Monday, January 26, 2015

Convergence (The Zodiac Legacy, Book 1) by Stan Lee, Stuart Moore, and Andie Tong

Stan Lee (yes, that Stan Lee) makes his prose novel debut in this series starter starring Steven Lee, a fourteen-year-old Chinese-American kid on a school trip to Hong Kong. Steven and his classmates are on a tour at a museum, but Steven seems to be the only who who notices their tour guide's odd, even suspicious, behavior. After hearing some muffled screaming, the tour guide abandons the class, and Steven decides to follow her deeper into the museum, where he nearly stumbles into a decidedly strange scene.

Every 144 years, a burst of energy that gives a person born in the corresponding year the power associated with of one of the animals of the zodiac is released. A rich and powerful man named Maxwell, however, is trying to claim all the zodiac powers for himself. The tour guide, whose real name is Jasmine, and one of her associates manage to stop Maxwell before he can absorb all the powers. Some of the power escapes, entering Steven and some other teens around the world.

Now Steven, Jasmine, and tech guy Carlos must travel around the world to find the newly empowered hosts before Maxwell does. As they gather together, they must learn to harness their powers and work together to have a chance at defeating Maxwell. But Maxwell is a war contractor and his minions are very well-trained.

Convergence, written by Stan Lee and Stuart Moore, launches The Zodiac Legacy series. I'm not a comic person, so I can't compare Convergence to any of Stan Lee's many superheroes, but I can say that it'll appeal to comic book fans and non-comic book fans alike who are looking for a fun, action-packed read. Illustrations by Andie Tong appear throughout the book, enhancing both the story and a very nice book design.

As for the story, there isn't much character development here; I think we actually learn more about Maxwell than we do about most of our diverse cast of heroes. But the heroes are likeable and sympathetic and easy to distinguish from one another, even if it is due to, as the VOYA review puts it, "heavy-handed typecasting [that manages to] comes across as familiar and comical." The prose is simple, straightforward and descriptive. Even with the many action scenes, this is still a pretty fast, easy read*; the book reads almost like an action movie, which I mean as a compliment.

* Once I got past page 6, that is, and the mention of a favorite superhero of Steven's, an "African adventurer...who found himself critically injured and built a high-tech exoskeleton," called the Steel Mongoose. The Steel Mongoose's real name is Bob Mugabi, which is waaaaaay to close the corrupt Robert Mugabe.

Book info: Convergence (The Zodiac Legacy, Book 1) by Stan Lee, Stuart Moore, and Andie Tong
Middle Grade fiction
Published January 27, 2015 by Disney Press (ISBN 9781423180852)

Book source: review copy from publisher

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