Rise of Heroes

FallofHeroesIn the first Cloak Society novel, the relationship between Alex Knight and his mother was so bad we didn’t see how the two could ever patch up their differences. And now here we are in the third book. And guess what? The two are still raging a war against each other.

Using a little bit of mind control and some intimidation tactics, Shade and her Cloak crew have successfully taken over Sterling City. But the villainess isn’t totally satisfied. She’s got her eyes on a bigger prize. “I won’t stop fighting until this entire world is bowing before me,” she says.

Alex, to his credit, doesn’t want to have anything to do with his mother’s megalomaniacal schemes. He’s put together a disparate team of young guns and their goal is to blast the Cloak Society to smithereens. Naturally, the ensuing novel-ending clash is fueled by unresolved familial drama.

Alex had spent his entire life trying to guess what his parents wanted from him. And now he’d gone and done the exact opposite. He became one of the good guys. “I was supposed to be your biggest victory,” he tells his mother during an early showdown. “But look at me now. I got away from you. I didn’t turn into your weapon.”

It’s funny. Even though Shade was furious with Alex for mucking up her plans, she was actually quite proud of him. Once he left the Cloak Society, Alex was able to form his own group of superheroes. She admired his pluck and concedes that he’s become a first-rate leader. She also acknowledges that her son’s telekinetic powers now rivaled her own. Because Shade is a villain first and a mother second, she respects Alex more as an adversary than as a son. Truly, it is a crazy fucked up world we live in.

Alex and his parents aren’t the sole focus in this book of course. There are other cast members grappling with personal issues of their own. One sub-plot involves Lone Star, the most popular superhero in Sterling City. At the end of the second novel (Villain’s Rising) he was banished to a Phantom Zone-like prison. When Alex and his gang finally arrive to help him escape, Lone Star discovers that he has lost all of his superhuman powers. The author’s decision to feature an adult’s identity crisis in a kid’s book was a (somewhat) surprising twist that we didn’t expect.

In the series’ first novel, Alex and a girl named Kirbie shared a sweet moment during a secret midnight rendezvous. Alex’s resolve to abandon the Cloak Society (and betray his parents) can be traced back to that particular moment. Unquestionably it was our favorite part of the first novel. We were happy to see Alex and Kirbie have a similar moment in this book too.

“Congratulations,” says Kirbie to her new friend and teammate. “You’re a superhero now.” She may possess Beast Boy-like morphing abilities, but it turns out that her sense of intuition was actually her greatest super power. “I was right about you all along,” she says with a big grin.

[The Cloak Society: Fall of Heroes / By Jeramey Kraatz / First Printing: September 2014 / ISBN: 9780062095534]

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