I really wanted to like this book. This is the first superhero novel I've ever read, and I was excited about it -- I love superhero comics, so seeing capes and spandex in another medium was exciting to me.
I shouldn't have wasted my time.
This book wanted to go places. I could see that. It was plotted to a grand scale, but fell short in the execution. I think it primarily failed in attaching the reader to its many characters. We're introduced to so many characters, you'd think one of them at least would wriggle their way into our hearts and have us rooting for them. I didn't care about a single character. Every single one of the Seven Wonders seemed like empty superhero templates who were merely going through the motions of humanity. The detectives Sam was a cookie cutter revenge cop with no real depth to her motivations (and also why did the superheroes bring them along for the ride? They couldn't have known how things would turn out, so stringing two non-powered humans along was basically putting them in the direct line of fire. Idiots).
And lastly, Tony, who the readers ought to feel the most connected to, was shallow, stupid, and hateful. His character development was all over the place. One might argue that the sudden influx of all his powers screwed up his perception of the world, but he was a self-righteous ass with no real direction. He hated the Cowl, he hated San Ventura, he hated the Wonders -- and then all of a sudden he loved all of those things (well except maybe for the Cowl). It pissed me off that he saved the day, because if there ever was a character who deserved to die ignominiously it was him.
The only two characters who stirred up any sort of interest for me were Blackbird and the Cowl, but I never felt really invested in them. Cowl always seemed like a bit of a milksop to me, and became even more so when he became Paragon. Blackbird was unrepentantly bad, which I liked, but her motivations were never really clear, and she irritated as much as amused me with her attitude.
I get what Adam Christopher was trying to do. He was trying to turn the hero-worship people have of superheroes on its head by portraying them as everything other than the spotless paragons they're meant to be. He wanted to show what was wrong with overpowered men and women being above the law, and the consequences of having power and losing it. In the end, he tried to create an awe-inspiring force of earth's mightiest heroes, but in this he ran up against the problem of the reader's lack of familiarity with all the heroes he invented for the end. He just rattled off a roster of superhero-themed names, and no one cared when they died by the hundreds.
There's just so much wrong with this book. He may have successfully rehabilitated the supposedly villainous Cowl, but redeeming Seven Wonders
from its tangled mess of stereotypes and character development hells looks like a job for Superman.