SHADOWSTRIKE: a superhero novel with heart.

Posted: March 15, 2015 in Book reviews

I’ve always believed that some people are born into this world to take a stand, to make a difference. Perhaps that’s why I’ve always been into superhero movies, TV shows, comics and novels. I love the idea of a mysterious figure rising to defend those who do not seem to stand a chance against the vulgar displays of power and corruption that surround them.

Sometimes, the most entertaining reads come by pure chance and leave a definite mark upon the reader. This was the case with the book that I’m about to review, SHADOWSTRIKE, by Justin Wilson, an awesomely fun and thrilling superhero novel of which I was honored to receive a copy from the author. This is one of those books that have a story behind them that’s every bit as awesome as the story within the pages, and there’s a very clear reason for which I’m proud to have this book on my shelf.

I was saying that I believe some people are born to make a difference.  Such is the case, in my view, of Justin Wilson. Diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, in love with writing and Japanese films, this awesome young man has pulled off what few people his age could: writing a +600-page book before turning 20, and a gripping, thrilling read as well!

The novel is set in a fictional city called Parkson, where a huge wall separates the rich from the poor, which has brought the city serious criticism from the government. Parkson is riddled with corruption, with the poor having to steal to eat, while the rich thrive, and a significant part of  the police is in cahoots with Richard Grant, a criminal mastermind protected by a mysterious enforcer. Young Robert “RJ” James, who knows the dark side of the aforementioned separation between rich and poor too well, decides to rise up and fight against the corruption of the city, under the tutelage of Joe, an elderly man who knows a thing or two about martial arts. After years of training and suppressed personal trauma(read the book to find out what that trauma is!), RJ builds a new identity, that of ShadowStrike, a masked vigilante inspired by a wolf(awesome-looking wolf on the cover, by the way).

The author has confessed that Christopher Nolan is among his favorite directors, and it shows. There’s a certain Dark Knight vibe to the atmosphere that is created in the book, and the intense dialogue contributes greatly to it. The characterization is also awesome. I cared a lot about RJ and Joe, I was disgusted with the corrupt cops, and the pages kept turning and turning as I sought to find out what Grant was gonna do next. Great pace, awesome characters, awesome emotional impact. I don’t know whether he intended it or not, but Justin Wilson told more than one story of a young hero making a difference. He was also gracious enough to warn me that the book has some typos, but to me, that was no problem at all. I loved it, and I’m proud to have this book on my shelf. It should be on the shelf of anyone who thinks that they can’t make a difference. Impressive effort. Five out of five! Thanks, brother! Heck of a job! Looking forward to a sequel!

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