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Ascender, Volume 3: The Digital Mage by Jeff Lemire and Dustin Nguyen Audubon Cat by Mary Calhoun and Susan Bonners
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Delicious in Dungeon, Volume 7 by Ryoko Kui
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The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead
The 117-Storey Treehouse by Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton
One Poison Pie by Lynn Cahoon
Santa's Husband by Daniel Kibblesmith and A.P. Quach
The Scarecrow of Oz by L. Frank Baum
Speculative Los Angeles edited by Denise Hamilton
Spells and Scones by Bailey Cates and Amy Rubinate (Narrator)
Sprinkle with Murder by Jenn McKinlay
Stuck on Murder by Lucy Lawrence
Sunny Rolls the Dice by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm
Thirteen Doorways, Wolves Behind Them All by Laura Ruby
This Spell Can't Last by Isabel Sterling
We Could Be Heroes by Mike Chen
White Nights by Ann Cleeves

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We Could Be Heroes: 02/06/20

We Could Be Heroes

We Could Be Heroes by Mike Chen is about superheroes who have memory problems. Originally it's a supervillain and a superhero but they team up pretty quickly. Jamie is the Mind Robber, a bank robber with memory access / erasure skills (and a cat named Normal). Zoe Wong delivers food for a living, has a drinking problem, and is also the Throwing Star, San Delgado's resident hero.

Jamie and Zoe share some things in common. Their memories only go back two years. They've had their powers for those two years. They live in apartments paid for by an unknown benefactor. Together they decide to uncover their pasts, their true identities, and stop whomever did this to them.

With a setting clearly inspired by the San Francisco Bay Area, We Could Be Heroes reminds me of Big Hero Six. Besides the setting, the way the protagonists interact with the antagonists is similar. There's a shared connection and a greater personal motivation for the evils being done.

I enjoyed the set-up of the world and the situation as well as the development of Jamie and Zoe's friendship. Unfortunately the pacing seemed off. Some scenes were too slow to unfold and other times there were huge jumps in plot and scenery that left me needing to re-read sections. We Could Be Heroes would be perfect, though, for a graphic novel or comic book adaptation. There's a lot here that needs to be seen.

The novel also happens to sit on the road narrative spectrum as Mike Chen's previous two have. This analysis might contain spoilers, so please skip if you don't want anything revealed.

Zoe and Jamie initially because of their opposition are a scarecrow and minotaur (99). Later their relationship to the true villains of the novel refines and reinforces their travel status. Their destination or goal, is the city (00) of San Delgado — initially as a place either stop crime or do crime. Later as they learn the true nature of the people behind their powers, the goal refines to saving the city. Their route is offroad as superheroes/villains do (66). Summarized, We Could Be Heroes is about a scarecrow and minotaur team saving the city via offroad means (990066).

Four stars

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