Length: Approx 7 hrs
Reader: Matthew Wayne Selznick
The book: Nathan Charters is weird. Okay, it's the 1980s and everyone looks weird, but Nate is different. He has supersensitive hearing, smell, and nightvision. He has more strength and speed than this frame suggests, and he looks like a freak. So when William Donner makes a declaration on TV that there are other superhumans, "sovereigns" as he calls them, Nate can see his life in high school going from bad to worse.
A superpower novel has to have good action. Selznick delivers in this department with several exciting fights and many more suspenseful moments. But it is his great characters, particularly Nate, who make this an enjoyable novel.
Selznick's novel, at first glance, seems like a standard superhero genre young adult novel. The main internal conflict is the protagonist's struggle with identity. Like all adolescents, Nate is trying to figure out his own body, his sexual feelins for his girlfriend, his future, and most of all, what he is and what to call himself. Later in the story, he has to deal with the issues of parental trust in both directions. Yet, this story does not seem to be aimed at adolescents. Why set it in the 1980s and fill it with references to the culture and music of the time? Instead, I think it's aimed at the children of the 80's, now adults, who are trying to remember what it was like to be a teenager. Even though I was really a preteen in the 80s, the book was effective in bringing back nostalgia, not only for the time period, but for my own youth.
The reader: Selznick reads his own book, which is quite a treat. As I've mentioned before, he's an excellent reader. His young-sounding voice seems to fit Nate as the first-person narrator in this book. Selznick doesn't overdo the voices, but gives each character a slightly different sound that fits well. The music at the beginning and end of each episode sets the mood for an 80's story, though toward the end, I found myself fast-forwarding a minute or so to get to the story.