Monday, May 6, 2013

Failstate: A Review

Title: Failstate
Series: Failstate #1
Author: John Otte
Genre: YA Superhero

Ratings: Craft—4, Content—4, Overall—4.0 out of 5 stars

Book Trailer:

A 16-year-old boy is competing for a superhero license on a reality television show when another competitor is murdered.

Excerpt from Chapter 1 of Failstate:

Being a superhero was hard enough. Being one on reality television . . . Why had I thought this was a good idea?

The production assistant, a young Asian woman in her late twenties, poked her head into the green room and called my name. I followed her out of the room. You’d think after for weeks of competition, they would give me a little credit for being able to find my own way, but no. They couldn’t let the contestants get lost.

We walked down a corridor made of beige cinderblocks, one dotted with metal doors. Florescent lights buzzed and snapped overhead. Backstage personnel rushed around and brushed past each other and me in barely controlled panic. Their infectious rush only built as we approached a doorway with a burgundy curtain hanging in the frame, the dividing line between the backstage area and the set. A red light hung over the door. It would turn green in a moment to signal when it was my time to enter. Even though I had walked this route half a dozen times in previous weeks, each step still sent my heart slamming throb grew between my temples. Oh, no. I stopped short and screwed my eyes shut and willed the ache to go away. I had to keep my power in check.

Please, God, let everything work tonight. Give me focus, give me calm, give me control. Just don’t let me break anything.

The Craft: Failstate is an entertaining read which provides a fun twist on the popular superhero genre while retaining the familiar conventions that fans of this genre expect.

As such, this provides some likeable characters and plenty of action. Dry humor is sprinkled throughout, and the first-person narration is engaging. The tension maintains the pace while a couple twists keep you guessing nearly to the end.
Overall, Failstate provides a solid read with no obvious flaws.

The Content: Failstate might be a tale about superheroes, but it also deftly inserts openly Christian themes into the story. The main protagonist regularly attends church, allowing the material to be blatantly stated, while the plotting shows those themes in action. Through this we hear about sin, forgiveness, and how we cannot “fix” the past or go it alone. We need other people, family, and most of all, God.

Concerning other common topical concerns, there is no explicit swearing; “supernatural” elements come from genetics and technology; and the light romance is kept to some hugs, hand-holding, and kisses.

Summary: Failstate may not go down into history as great literature, but it provides a fun read with some strong Christian elements. Especially recommended for teen boys and fans of the superhero genre.

Ratings: Craft—4, Content—4, Overall—4.0 out of 5 stars

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