Powerless - YA Review by Perrin S.

Reader: Perrin S.
Age: 16
Title: Powerless
Author: Tera Lynn Childs and Tracy Deebs
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Pub Date: 06/02/15
Galley: Yes
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: I found three main stylistic problems with this book:

World Building
This book had real big problem with world building. Basically there was none. I got the basic "people have super powers here" and "Superheros don't like villains and vice versa" but other than that there wasn't much else to describe what the world was or how it functions. For example, the main character calls some people heroes, does that mean that they wear tights and have epic battles with villains in the streets like classical comics? Superman exists in this world, then how did the real events in this world effect the stories? Have people always had powers? How would that have affected history? In this world supers have tattoos that identify them as hero or villain, but for most of the story I had no idea how they got there. I didn't know if people got them when they decided what category they wanted to be in or what. Then I find out that the tattoos just magically appear. Why? I HAVE NO FREAKIN IDEA. Then that leads to the question of how villains and heroes are determined. And if Draven said that fifty years ago the heroes decided to split the supers into heroes and villains, then why do magically appearing tattoos decide what somebody is? None of these questions are really answered. The lack of world building in this story is really frustrating, I almost threw the book against the wall several times because basic foundation was missing. I think the world is an interesting idea but it's not fleshed out. The author gave us the minimum explanation of the world necessary to understand the plot. It needs more. 

So about half this book seems to be the main character's self reflection, which within itself is a problem, but almost every reflection is one of two speeches that is repeated throughout the book. I have found those speeches to be 1. I don't need powers to be special (Which once she realizes she has powers is completely thrown out the window, then powers are all that matter) and 2. Maybe not all villains are bad, it's not black and white. This repetition is really annoying because I'm absolutely sick of it by about half way through the book. That and single words are repeated too much throughout the book (which I blame mostly on a poor writing style). For example the word villain appears way too much in this book - I know its essential to the story but there must be a way to cut down on the word itself. 

By the end of the book I hated the main character. She was kinda boring and so righteous to the point it was annoying (and boring). I felt that she lacked much depth. She felt like the shell of a person, she wasn't complex, or interesting, or surprising. She also had this 'I don't need to be protected’ motto to the point that she doesn’t want her own mother to protect her. However, enter hot guy and that motto gets thrown out. Daven is constantly trying to protect the main character and for the most part she doesn't seem to mind. Why would she ditch one of her guiding principles for some guy, that's very shallow. I have found that the plot of a good story needs to be guided by the main character, however in this book the plot seemed to be something that was happening to her. She could be completely taken out and the plot would hardly be affected. This makes the story rather boring. I think it would have been more interesting from Rebel's point of view, or maybe Dante. 
Memorable or Forgettable: This book seemed fairly generic and rather forgettable. The plot seems like something pushed out only for making money. It lacks soul. And honestly it seems like a first draft, a good first draft but still far from completion.
Cover: The cover is fine. Artistically its pretty good.  Though I don't understand why there is a big eye with fireworks inside on the cover, I  can't say its really relevant to the story. A lot of YA novels seems to have eyes on the cover. Why? I don't know. But this book just fits into the large pile of books with eyes. For that reason I can't say the cover was really intriguing. Actually the only reason I picked it up was because it was in the rather empty new book section. I'm not a fan of having the title on the side either, it makes it somewhat hard to identify and sorta makes it off to the side and out of mind. Plus after the quote there is a big empty space and it took me a while to figure out that the title was supposed to finish the quote.
Age Range: 12 through 15
Quality: 2Q - Needs more work
Popularity: 3P - Some teen appeal

tags:  fantasy / suspense / ya lit

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