Sunday, June 25, 2017

Advanced Review: Got to Be A Hero by Paul Duffau

An Exciting New YA Fantasy Series

I had the chance to get an advanced copy of Got to Be a Hero, a new Young Adult fantasy novel by Paul Duffau.

Here's the blurb:
“I can’t heal dead. Be careful.”

While he works restoring a ‘68 Camaro to racing condition, Mitch Meriwether spots two thugs abducting runner and martial artist McKenzie Graham in broad daylight. Acting on instinct, he sprints to save the girl and lands himself in an arcane world where conspiracies rage, magic rules, and a Wizard who asks him to be a hero again, this time on purpose.

Between Mitch and Kenzie, a wizard herself, stands his status as Meat, the perverse traditions of the Families, and a psychopath bent on controlling Magic. On his side? One sarcastic wizard named Mercury. Knowing wizards had some advantages . . . except for the part where he might end up “unhealable.”

This book needs to come with a warning: reading this may cause lack of sleep due to un-put-down-ability. That certainly happened to me - stayed up all night because I just had to read one more page. Got To Be A Hero is set in modern day Seattle, opening on a 15 year old Kenzie training in a Tang Soo Do studio. Kenzie is a dedicated karate student, using the discipline of the art to help deal with the stress of her Family issues. That's capital "F" Family because Kenzie belongs to a magically gifted clan who use their powers to accrue wealth and power.

Mitch is a regular kid with a troubled past from the seedier side of town, kind of a klutzy nerd with a knack for electronics and problem-solving. He goes to a technical high school, his only friend is his equally smart and much handsomer and wealthier lab partner, Hunter.

Some Family-related intrigue is putting Kenzie in danger, and Mitch happens to witness it and tries to be a good Samaritan. That plunges him blindly into a dangerous and deadly magical struggle where his only weapon are his wits.

I enjoyed this book a lot. I was charmed by the fact that one of the main characters is a 15 year-old Tang Soo Do practicing girl just like Kid the Younger and in fact I had her check the sparring scene right away for technical accuracy (she gave me two thumbs up). One of the things I appreciate about this writer is how well he writes physical action - you can tell he's athletic and very aware of how bodies move and feel. It gives his stories a realistic feeling.

Kenzie is a gifted enchantress with strict and aloof parents - basically a poor little rich magic girl. But Mitch is the reason I love this story. His character is what gives this story heart. He's just very sympathetic - tragic past, tough home, but he doesn't wallow and focuses on acting in the now. I think that's the main reason I felt compelled to keep reading - I wanted to see what Mitch does next.

And then there's Mitch's friend Hunter, the dark horse. Will he be a good guy or a bad guy? And why is the enigmatic Mercury helping at all? I can't wait to read the next book!

Got to Be a Hero is an exciting start of a new YA fantasy series (The Accidental Hero Series) with great world-building, a lot of action, mystery and a clean, sweet romance. It's slated for release in August but available for pre-order now.

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