Monday, October 08, 2012

What We're Reading: Seven Wonders by Adam Christopher

What if you woke up one morning with a super power? Super strength? Super speed? X-ray vision? Invulnerability? The ability to fly? What if, over the course of several weeks, you developed all of these powers and more? Does having these powers change who you are? More importantly, does having super powers automatically make you a superhero? These are just some of the questions explored in Adam Christopher’s new novel, Seven Wonders.


Tony Prosdocimi is a regular guy. He works a dead-end job at Big Deal (think Wal-Mart) selling computers and computer equipment, and he lives in a small apartment in the California coastal city of San Ventura—the home of the greatest superhero group in the world: The Seven Wonders. And he tries very, very hard to avoid any trouble, quite a challenge in a city regularly terrorized by the world’s last great supervillain, The Cowl. While Tony does his best to stay under the radar, he also wonders why The Seven Wonders have not captured The Cowl and ended his reign of terror over San Ventura.

Then his luck begins to change. He meets Jeannie, a woman way out of his league, and they begin to date. Then, one night Jeannie wakes Tony up because he is glowing with a golden aura. Next comes super speed. And then invulnerability and flight. One by one, Tony seems to be acquiring all of the most desirable powers of The Seven Wonders. Tony could be a superhero too! So, he decides to use his new powers to do the one thing that The Seven Wonders have never done: take out The Cowl. But when Tony delivers The Cowl to the supergroup, they react far differently than he expected they would. In fact, nothing about being a superhero is like Tony imagined. . .

In Seven Wonders, Adam Christopher explores the incredibly fine line that separates superhero from supervillain. He also examines the relationships and responsibilities superheroes have with and to each other, their foes, non-superpowered law enforcement, and the general public. The result is a sprawling super-epic, told in prose rather than using the more traditional visual format, containing everything one would expect: super-powered spandex-clad titans in capes and masks, dastardly villains with plans to take over the world, secret identities and side-kicks, fortresses and lairs, and perils that threaten the planet. But in addition to being a sweeping city- and world-threatening adventure, Seven Wonders is also an interesting study of the standard characters included in most comic book series. In fact, it is the examination of some of these familiar character types that is the most interesting aspect of the novel. The story is action packed, there are plenty of surprises and lots of small in-jokes and references for comics and science fiction fans alike to enjoy.

Adam Christopher is a New Zealand-born writer now living in the UK. Seven Wonders is on the new book shelf under science fiction at the Central Library. His first novel, Empire State, the story of a parallel-universe New York City, was reviewed earlier on this blog and is available at both Central and Buena Vista.

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