From the “Avengers” frenzy making global icons out of Spider-man and Iron Man to the boundary-breaking “Wonder Woman,” superheroes and their stories are timeless staples of the visual and literary entertainment industry. Although comic books and graphic novels are the classic form of superhero stories, their many adaptations have created numerous more creative iterations and have reached vast audiences. There’s definitely something that makes the superpower genre so universal. Its commonality also challenges creators to make their work unique and of high quality. Here are some superhero books to look out for.
“Vicious” and “Vengeful” by V.E. Schwab
This duology contained two of my favorite reads of the summer and is fittingly titled the “Villains” series. Schwab turns the concept of superheroes on its ear by writing her two main characters as morally gray, at conflict with their own powers and each other. The books are action-packed, yet introspective, easily read, yet some of the most skillful prose and writing I’ve come across.
ExtraOrdinaries are people that were at the brink of death but against all odds managed to survive and also received an extraordinary power suited to their psyche. Eli and Victor are two college students who decided to test the laws of nature and impose this phenomena on themselves. How they navigate their lives and powers post-experiment is an interesting look into the conflicting ideals of morally good and bad.
“Renegades” trilogy by Marissa Meyer
With “The Lunar Chronicles,” Meyer excelled at creating such a dynamic and cohesive group of main characters while also creating individually well-developed characters. It was an aspect of her writing I had hoped would carry over to her superhero duology-turned trilogy, as a strong “squad” is a staple of the genre. I’m not sure if I set my standards super high, but it did take me a little bit to warm up to Meyer’s society of the “good” renegades and “bad” anarchists. However, what I did come around to was the series’ exploration of the morally gray conflict between good versus evil. As expected, Meyer shone through with her characters, from their diversity to realistic characterization. When Nova, the main protagonist, was mentioned to be Filipina, my heart was so happy.
“The Reckoners” trilogy by Brandon Sanderson
Sanderson is typically known for crafting intricate and masterful high fantasy stories, and his fantastic storytelling translates well to this foray into the Young Adult (YA) genre. From his plotting to his pacing, all three entries in the series are a fun and intense ride. It’s an epic revenge story (if you read the books, you’ll get the pun) as David seeks to apprehend Steelheart, one of the people that was given superpowers after the “Calamity,” for killing his father. He needs the help of the Reckoners, the only people who seek to fight back against the extraordinarily powered people who have been using their powers for bad less than good.
“Gone” series by Michale Grant
I’m so glad they revamped the covers of this series because the angsty teenagers staring off into the distance did not do their stories justice. Okay, so maybe these books are a bit younger, with 15year old protagonists, but that doesn’t take away from Grant’s gradual improvement in storytelling and worldbuilding as the series progresses. With six books, you would think there would be a dud or lull in the middle, but the sequential and close nature of each of them helps keep the action high. In the world of “Gone,” everyone except the younger age group has disappeared. As they fight for survival, they also have to deal with some teens mutating with supernatural abilities, which is sure to spell out danger.
Hollie Lao is a staff writer and the social media manager for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.