Sunday, August 01, 2010


Those of you who frequent my blog regularly know that I've been working on a Christian YA book about superheroes, one I call Failstate. I haven't posted an update about it in a while (mostly because I have very little to report; I'm in the middle of a substantial edit on the manuscript). Well, it's because of that work-in-progress that I read this book.

See, a few weeks ago, I was in a Christian bookstore and was perusing the books and I found Leaper, a book about "the misadventures of a not-necessarily-super hero." Seemed to be kind of like mine. But what had me worried was where I found Leaper, namely in the bargain bin. So I figured I'd better buy the book and see what author Geoffrey Wood had to say about superheroes from a Christian perspective.

Leaper is the story of James, an overly-caffeinated barista who one day discovers he has the power to leap through space but not time. In other words, he can instantaneously teleport himself from one point to another. After some accidental "leaps," James comes to the conclusion that God was the one who gave him this ability and that He must have so James can do good. So James sets out to "do good," whatever that means, in spite of distractions from his ex-wife, an overly perfect coworker, and a police detective who seems convinced James is up to no good.

I'm really not sure what to make of this book. On the plus side, Wood's writing is witty and he has an extremely strong voice. There are great tidbits of writing as we try to keep up with James caffeinated thought process. And I also appreciated the fact that James wasn't just another generic non-denominational Christian. He was Catholic, a nice change of pace. Would that more Christian fiction allowed for more diversity in thought and practice.

All that being said, though, I was a bit dissatisfied with this book overall. For starters, none of the characters are all that likable, including James. The only seemingly good character came off as a fake caricature at best. I kept reading the book, hoping that someone would show a glimmer of something positive, but that never seemed to happen. James especially annoyed me. While I get that his life was falling to pieces around him, I kept hoping for some redeeming quality to pop up, but instead, he just simply fell apart, only to be put back together by an odd quai-deus ex machina moment at the very end that left me feeling flat and a little out of sorts.

Also problematic was the book's point, mostly because I'm not sure it had one. I struggled with this for a while. It almost seems as if Wood's point is, "God is God. We're not good. We try to do good in our own little way." Something like that. I don't know.

Whatever the case, this was still an interesting read although, truth be told, I can kind of understand why it wound up in the bargain bin.

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