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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars With Great Power...
'Superpowers' is a comic book but without any pictures, which frankly ought not to work but thanks to David J. Schwartz's fast moving prose, it does. Five college students wake up one morning and discover that they have acquired various (and typical for the genre) superpowers. Unlike many superhero tales 'Superpowers' does not rely on Good Vs Evil to drive its plot...
Published on 23 Jun 2008 by Quicksilver

versus
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not for grownups
Contrary to what the Times review says, this is a teen novel that might appeal to some adults. It adds nothing at all to the debate - pretty much exhausted by the major comic publishers - about the use and abuse of "super" powers, the nature of good and evil, secret identities to protect loved-ones and ends versus means. Its pretty well written, which got it its second...
Published on 2 Oct 2008 by The Electric Ghost


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars With Great Power..., 23 Jun 2008
By 
Quicksilver (UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
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This review is from: Superpowers (Paperback)
'Superpowers' is a comic book but without any pictures, which frankly ought not to work but thanks to David J. Schwartz's fast moving prose, it does. Five college students wake up one morning and discover that they have acquired various (and typical for the genre) superpowers. Unlike many superhero tales 'Superpowers' does not rely on Good Vs Evil to drive its plot. Indeed, the novel's central message is that good and evil largely depends on perspective.

'Superpowers' explores the moral obligations of those imbued with supernatural ability in a far more effective way than having Tobey 'Spiderman' Macguire banging on about 'great power coming with great responsibility' every five seconds. The attempts of Schwartz's characters to come to terms with their powers and their responsibilities is very well actualised and extremely human.

Schwartz also tackles, with great sensitivity, humanity's failings and the feelings of inadequacy we all feel from time to time. By using, larger superpowered examples, he offers us a microscope with which to look at our own motives and ambitions. As the tension in the novel builds, real world events also impact on the group, distorting their world view even further. Their response, is an excellent (if thinly veiled) metaphor for the American led response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

All in all, I found 'Superpowers' to be a very satisfying read. The novel is well paced and manages to be describe the supernatural and yet remain believable. Excellent stuff.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not for grownups, 2 Oct 2008
This review is from: Superpowers (Paperback)
Contrary to what the Times review says, this is a teen novel that might appeal to some adults. It adds nothing at all to the debate - pretty much exhausted by the major comic publishers - about the use and abuse of "super" powers, the nature of good and evil, secret identities to protect loved-ones and ends versus means. Its pretty well written, which got it its second star, but otherwise it lacked originality and I found the characters rather 2-dimensional. Its only realism is that it ends with a whimper not a bang. Read a graphic novel or The Death and Life of Superman by Roger Stern instead.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Fun read, 7 April 2013
This review is from: Superpowers (Kindle Edition)
Superpowers is a fun book and like an earlier commentator said; it comes across very much like a graphic novel. It's fairly light on description, though the style is (partially) explained.
I don't particularly like the author's notes throughout as it broke away from the narrative, but the interruptions were short enough for it not to be an issue.
3 stars because there was nothing bad about this book, but nothing great either. It's just an easy read. Good for those who like superhero movies but don't read graphic novels and want a bit more of that kind of thing.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A really good read, 17 April 2012
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This review is from: Superpowers (Kindle Edition)
I was recommended this by someone on a forum when I was looking for a 'coming into powers' book that was aimed at older people. Often I've found them pitched at high-school aged teens - 14 to 16 years old - which has frustrated me as I've got older, since I enjoy that style of story a lot, but am now looking for something a bit meatier.

This was absolutely perfect. Whilst not strictly a fantasy, it deals with a group of University students who all find themselves with superpowers after a storm one night - flight, super speed, telepathy, invisibility and super strength.

There are no traditional villains, it's just a very human story with the powers used as a catalyst to explore the lives and developments of these characters, set against the backdrop of the run up to, and short time after, 9/11.

It's a wonderful and very compelling read, and I would wholeheartedly recommend it.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Not the greatest novel but quite entertaining, 28 Jan 2009
This review is from: Superpowers (Paperback)
I like comic books and books, TV shows and movies about heroes, like most of my generation, I have grown up with super-heroes movies and I when I saw the book I was curious about how the author was going to develop the idea, that was both simple and attractive.
It is the usual beginning for a comic book, five college students, let's say, five friends, each one with their issues and background stories of sorrow and pain, get super powers and try to help a world that is amazed and fears them.
It has some very good points, showing us the human side of these heroes, how they get to terms with what they are living, the author doesn't make the mistake of going all the way with the comic book genre, and has some brilliant moments, like when they get together to decide whether they will be superheroes or not.

The book is told by a "journalist" that gives his point of view all the time and the chapters are short, easy to read and fast.
Even if you don't love comics or haven't read one in your life, the author explains everything in a simple way. It is not a challenging book but a fairly entertaining one.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Deeper than I expected, and better, 6 Sep 2008
This review is from: Superpowers (Paperback)
We've probably all wondered what it would be like to have powers -- to fly to work when we can't be bothered with the traffic; to turn invisible in horrible situations; to run away at light speed; to hear the thoughts of those around us; and, perhaps, to throw people through brick walls.

In Superpowers, the first novel of David J. Schwartz (who, much like a superhero, has many different aliases throughout the Internet: world renowned motivational speaker; popular science writer for children, et cetera) we learn just what it would be like have those powers, and the answer he gives is funny, well-written, and often quite sad.

Five American college students, decide to have a party, and home made booze is brought along. The very next morning they wake up with superpowers... Now, before everyone goes rushing off and gets totally inebriated ("in the name of superpowers!"), their powers aren't an entirely great thing to have. Hardly super at all, really. Mary Beth is so strong that she can't open the fridge without tearing it apart (or make love to her boyfriend...); Charlie goes pretty much insane with all the minds he can hear, all the emotions that wash over him, and now wanders around wearing a tinfoil hat and a scruffy beard; Harriet is invisible and is worried she's fading away; Caroline, though, can fly, and has no problem with that fact; nor does Jack, who can run faster than the fastest bullet. Eventually, they decide that they will use their powers to help their city -- and in come the superhero costumes (they have, after all, started reading comics) and the late evenings. Most people are pleased to have them around -- except the police, and criminals.

Eventually, though, things go wrong. Mistakes are made, people are hurt. And horrible truths about their powers come out...

This was a very funny novel. The humour is grittier than I expected, but it really works well in bringing this all down to Earth and fleshing out the characters, especially Charlie. There were times also when it was very sad, particularly towards the end as everything falls apart. David Schwartz does a very good job of taking an alternate look at what it would be like to be a superhero, and finds that not everything is hunky-dory.

It probably treads slightly on spoiler, but I've seen this around on the net -- people being turned away from the book because of the fact that 9/11 plays it's part in this book. Like me, when I was reading it, they were worried that superpowers and 9/11 would combine in a very lame story and slightly sickening story. Well, it didn't. There is no real Big Bad in this book -- just the realisation that everything comes at a cost, often very high -- and it didn't turn into superheroes beating the hell out of terrorists (as Superman did in the 1930/40s with Hitler). If anything, it was the instant hate that arose after 9/11 that ruined everything for the heroes.

Superpowers is funny, it is energetic, witty and sad. It can't read your mind, travel faster than light, or turn invisible, though -- which is useful, really, or you'd miss this rather excellent book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Not what I'd usually read and I was pleasantly surprised, 30 July 2008
By 
Sarah Durston (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Superpowers (Paperback)
'Superpowers' really isn't the sort of book I would usually read, I tend to give sci-fi and comic books a wide berth, but I was initially attracted to the cover of this book and thought I would give it a go.

The book is based on the premise that it is journalism rather than fiction, and so there are 'Editor's notes' chapters written by one of the minor characters, Marcus Hatch. The story tells of five college students who wake up one morning after a house party and have acquired superpowers: Charlie can read minds; Harriet can become invisible; Mary Beth has incredible strength; Caroline can fly and Jack can move at great speed. As the story unfold we see how each of the characters adapts to their new skills and comes to terms with how their life changes. It doesn't take long before they have pooled their skills and are acting as a crime-fighting team, trying to prevent crimes and clearing up unsolved cases.

The one thing I really liked about this book was that it does not always follow the expected path. If I tell you that the action is set in the summer of 2001, it isn't hard to imagine that September 11th will fall into the plot, but perhaps not in the way you would expect.

This was a good and well-paced read. The only minor criticisms that I would have are that the female journalist, who is a minor character, could have been dispensed with completely; that there are times when the narrative seems to be overtly 'male'; and that the editorial explanations can feel a bit like disclaimers and excuse the author from explaining some of the more outlandish events in the story. On the whole though, these are minor criticisms, if you can manage to suspend your disbelief you'll enjoy it!
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3.0 out of 5 stars Not quite a supernovel, 12 July 2008
By 
Ichabod J (Farleigh Wallop, Hampshire) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Superpowers (Paperback)
This book tells the story of five US college students who inexplicably acquire superpowers overnight, following a heavy session on the homebrew. The novel focuses on how the individuals come to terms and utilise their new gifts of super strength, speed, flight, invisibility and telepathy.
This is in the 'Heroes' mould and may appeal to fans of that show; having said which, neither this novel nor 'Heroes' treads very new ground - superheroes have, of course, been struggling to come to terms with their gifts/curses for decades in comic books.
The plot, such as it is, is quite thin; without givng the storyline away, the novel looks at the difficulty of being a hero and doing good, exposing the limitations of superpowers in sorting the world out.
I would recommend this to anyone drawn by the subject matter, as it's a quick and light read. I do wish, though, that Schwartz had let his characters (and readers) have a bit more fun with those superpowers, instead of cutting almost immediately to the anguished motif of 'it's no cakewalk being a superhero'.
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Superpowers
Superpowers by David J Schwartz (Paperback - 5 Jun 2008)
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