Tobin Lloyd’s life is perfect: he’s a senior at Bridgton High, he’s one of the funniest kids in school, and his only worry is whether or not his latest prank is going to result in yet another detention.
But when he wakes up in the world of Capricious, a place where superheroes are real and attacks by super-villains are just another hassle of living in the city, all of that changes. Suddenly, Tobin’s last year of high school is not going as he expected.
Far from home and pretty sure he’s gone insane, Tobin must join a strange group of companions (including a beer-drinking dog and a genius, three-foot-tall robot) as he desperately tries to find a way back to Earth. However, that may be even harder than Tobin knows: a mysterious super-villain named Vincent Harris has big plans for the planet Earth…and Tobin is the only person standing in his way.
A carefree, C-student class clown is the world’s last hope? Yikes.
This book is also available as part of the complete Strike Trilogy.
A quick read, this book didn’t grab me and demand that I read it, but it did entertain me. The story is simple and straightforward, following a clear path for the creation of a new superhero. It’s action and adventure without a lot of emotional baggage.
I found it a little spare. It depicts a smartass, underachieving teenager well, but does so without delving deeply. Tobin is somewhat shallow in the development sense, making him feel a little vague at times. I got the feeling the author was quite fond of Orion, and of Kepler, as both seem lovingly crafted, moreso than any of the other characters. The rest of the secondary characters are spotty at best.
The rules of the superpowers are quite vague, making it difficult to grasp the characters’ limits and impossible to figure out how they might die and what the stakes really are. The MacGuffin – aside from how it gets into the hero’s hands, which is cute – pushed me one suspension of disbelief too far. I would have preferred for Tobin to have more agency and make greater sacrifice of some kind.
Despite all that, I recommend this for anyone who likes YA urban fantasy, especially those who enjoy superhero stories. If you’re not into YA, you’ll probably want to pass.