Other Peoples' Work!

“It’s Superman!” (by Tom de Haven)

So, not only is this the first book I’ve actually finished for pleasure in a long while (I don’t even remember what the last one was…”Return of the King,” probably), it was also very far out from my usual. As emphasized by its coincidence with Tolkien.

“It’s Superman!” is what it sounds like. It’s a Superman story. It goes back to Clark Kent (aw)’s teen years and his eventual journey to New York, where he meets Lex Luthor (who escapes, the bastard) and Lois Lane (who hates him; man, she’s got spunk). It’s set just before the beginning of World War II in 1935. It’s got robots (I mean Lexbots). SO many people die. It’s a period piece and I love it for that, because it’s not overdone, but it’s not painfully sparse as many classic 19th century writers were (duh, since this book is recent, 2005). It’s incredibly fast-paced and its omniscient narration makes me care even about Luthor’s thugs or that fat lady that was in love with the Lieutenant. Clark Kent is adorable and vulnerable, and that’s probably what saves the book. He’s always teetering between cockiness and uncertainty and usually sways towards the latter. I like that. It’s not so super.

So, I mean, I don’t have a ton to say about it because my reaction to it is as straightforward as the book is. There’s one really good line that I connect with, and that makes me really understand Clark Kent:

“And he is suddenly afraid the more he discovers about people in the world the sadder he will become.”

This book definitely scored me some geek points though. I mean really.

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