Wednesday, July 13, 2016

She Finds Power - Anthony Robertson

She Finds Power
Title: She Finds Power
Author: Anthony Robertson
Publication Date: 5/24/12
Pages: 133
How I Found It: Via the author
Date Completed: 5/22/16

Summary: Becker finds herself immersed in a whole new world when she starts developing what can only be described as super powers.

What I Thought: About a million years ago, Robertson contacted me and asked if I'd be interested in reading his book in exchange for an honest review. The concept sounded intriguing to me, so I accepted. To you, Anthony, I apologize for the crazy long amount of time it took me to get around to it. You were right, it's a quick read and I should have prioritized it sooner.

Especially in the beginning, I felt some of the writing was a little forced. It felt contrived rather than natural conversation or descriptions. There were a few instances where I was begging internally for Robertson to show, not tell. I think this is a barrier that a lot of writers struggle with, myself included. It's a hard thing to do and few do it well. In my mind, those who show and don't tell - about everything: character emotion, plot points, etc. - are the ones whose books win literary awards. Robertson improved in this as the book went on. It made me wonder how long the writing process took and in what order the book was written. Some sections just seemed to have been written on a more eloquent day than others - a struggle to which I think every writer ever can relate. Some days the words just come easier and better.

I did like that protagonist Becker did not suddenly wake up one morning and discover she had a new arsenal of superhero powers. Instead, after the unusual incident which led to her change (all superheroes needs one), she came to learn them gradually and she had to train herself. Nothing happened overnight. She worked hard to develop her new skills. This is such a change from the one minute montage most superhero stories offer us. It felt much more realistic (can we say that about super powers?) to have her work hard and slowly see the dividends, albeit with plenty of mistakes and missteps along the way.

Because the book is so short, things move very quickly. At the start of some chapters, I had to re-calibrate and suddenly figure out a new setting and set of circumstances for Becker. If this was fleshed out to a full-length novel, I think some of these transitions would be less jarring. As they were, I did not necessarily mind them. It felt like part of the style and inherent in this length of work.

I cannot say I loved the work. It feels like the early work of someone who has potential but has not quite tapped into it fully yet. It was a fun, engaging read - something different than what I normally picked up. I'm not big on superhero stories, but I do always like watching women discover strength within themselves, whatever the fictional or real-life circumstances. I mean, the book is called She Finds Power; there's something deliciously feministic about that. I look forward to seeing Robertson grow and develop as a writer, because I think the core talent is there. Just like Becker's powers, it requires some more practice and experimentation.

Rating: ★★★☆☆
Will I Re-Read: I don't think so
If You Liked This, Try: Seeker / Divergent / Legend

A Reduced Review: A different spin on the superhero troupe; imperfect, but a quick, enjoyable read.

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