Hearts Of Darkness, by Andrea Speed
Published by: DSP Publications
Release Date: November 8, 2016
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Kaede Hiyashi is sick and tired of living in the shadow of his father, supervillain Doctor Terror. Brilliant but crazy, Doctor Terror sends his son to Corwyn, California, for reasons Kaede can’t imagine. Sent to accompany and protect him is Ash, a genetically modified supersoldier raised and trained by an infamous death cult.
Corwyn is lousy with superheroes, led by the obnoxious Dark Justice. Kaede finds himself dancing around Dark Justice as he digs into his father’s mysterious business and teaches his socially awkward—but physically lethal—bodyguard to acclimate to “normal” life. Can these two wacky supervillains figure out what Doctor Terror wants them to do, solve the riddle of the villain known as Black Hand, and keep Dark Justice from raining on their bloody parade? The course of love—and world domination—never did run smooth.
I’m generally not a fan of superhero/villain stories, but I am an Andrea Speed fan so when the opportunity arose to review this book, I jumped at the chance. So while I’m probably not the target audience for this book, I still enjoyed this story as it manages to put a nice twist on the superhero trope and makes a couple of unlikely villains even more unlikely heroes.
Hearts Of Darkness has the same kind of feel as Speed’s Josh Of The Damned series – sort of funny and ridiculous in the best way. But when you’re writing about superheroes and supervillains, you can’t really take yourself seriously. As lighthearted as it is, though, the writing here is spot-on. Hearts of Darkness is engaging stuff and has the sort of appeal that can be appreciated by anyone between the ages of 15 and 50…and beyond.
This does feel like a YA novel, though, not only because the MCs are young men, but it reads like a book geared towards teenagers. I stand by my previous comment that it can appeal to all ages (I read some YA and I’m no teen), but if you’re looking for a bonk-fest, you’re not going to find it here – just a heads up.
The book is set predominantly in Corwyn, CA, a town that seems to house a very large number of superheroes, none of them seemingly too happy with Kaede Hiyashi settling into town with his mysterious ‘assistant’ Ash. The number of increasingly ridiculous weapons that Kaede has at his disposal – thanks to his crazily paranoid father – only lends itself to the comic book feel of the story. In fact, it’s not hard to imagine this written as a graphic novel. There are times that I wish it was, because I think it would lend itself to that format really well. Plus, it would make it easier for people like me to distinguish between all the superheroes mentioned, if I could see them instead of having to remember their names. There were a couple of times were I was confused as to who was who, but I only put that down to me not really being familiar with stories about heroes and villains in general.
Overall, I enjoyed Hearts Of Darkness and I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys comic books, graphic novels and the knowledge that supervillains aren’t always the bad guys.
Andrea Speed was born looking for trouble in some hot month without an R in it. While succeeding in finding Trouble, she has also been found by its twin brother, Clean Up, and is now on the run, wanted for the murder of a mop and a really cute, innocent bucket that was only one day away from retirement. (I was framed, I tell you – framed!)
In her spare time, she arms lemurs in preparation for the upcoming war against the Mole Men. Viva la revolution!
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I received an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.