V Is for Villain

Peter Moore. Hyperion, $17.99 (336p) ISBN 978-1-4231-5749-6
In this provocative adventure, Moore (Red Moon Rising) explores the dichotomies of good versus evil and nature versus nurture through the story of a teenage scion of a heroic family who’s forced into a life of rebellion. Because he’s “unpowered,” Brad Baron can never live up to the standards set by his legendary father and brother, but he strives on—until rampant prejudice and casual neglect lead him to make friends with a band of malcontents bent on changing the system through supervillainy. Discovering his latent, illegal power of telepathy, Brad adopts their mission as his own and discovers dark secrets underlying everything he’s ever believed. While Moore’s story stands on its own as a superpowered coming-of-age story, complete with a bad-girl love interest and dramatic scenery-destroying battles, it’s also a subtle criticism of institutionalized privilege—in this case, featuring a society in which flashy physical powers are valued more than less-obvious ones, and normal people are practically faceless bystanders. Come for the fights and tights, stay for the fascinating evolution of a sympathetic villain. Ages 12–up. Agent: Jodi Reamer, Writers House. (May)
Reviewed on: 03/17/2014
Release date: 05/20/2014
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