Friday, June 19, 2015

Book Review: A Once Crowded Sky, by Tom King

Book Review and Discussion: A Once Crowded Sky, By Tom King


Synopsis: "A tour de force debut novel from a former CIA counter-terrorism officer, A Once Crowded Sky fuses the sensibility of bombastic, comic-book-style storytelling with modern literary fiction to bring to life a universe of super men stripped of their powers, newly mortal men forced to confront danger in a world without heroes." -


First Impressions: I picked up this book from my library, expecting a book filled with epic super-hero action and battles. After all, the in-book illustrations hint at that, drawn in panels and with a strong comic-style. But this book delivers just a bit of that, choosing a darker and more realistic perspective to take on. In a world where classic comic-book action is a thing of the past, Tom King focuses on a small but varied group of ex-heroes as they struggle to go through normal lives without their powers, and later on go back into "the game" (as they call heroics) when an unknown danger strikes their city.

 Sticking to a select few, Tom King builds up his characters well throughout the book, with origin stories and reveals given at the right time. This has allowed for rounded characters with motivations that you'd understand and root for. The chapters on the book, separated as comic book issues (though it took me a little while to figure this out) are at first an interesting novelty, but later takes on great significance for the story, making them all the more a brilliant idea.

Even though Tom King is dealing with a all-too familiar concept of superheroes, his characters are given the right amount of originality yet are  reminiscent of the famous comic-book characters we know from well-known comic-book publishers. They are not cliches you'd get bored of reading about. They are the the once-cliches, given a dose of reality.

But I do have my gripes about the book. The ending for example, was a little bit of a let-down, even after all the build-up from preceding chapters. The build-up itself was long and drawn-out, with much description (maybe a bit too much, with relation to the rest of the book?) and held expectation - and yet it does not deliver.  I may be a comic-book reader who likes a good ending, but the effort of describing the moments before the heroic (almost) sacrifice was ruined by an ending that deflated all expectations. 

Though "A Once Crowded Sky" may not be the super-hero action-packed adventure-novel I was expecting, I am still glad I picked this book up, as it presented a different but interesting perspective of the comic-book universe. So pick it up if you want a little spin around the comic-book world - you won;t be disappointed! (Well, maybe a little.)

Rating: 8.5/10

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