Thursday, May 31, 2012

Fly Into Fire

by Susan Jane Bigelow

Grade: 3 stars
Story: Sequel to Broken and prequel to The Spark. (Story summary has spoilers for Broken. So be warned.) Sky Ranger has just committed treason and lost all his fellow extrahumans (i.e. superheros), all in one fell swoop. Now he's stranded in the middle of the desert, on the run from an evil government, and everybody hates his guts.

Thoughts: This series has this strange prevalence of polyamory. I don't quite like this, and it's not only because of the moral aspect of it. I really do find that, in stories, any romantic tension or excitement goes way down when people randomly sleep together. Even platonic tensions goes down, if that makes sense. I mean, a lot of this story consists of a largish group of non-related, unique people saving the world together. I love stories like that. They are almost always my favourite. But this time, I didn't have the same intensity of love for this group, even though I liked a lot of the characters quite a lot individually (especially Dee, Felipe, and Roger, although the latter never redeemed himself as much as I had hoped). I'm attributing this partly to this concept of polyamory.

But...maybe I'm misunderstanding something here? Because there are groups like the Study Group from Community that I love half to death, who nonetheless have some small elements of this too. But yet there is a huge difference between the two, which is that in Community, it's only a possibility. You can ship pretty much any particular couple and actually have some real live hope they'll get together. But everybody doesn't actually sleep together all the time. And it really is what you do, not what you feel, that counts for everything, even in stories. Anyhow, an analysis like this always takes a lot of subconscious thought on my part, so I'm going to have to let this percolate.

So this disconnect to the characters meant that the grade was very hard to determine. On the one hand, I read it quickly in a period where I hardly seem able to read anything. And it's a superhero story. I love superheros. And these superheros are all complex and broken, which makes it all the better. But on the other hand, there's the issue I talked about above, which makes the romantic dynamics so much less enjoyable. And I find it hard enough to like Romance as it is. And I was rather disappointed that it didn't delve more deeply into some of the secondary characters some more.

No comments: