Fiction - Adventure
566 Pages
Reviewed on 03/22/2018
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Husband, Dad, Musician, Author, Podcaster, Dungeons & Dragons World Builder, Avid Reader, Nice Guy.

    Book Review

Reviewed by K.J. Simmill for Readers' Favorite

In Lightforce by authors PB & Jason, Lee had never considered himself to be "normal." He thought perhaps it was a combination of factors; he was a child who read and did not watch TV. A loner, a boy of mixed race in a small town of mostly "pure blood", and he was gay. But he knew these were nothing compared to the real secret he harboured. Lee had super powers. When events twisted his hand he was forced to act, to reveal his ability to those close to him. Instead of judgement he received something else; a costume to protect his identity. It didn't take him long to realise what was going on; his father was turning him into a superhero, and with the world riddled with crime and danger, it certainly needed one. But before him lies a journey of secrets and conflict he could never have imagined.

In a story written in a really entertaining first person narrative, from the very start you get a really good insight into Lee’s character as he begins his almost awkward journey of self-discovery and choices. Lee shows some incredible depth of character, and I really enjoyed the tale of his life, how he came to be who he is, and what drives him. There's a complex plot with glimmers of humour woven in. Authors PB & Jason are brilliant at conjuring atmosphere, from the ambient to the suspenseful, from the tranquil to the chaotic. Perhaps one of the most unusual aspects of this book is how the switch from first to third person is employed. First person is reserved for monologues, thoughts, first person storytelling, and considerations, the stress and pressures upon Lee. For any descriptive, atmospheric, or visual elements, the tense switches to the third person, drawing the reader from the first person visual, before pushing them back for Lee to explain, offer thoughts on what was witnessed, or, more commonly, switch to another person's perspective. An entertaining read, with characters so vivid that they almost jump off the page.

Romuald Dzemo

Lightforce by PB & Jason is a powerful novel, an adventure told in an absorbing first person narrative voice. Meet Min-Su Li, born to a Korean father and a white mother, a kid who is anything but normal. He lost his mom when he was young and his dad isn’t the gentle and kind-hearted person anyone would expect, but a disciplinarian who is not “nurturing”. His mother was gunned down in a North Korean labor camp and his father saw it happen. From childhood, he’s learned to fight with skill, mastering arts like Judo, Aikido, and Ju-Jitsu. One gets the immediate impression that this young boy doesn't enjoy monotony, the reason why he quickly loses interest in his education. Curiously, he feels at home when surrounded by random metal and rust and the faint hint of old fuel. But how he becomes a hero is something the reader is about to find out.

The reader is immediately introduced to the protagonist, right from the very beginning of the story, which is told in the protagonist’s own voice. The quirkiness of the lead character comes out beautifully in the opening pages and his acute sense of sound already alerts the reader that he is not one’s usual downtown kid. The writing is beautiful and the tone is upbeat and arresting. While the writing showcases the authors' confidence, the pacing is slow at the beginning of the narrative because it focuses a lot on exploring the consciousness of the protagonist instead of creating a dramatic moment. The writing feels a little too explanatory at times, which robs the book of the effect of “showing” in the narrative. There is a lot of backstory in the first three chapters which, even though interesting, could have waited. Apart from that, the story is great and authors PB & Jason have done an awesome job in dealing with themes such as change, heroism, and responsibility. The quirkiness in the narrative voice, the vivid setting, and the memorable characters are elements that kept me turning the pages of Lightforce.

Ray Simmons

I have been a fan of heroes all my life. So, I guess it’s fair to say that Lightforce by PB & Jason was written for guys like me. I like this story. I like that the protagonist has doubts. The best heroes do. I like that the protagonist is young in spirit, but has experienced enough of the harshness of life so that at times he almost comes across as an old man, in the same way that Spiderman sometimes does in Marvel comics and that’s a pretty good trick to be able to pull off. I like that Min-Su Lee is part Korean, part Caucasian, and all American. This is the future of the United States, heroes of all kinds.

The writing is the first thing that captured my attention in Lightforce. It was immediately apparent that authors PB & Jason are an interesting and exciting new voice in American literature. I like the social commentary. I like the satire even more. The characters are very well drawn. The protagonist, Min-Su, is someone I can sympathize and empathize with, but to be honest, all these characters are portrayed in a very realistic way. Lightforce is a large novel. Certainly, much bigger than most novels in this genre, but again, I like that. I wanted to know more about the characters. I wanted to know more about what they were thinking and plotting. I like plots to be complex and a little drawn out. I am not usually a big fan of stories that never end, but I make an exception for heroes. Batman and Superman have been around since before I was born and I’m not tired of them yet. If you’re a fan of heroes, and things like the Marvel cinematic universe, then this is the book for you.