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Bane of Kings writes an advanced review of Seven Wonders by Adam Christopher, published by Angry Robot books and released in August 2012 in the US, and September for the UK.
“An awesome novel that is one of my favourites so far this year. For those who thought that Christopher’s Empire State would be the best of his novels, then think again – Seven Wonders is much better. Reads like a superhero comic book in novel form. Unmissable.” ~The Founding Fields
Empire State was one of the novels that I read towards the end of 2011, and the only reason why it wasn’t included in my Best of 2011 list was because it was well, an Advanced Review and the actual publication of Adam Christopher’s first novel was released in January 2012. So, Empire State was the first novel on my Best of 2012 list, before the year had even started – I was completely blown away by it.
And now, with Seven Wonders, Adam Christopher’s second novel that is not a sequel to Empire State, but a new novel that could potentially be the start of its own series, Christopher has managed to blow me away yet again – Seven Wonders has just become one of my favourite novels of 2012, making it two out of two. Seven Wonders is probably going to be high on my list for best novel of 2012 as well, competing with Empire State and several other novels that have been released. It was that good.
Tony Prosdocimi lives in the bustling Metropolis of San Ventura – a city gripped in fear, a city under siege by the hooded supervillain, The Cowl.When Tony develops super-powers and acts to take down The Cowl, however, he finds that the local superhero team Seven Wonders aren’t as grateful as he assumed they’d be…
The blurb tells you the basics of the plot, but in reality, Seven Wonders will take you completely by surprise if you go into it expecting something along the lines of the aforementioned blurb. Sure, that’s included in there as well, but you get a lot more action and awesomeness than you bargained for, and I’m going to say something here – the actual plot is a lot better than what the blurb makes it out to be, and that made me enjoy the novel even more. It’s fast, action-packed and reminds me to epic graphic novels such as Watchmen, only in prose form. The plot’s complicated and with several twists and turns, you never know where you’re going to end up.
If you want to read some superhero fiction that isn’t a graphic novel/comic book, then Seven Wonders will be the perfect place to start. It can be read as a standalone and is not a sequel to Empire State (that’s Christopher’s next book, The Age Atomic), and its ending allows the opportunity for a sequel (which you won’t think is possible until you get there). The prose is fantastic and there isn’t a dull moment, with the author managing to keep you reading throughout. With praise heaped upon it by authors such as Greg Rucka (Alpha, the Punisher), Mike Carey (The Unwritten, X-Men) and Phillip Palmer (Hell Ship, Artemis) and more, Seven Wonders is one that you will not want to miss out on.
The characters are many and varied, and in this book Christopher includes more superheroes than you’ve ever seen in one novel before, using up any names that haven’t already been thought of, which characters such as the Dragon Star, Aurora’s Light and many more being included to ramp up the tension and create some epic scenes that will keep your eyes glued to the page (or the screen, if you’re reading an eBook version of this like I was), with development happening throughout the novel. The main focus is split equally between the Seven Wonders, the superhero group that are the main ‘heroes’ of the novel, as well as Tony Prosdocimi, who starts off as your average Joe living in a city filled with the extraordinary, who allows the reader to get an interesting perspective to superheroes, one that we don’t often see in the comic books. (Or at least, the ones that I’ve read anyway). I should point out that Tony’s transformation and the journey that he takes is an epic, action-packed one full of twists and turns, and by the end of the novel his virtually unrecognisable from the character that he was at the beginning.
As well as the superheroes and Tony, we’re also given the POV of the main super villain, the Cowl – and his accomplice, Blackbird. Both are the main villains for the first half of the novel and Christopher has even allowed for the Cowl to develop as a character over the course of the novel, and he, like Tony – undergoes a massive journey throughout the book. Blackbird is also an interesting character to look at, and she is also a key player (perhaps even more so than the Cowl himself) in Seven Wonders.
The world building of Seven Wonders is fantastically created, and set in the fictional metropolis of San Ventura, Christopher has fully fleshed out the city including various locations such as Wonder Tower (the Seven Wonders HQ) that get visited over the course of the novel, and has managed to do this without bogging down the story.