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Masks Rise of Heroes by Hayden Thorne

Masks Rise of Heroes

by Hayden Thorne

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I had this book in my reading list since a bit but I was never in the right mood. I was expecting a superhero type of book, and it's not really my cup of tea. Then tonight I decided to give it a try and it surprised me: the story is more 'normal' than expected. It's in a way a very classical coming of age novel, and I like it in that way.

Eric is an emo kid, a 16 years old like a lot of other boys of that age, with a quite supportive family. He is out with his parents and sister and they accepted him, blue bangs covering his eyes and strange eating habit. For once, being gay is not an issue for this teen and all in all he has not serious problem in his life. Then one day he is rescued by a train accident by a flying superhero, a Superman style of hero, complete of spandex uniform and bulging muscles... and for a teenager with ranging hormones, the sight is almost too much: Eric develops a desperate crush on this masked hero.

But having a crush on a superhero doesn't change too much Eric's ordinary life; on the contrary, he continues to hang out with his friends, the girl Anthea and the guy Peter. Suddenly something changes: maybe since Eric is paying attention to another potential even if impossible love interest, Peter is staking is claim; the usually shy and introverse guy is all over Eric, kissing him and asking him out on a date... and simple like that, Eric turns from bestfriend to boyfriend, and now he has to be more careful around Peter, since everything he does and says has a new all meaning for Peter.

It's rather interesting to see how the 'superhero' problem is processed in almost an ordinary way in Eric's mind, no more important than his trouble with his new boyfriend Peter, or with his strange family. When Eric is involved in some trouble due to the superhero war between Magnifiman and the villain, he comes back home upset in the same way he is when he has lover quarrels with Peter. In his teen perspective, Eric considers at the same way a problem that involves his little personal world than something of bigger proportion and worst consequences.

Another interesting thing that explains how Eric's mind works, is that, since he is gay and out with his family and friends, he doesn't consider it a problem, and so for him is more problematic and freak being a superhero than being gay... gay is normal, superhero is freak...

There is also a little romance between Eric and Peter, with some kisses and a bit of making out in a car back seats, and all is sweet and tender, but not too much detailed. Eric talks a lot about his ranging hormones, and about his daydreams, but actually he didn't do much.

  elisa.rolle | Nov 15, 2008 |
With his blue-streaked hair and delight in dyeing his breakfast blue, Eric is somewhat of an unusual goth kid. Add the fact that he has a crush on a superhero called Magnifiman, who keeps rescuing him from the villain Devil's Trill, and you have a very peculiar goth kid indeed. Sandwiched between the battles of a superhero and a villain, Eric Plath has no choice but to comply with their whims. As if that wasn't worry enough for him, his best friend Peter starts revealing feelings for him; this incurs the jealousy of their other best friend, Althea, who has a crush on Peter. More complications arise as Eric starts finding out secrets that both his best friends are hiding from him. Despite the presence of superheroes, villains, and special powers, the novel is narrated by a normal human ("normal" used loosely) who has the luck of being placed in the center of it all. This isn't merely a superheroes-versus-villains novel; the story mainly revolves around Eric's and Peter's relationship, which becomes more complex and extraordinary when Eric discovers Peter's powers.

Hayden Thorne's Masks: Rise of Heroes certainly packs a powerful superhero punch. Frankly, this was a startling book – in more good ways than bad; it is unlike anything I've ever read. Eric's voice is sophisticated but lucid; he's not only believable and lifelike, he brings life to the other characters as well as another side to superheroes. Eric's cheeky responses to the Devil's Trill cracked me up; I love how he was unfazed by the villain after being stuck in danger and rescued so many times. He might not be considered an awe-inspiring superhero with incredible talents, but I believe he was a hero in his own way. I found a few ironies within this novel, which somehow made it truer, since I believe that life is ironic itself. The ending still leaves a bit of suspense and unanswered questions lying around, which gets you pumped up for the next book in the series. I know I'm looking forward to it.

(Note: This was also reviewed for Book Divas - CollectiveX.) ( )
  imperfectionist | Jul 26, 2008 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 160370356X, Paperback)

Strange things are happening in Vintage City, and high school goth boy Eric seems to be right in the middle of them. There’s a new villain in town, one with super powers, and he’s wreaking havoc on the town, and on Eric’s life. The new super hero who springs up to defend Vintage City is almost as bad, making Eric all hot and bothered, enough so that he almost misses the love that’s right under his nose. Peter is Eric’s best friend, and even if he does seem to be hiding something most of the time, he finds a way to show Eric how he feels in between attacks on trains and banks and malls. The two boys decide to start dating, much to the chagrin of their other best buddy, Althea, who has a terrible crush on Peter, and a secret or two of her own to keep. As the fight between the villain, known as the Devil’s Trill, and superhero Magnifiman picks up, Eric’s relationship with Peter almost ends before it begins when Eric finds out about Peter’s special talents, which might just rank Peter as a superhero in his own right. When the Trill takes an interest in Eric, too, Peter and Althea, along with Magnifiman and Eric’s normal, middle-class family all have to work together to keep Eric, and their city, safe. Can they figure out the super villain’s plan in time?

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:06:52 -0400)

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