millar fittingly corroborates this statement: she too is full of good intentions and fear, seasoned with a great thirst for revenge. She’s committed to do the right thing and her duty as a policewoman, but she’s ready to do all she must to put the Cowl in jail. She’s an angry mess, whereas Tony’s a freer mess.

I don’t know if it makes sense, but that’s how I felt them.

And the fact I wanna ramble at length about the human characters in the book more than I want to speak of the superpowered ones, well, I guess that’s a symptom of the fact this lovely novel is, to me, a tale about humankind more than an epic about the eternal war between good and evil or a story about superpowered beings kicking asses.
To me, the real, deep theme of Seven Wonders is “Where does the dividing line between hero and villain lie?”

And the answer Sam gives herself is that the dividing line lies in you, in what drives you, in one’s capability of restraining oneself. It’s a deep, ethic line that one can loose sight of.
The superpowers are just the catalyst to get an action packed story and a lot of colorful and entertaining characters.
But human nature is the true core of the novel, and in exploring it Mr. Christipher does a marvelous job.

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  1. Pingback: THE AGE ATOMIC – one week to go! | Adam Christopher

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