We Could Be Heroes (Mira, November 30, 2021). Cover design: Elita Sidiropoulou
Okay, I’m a little late with this one (it was published nearly a year ago). But I just found it at Barnes & Noble a few weeks back, and it’s quickly floated up to the top of my TBR pile, so I claim special circumstances.
The superhero novel is enjoying its time in the sun right now. Veronica Roth had a bestseller with her superhero dark fantasy Chosen Ones; so did Marissa Meyer with her Renegades trilogy. But Mike Chen’s humorous novel of two former archrivals — one with the power to wipe minds, and one with super speed and strength — who meet in a memory loss support group and gradually realize they each hold the key to the other’s recovery, and the clues to a deadly mystery, is the one I’m clearing the decks for. Buzzfeed calls it “an incredibly fun and thoughtful take on superhero lore,” and Martin Cahill at Tor.com say it’s “Wonderful.”
Here’s an excerpt from Martin’s feature review.
In San Delgado, the public eye has focused on two super-powered individuals, each making a name for themselves with feats of daring-dos and don’ts. The Mind Robber, infamous for his ability to erase memories, has been on a spree of bank robberies. Throwing Star, with her super speed, strength, infrared vision, and durability, has been on his trail.
But out of the spotlight, Mind Robber and Throwing Star are both amnesiacs who woke up one day two years ago with powers and no idea of who they are. Jamie Sorenson is only robbing banks so he can take his cat, Normal, and find an island to get away to for good. Zoe Wong is hunting him in between day drinking and fast-food delivery, her sense of purpose and self-worth eroding day by day. When these two powered people run across each other in a help group for people with memory and cognitive issues, Mike Chen’s excellent third novel, We Could Be Heroes, really kicks into gear…
And does it work? It really does. Chen infuses this story with charm, kindness, action, heroics, and enough grounding touches of humanity that reminds you that for all the bullets they can catch and all the memories they can erase, Jamie and Zoe are just people trying to figure out who they are, who they were, and ultimately as this information is gleaned, who they want to be. In the afterward, Chen lists such shows as Doctor Who, Arrow, and Legends of Tomorrow as influences on his writing and it definitely shows. There is a level of breeziness and humor, of camp and wit that sparkles throughout the book, with just enough tongue-in-cheek and knowing nods and references to make a reader grin, but not enough to detract from the momentum…
We Could Be Heroes is a wonderful examination of humanity, relationships, identities, and how when we work together, we’re better for it.
We Could Be Heroes was published in hardcover by Mire Books on January 26, 2021, and released in trade paperback on November 30, 2021. It is 346 pages, priced at $16.99 in trade paperback/$11.99 digital. The cover was designed by Elita Sidiropoulou.
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