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Monday, June 26, 2017

YA Review: Fallout

Fallout by Gwenda Bond

Published: May 1st, 2015 by Switch Press
Genre: YA Science Fiction
Binding: Hardcover
Page Count: 303 plus an about the author.
Part of a series? This is the first of the Lois Lane trilogy, which also has two prequel short stories.
Got via: The library.
Amazon / Book Depository / Indiebound

Summary (from goodreads): Lois Lane is starting a new life in Metropolis. An Army brat, Lois has lived all over—and seen all kinds of things. (Some of them defy explanation, like the near-disaster she witnessed in Kansas in the middle of one night.) But now her family is putting down roots in the big city, and Lois is determined to fit in. Stay quiet. Fly straight. As soon as she steps into her new high school, though, she can see it won’t be that easy.

A group known as the Warheads is making life miserable for another girl at school. They’re messing with her mind, somehow, via the high-tech immersive videogame they all play. Not cool. Armed with her wit and her new snazzy job as a reporter, Lois has her sights set on solving this mystery. But sometimes it’s all a bit much. Thank goodness for her maybe-more-than-a friend, a guy she knows only by his screenname, SmallvilleGuy.

Review: This was really cool. I haven't really seen like any Superman movie, from Christopher Reeve to Henry Cavill, or the Lois and Clark TV show, or anything like that, and I don't really read his comics either. I did watch Smallville for a long time and I'm an avoid Supergirl fan, so that's where most of my Superman exposure comes from, with some stuff from tumblr and the general media saturation.

Since Supergirl is on hiatus, and Ms. Marvel volume 7 isn't out until August, I'm really jonesing for some superheros, and I don't follow anything else! This is a really good thing to fill the void, but I also think this works really well as a neat thing just on its own. Even without the context of it being Lois Lane, this is a really interesting universe, and Lois is a great main character. I also really liked how the book talked about bullying in schools without being too ham-fisted. It comes across as very authentic for the most part.

Plot Talk: So, like I said, cool universe. It is kind of that comic book type setting where, you know, aliens and super advanced technology exists, but the plot is also is a pretty nifty mystery. Since this focuses on Lois and her world, the tone is a lot more about the mystery. I like it.

Characters: Well, I really liked Lois. I was thinking recently about how much I sometimes enjoy characters who are big on taking care of other people, especially ones who collect "strays". Lois is more of a "I will burn down everything you love if you hurt someone I care about", but I like that too. I was like two pages in when I made my first note that just said, "I love her though". She's super nosy, can't help getting into trouble but always for good reasons, and I enjoyed her so much. She has the kind of voice that works super well for me.

A certain Mr. Kent is a significant character in this, but not overwhelmingly so. He is an absolute dork, and I'm super fond of that kind of portrayal of Clark/Superman (see: Tyler Hoechlin on Supergirl). The book, though, is unmistakeably about Lois and the book never lets him overshadow her. This is very definitely her story, and he was a supporting character. The hints of romance between them, though? Are absolutely adorable. I really liked the dynamic between them.

The other supporting characters are good, but a lot does happen in the book plot and action-wise. It's more of an action driven book than a character drive one, and I was satisfied with the other characters, but I'd like to read the other books and see how they continue to be developed as they aren't super deep. If it was a standalone, I might not be as satisfied, but knowing there will be more books makes me cool with it.

There are significant characters of colour in the main cast, but I wouldn't say it has a lot of them. It's a bit too white considering Metropolis is supposed to be a New York expy.

PG-13 stuff: Not that much, honestly. Some of the ideas could be a little disturbing for sensitive or younger readers, but there's not much for graphic violence or anything, and no content notes needed for alcohol, sex, or even swearing as far as I remember.

Cons, complaints, bad stuff, etc.: Little bit of ableism here and there that I noticed. The book also lacks fat characters, disabled characters, lacks queer characters so badly, and it could use way more characters of colour. They get one of those stars that say, "There was an attempt." The next book definitely has room to approve and I hope it does.

Cover comments: I actually wrote this review mostly because I wanted to talk about the cover and my mini-reviews don't have a good place to do that. It is stunning, and I think it's a really neat way to use the comic roots without getting too twee about it. I remembered it from seeing it on Twitter and Goodreads and whatnot that when I saw it at the library I just went, "Yes, I need this."

Conclusion: This reminded me a lot of fanfiction, honestly, which I guess it kind of is. I mean, what real difference is there between this and something like this (which I highly recommend giving a read) besides what the writer decided to do with the piece? Either way, I really enjoyed this, and I'm definitely going to be checking out the sequels. Three and a half out of five roses. It probably could have gotten four, but it loses points for lacking in representation.

Other notes:

- There's a character names James and I don't think he's supposed to be Jimmy/James Olson and honestly that's just a little confusing. Maybe it's just because he only goes by James on Supergirl? But, yeah, that made me pause for a moment.

Peace and cookies,

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