Wednesday, 21 September 2016
Ace of Spiders by Stefan Mohamed
review by Maryom
Stanly Bird is no ordinary teenager. On his sixteenth birthday he discovered he had 'super powers' - the ability to fly, and move objects via telekinesis. Now, nearly two years later (and after the adventures related in Bitter Sixteen), he's living in London with similarly 'empowered' friends, being encouraged to hide his powers, but feeling that he shouldn't waste them.
His comparatively quiet life comes to an end though when an assassin is sent after him. Although this time the threat is fought off, Stanly and his friends seem to be under surveillance by the secretive Angel Group, and Stanly refuses to sit idly by while the mysterious corporation pick off those with special powers one by one ... and finds their actions have opened a whole can of worms (and far more scary monsters).
Firstly, I have to admit to not having read Bitter Sixteen as I wasn't actually sure that a YA super-hero story was my kind of read, but Ace of Spiders turned up for review, worked it's way to the top of the TBR pile, and I thought I'd give it a go. I'm so glad I did, as i was soon completely hooked, and now I understand why readers and reviewers were so enthusiastic about the first book in the series!
Stanly starts out looking for some excitement in his life. Influenced by all the super-hero stories he's read, he's looking for a way to put his powers to some practical use helping people, preventing crime, catching criminals and such, so, when he finds out the world itself is under threat from the Angel Group's experiments, he's the first in the queue to try to stop them. He's joined, though maybe a tad less enthusiastically, by his old friends, who'll be familiar to readers of Bitter Sixteen, and some new ones, as the very fabric of the universe tears apart - and hideous monsters crawl and fly through. It may start quietly but soon it's a roller-coaster of action adventure!
Theoretically it's a Young Adult novel, but if you're that bit older (like me!) don't let that put you off. If you're looking for something a little different, full of action, evil villains, good guys trying to save the world and bizarre out-of-this-world monsters - it's just like your favourite video game - give this a read. There's a little of The Matrix, a fair bit of Primeval and references to all sorts of graphic novels/comics mixed in, and it's so refreshing to have a super hero who isn't American and clad in garish Lycra!
Oh, and it's funny, and there's a talking dog who frequently saves the day (and Stanly), and lots of improbable scary monsters (did I already mention those? well, they're worth mentioning again).
Obviously, as the second book, Ace of Spiders carries spoilers for its predecessor, so it's probably better to read the series in order, but I picked the story-so-far up easily and was quite prepared to run with it from this point.
Maryom's review - 4 stars
Publisher - Salt Publishing
Genre - YA/adult sci fi fantasy action adventure