Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2013-11-18
- Reviewer: Staff
An arrogant jock gets something of a spiritually empowered superhero makeover in this origin story, the first in newcomer Johnson's Starlight Chronicles. Sixteen-year-old Hamilton Dinger is a Tetris-obsessed football player with a trademark smirk, a knack for getting top grades without working for them, and a crush on classmate Gwen Kessler. When a meteorite strikes Apollo City, it sparks a series of bizarre and unsettling events, including mysterious illnesses and attacks. Hamilton is caught up in the aftermath, beset by weird dreams and strange waking visions, all tied to his slowly manifesting powers. Though Hamilton prefers to focus on his normal life, he eventually and reluctantly springs into action to defend his home against the malevolent beings that are now threatening it, aided by the Celestial Dragon Elysian. The intentionally unlikable protagonist, a slow-burning plot, and a poorly explained premise weigh down Johnson's story. The underlying message—that "the desire for truth and love will bring us to the one who can bring us power," as Johnson writes in an afterword—is overshadowed by storytelling with little sense of urgency. Ages 12–18.