Secondhand Origin Stories is a young adult, science fiction being self-published by Lee Blauersouth through Createspace Independent Publishing and was released on March 15th, 2018.
R E V I E W
Secondhand Origin Stories is a superhero fiction that doesn’t simply include tight suites, godly strength, and world-saving; instead, it’s a journey of four young people who try saving the world while discovering themselves—a good, diverse representation and straightforward mention of unfortunate social issues is an extra candy on Halloween.
The story revolves around four main characters: Opal, Isaac, Yael, and Jamie. I think that should seriously be the only thing I should mention about the story because trust me, this was an immensely character-driven novel and stepping in without knowing much (or anything) about the plot would surprise you more. And no, it isn’t a typical superhero story.
Diversity at its best. You know how I am with giving away spoilers; it’s like I’m walking on a ticking bomb while writing a review, so don’t mind my over-conscious-self trying not to blurt things out. Each character in this book is different from the other. Reading this novel is like living four different lives. There’s a person with a hearing disability—a PwD to generalize; there’s a gender-fluid person who’s constantly addressed with pronouns like xe/xyr; there’s a black, physically strong girl—a PoC; and a loyal girl with empathy as the strongest power. Since labels of a character are most fun to know when they’re discovered while you’re reading the story, I just want to subtly mention that each character has a label from the LGBTQIA+. Basically, you won’t be disappointed in terms of diversity.
While I definitely love appreciating diversity in books, I avoid talking about their representation while reviewing them if I don’t belong to that particular group. I mean, who can know the best than those who can feel it the most. Anyway, some review stops in this tour have stated some well-rounded up opinions about the rep in this book, so don’t forget to check out the tour schedule.
Oops. Did I say four characters? I should’ve said five. Sorry! Actually, it’s not everyday I come across the ‘most complete, most sentient synthetic intelligence in the world’ who identifies themselves with a gender label too. Does this intrigue you? Then pick up the book already!
World-building is on point. I can’t emphasize enough how important a fictional world can be for me to indulge into a story, especially a science fiction. This one came across vivid enough to pull me in. There are answers to almost everything I could question in this world of advanced technology and altered-humans (commonly known as altereds), and the rest that couldn’t be answered was fascinating enough to hold me tight—I mean, this is just the first book in the series so patience has to be my virtue. There is an idea of nanites (artificial brain cells) and one can be charged for supervillainy. I think this should be enough to convince you of the detailed fictional world you can get to witness.
Families, siblings, and relationships are given as much importance as the danger that looms in the air. Each character’s tie with either one another or with their family members is so realistically complex, you can genuinely sympathize with their not-typical-but-genuine-superhero problems.
Speaking of genuine superhero problems, one particular theme stood out for me—superheroes are deeply flawed, just like any human being. As much as the story is centered around how important it is for someone to be a superhero and be responsible for the limelight they get, it very well highlights the aftermath of what the over-responsibility can bring along with it, and what ‘not being a superhero anymore’ can mean. Not only this, at one point, a character clearly mention the importance of the work a non-superhero does and this is something I often find missing in such stories—admiring the ‘normal’ duties.
Moving on, there are unfortunate global issues spotlighted with a strong beam. No beating around the bushes or ‘low-key’ expression of opinions. Right from inequalities to racism, and marginal communities being pushed down to social stigmas about a girl who’s strongly built, almost every possible communal pitfall is voiced with value and zero-acceptance but a constructive view.
Not only this, the characters are very well developed and portrayed one particular trait I adored them for—self reflection. As a human, it’s often the most lost attribute in this tough-skinned society, but it’s of significance nonetheless. Not only did the idea of killing someone brought the characters to an empathy-ridden monologue, but not using the correct pronoun for a genderfluid person by mistake earned the same reaction. A reaction of self reflection; of understanding where they’re wrong and trying their best to correct the mistakes.
Having said that, there was one thing I didn’t enjoy the most but it’s mostly rooted to my personal preference. I’m a sucker for some fast-paced action specifically for the superhero subgenre of science fiction. Since this was a more character oriented story, there wasn’t a quickly moving plot. Though, the few action scenes were quite action packed so I would give it that. This kind of, at times, caused me to take long breaks before getting back to the story because I knew I was getting into the heads of these four people, and not simply into a series of events.
Overall, I can’t recommend this book enough for the number of reasons I loved it.
T O U R S C H E D U L E
23 April (Monday)
- Secondhand Origin Stories blog tour launch (via That Bookshelf Bitch)
- Feature post from Candid Ceillie
- Review and feature post from The Backwards Bookshelf
- Review from Crimson Blogs
- Review from Samantha House
- Review from Stuffed Shelves
24 April (Tuesday)
- Excerpt from Not Just Fiction
- Excerpt from Utopia State of Mind
- Feature post from Unputdownable Books
- Review from That Bookshelf Bitch
- Review from Bookish and Awesome
- Review from Cliste Bella
- Review from wallflower’s plight
25 April (Wednesday)
- Excerpt from The Nerdy Elite
- Review from BookMyHart
- Review from Candid Ceillie
- Review from F A N N A
- Review from forthenovellovers
- Review from Igniting Pages
- Review from Spines in a Line
26 April (Thursday)
- Excerpt from Provocatrix
- Review from Bookish Wanderess
- Review from bookishwisps
- Review from Flying Paperbacks
- Review from TheHufflepuffNerdette
- Review from My Reading List
- Review from Unputdownable Books
27 April (Friday)
- Author interview on That Bookshelf Bitch
- Feature post from Cliste Bella
- Review from Afire Pages
- Review from The Book Maiden
- Review from The Little Miss Bookworm
- Review from Reader Fox and a Box of Books
- Review from The Youngvamp’s Haven
I received a digital copy of this via my participation in a promotional blog tour but that in no way influences my rating and/or opinion about it. Thank you, ThatBookshelfBitch and Lee Blauersouth!
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F A N N A