The Supervillain and Me, by Danielle Banas
Publish Date: July 10, 2018
Published by: Swoon Reads
Genre: YA Fantasy/Contemporary
My Rating: ★★★★☆ (3.5 out of 5 stars)
**I received an egalley of this from the publisher through Edelweiss in return for an honest review.**
Never trust a guy in spandex.
In Abby Hamilton’s world, superheroes do more than just stop crime and save cats stuck in trees—they also drink milk straight from the carton and hog the television remote. Abby’s older brother moonlights as the famous Red Comet, but without powers of her own, following in his footsteps has never crossed her mind.
That is, until the city’s newest vigilante comes bursting into her life.
After saving Abby from an attempted mugging, Morriston’s fledgling supervillain Iron Phantom convinces her that he’s not as evil as everyone says, and that their city is under a vicious new threat. As Abby follows him deeper into their city’s darkest secrets, she comes to learn that heroes can’t always be trusted, and sometimes it’s the good guys who wear black.
I honestly did not intend to read this book so soon, considering it doesn’t come out until July, but for some reason I couldn’t stop thinking about it and so I picked it up to see if reading the first chapter would satisfy my craving for a bit. It ended up sucking me in instead and somehow I couldn’t put it down. And while the story is very entertaining and easy to follow, it does lack in some areas and could have used more depth.
Like I said, the writing and the storyline really pulled me in very easily, and I had trouble putting it down. The pacing moved wonderfully and the intrigue was fun, if a little cliché and lacking in imagination (or accuracy in science – because I felt like some of it was not how things actually worked), and while the romance was cute it wasn’t epic or anything like that. But although it was a fun and thrilling story, I thought that some parts of it felt a little cartoony or kitschy, especially when it came to the actual superhero stuff. The fight scenes were a little unimpressive, and the overall inclusion of the supers in the world building felt only halfway-there. I also thought that there could have been more about the reason why there was so much violence in the city of Morriston – blaming it on gangs and such just didn’t feel like enough. I felt like there should have been more underlying reasons for the crime rates other than just to have a reason for the supers in the first place. I did, however, enjoy the balance between the superhero and everyday life stuff that Abby experienced, as it made it very much more about her and how the supers affected her as the main character.
One pet peeve I had, and I know this doesn’t really affect the overall story, was that the author did a horrible job of researching how a light board works. There is a scene where Abby helps a stage crew kid, Rylan, with writing cues for the musical, and absolutely none of it made sense. You don’t just type in the channel number of a light, have it do it’s fancy thing with no other instruction, and then watch while the computer apparently records it by itself. I’m not going to get into any more detail, but as a professional lighting designer it had me internally screaming about how wrong it all was. Not to mention, these cues were apparently being written weeks before tech, which would never actually happen.
I thought the characters were interesting, and I really liked Abby herself and that she was such a drama geek, but I also thought the tragic backstories were a little cliché. I liked that both Abby and Iron Phantom had underlying layers to them, and I especially liked that Abby’s brother Conner had some depth to him as well, but I don’t feel like I ever felt fully empathetic towards any of them. I did feel like some of the secondary characters could have shown more depth to them though, as many of them were definitely missing something to really help build their character and relationships with Abby and the others.
This was definitely a fun read that moved quickly and kept me invested the whole time, but stepping back from it there were some definite flaws and some definite cartoonish qualities to it. I think the world-building is what needed the most work, and some of the characters could have used some as well, but overall it was a fun read that certainly satisfied my craving for some superhero and supervillain action and romance.