Mindfire - Transformational Superhero Fiction
As an up and coming Narrator of up & coming authors, I enjoy the opportunity to network with others in a similar situation. I love the creative process and seeing how different minds explore it. Part and parcel of mass consumption of beginner's work is the inescapable reality that it is just that - beginner's work. Some will be brilliant, some, may need some more polishing before it achieves the level of quality & cohesion that makes the best art stand out.
Why do I start a review with such a "disclaimer?" When I began listening to Jillian Yetter's narration of Mindfire by Allen Steadham, I was a little worried that it was on the needing polished side of things. The first couple of chapters just seemed pretty cliche to me. I'm not saying that by the end, it still couldn't have used a little more polishing. But I am saying that it only took a few chapters to really draw me in to where I was invested in the characters and their stories. I should also add the disclaimer that I was given this audiobook via storyorigin, but my opinions are my own.
The main character of the book - Leia Hamilton - Begins the story by:
1. Finding out she has pyrokinesis (what a fun word) & other powers
2. Finding out she is pregnant, and
3. Finding out her parents were superheros/villains 'back in the day.'
Mildly cheesy, but in our day of Marvel or DC Superhero movie of the week, I'm willing to run with it. This is definitely not Marvel or DC here though.
More in the vein of Sky High, but a little more mature. Leia is in college and pregnant. It was apparent fairly quickly that this is a book by a devout Christian as well, but I didn't find his references to faith such that it became a "preachy" book. Perhaps in part because the overtly Christian characters in the book themselves do not come across as preachy, but more as wanting to share how their lives had been transformed by their faith with those who were in similar circumstances.
The transformational nature of the story is what kept me coming back to it though. And nearly all of the characters in this story experience some kind of transformation, often in unexpected ways. Their interaction with each other and sharing of their personal struggles with each other makes this superhero book a very HUMAN book. Society is full of mixed families, parents who have made serious mistakes, children who have to come to terms with the imperfections of their parents and of themselves.
Some things I particularly liked about Mindfire - Steadham essentially has 2 plots going - one from 20 years ago, and one in present day. The "flashback" portions of the story are done in such a way that helps you understand more about the depth of the many characters & is woven through the story just enough to keep you interested in the growth of the older characters & a better understanding of where they are at today. The "romance" element. Some people I'm sure would find the romance elements of this novel a little juvenile, but I appreciated that it was mostly wholesome, but also didn't paint a picture of perfect people, and even of people who's feelings may change, but the feelings they may have once had for someone still inform their actions. I also enjoyed that there was no one in this story who was "all good" or "all evil." But they were all flawed, just like normal people. And they each had to deal with their flaws. I enjoy stories that encourage us to look inward at what changes we may need to make & see others through the lens of realizing that we never have the whole picture
And the cover - It's really simple, but it definitely caught my eye to begin with & made me curious about the book. It freaked my wife out a little, but I like it.
I also enjoyed Jillian Yetter's performance of the book. Probably one of my favorite characters she voiced was Josh Manning. I just really liked her accent for him & how genuine he felt (ok, maybe he was an "all good" character). Leia is also done very well. Malevolence/Angela also has a fairly distinct voice. I did find Yetter's performance of especially the female characters when they were worked up, all sounded fairly similar. Also, there were several occasions throughout the book where there were repeated phrases.
Writing wise - I would rate Mindfire at 4 stars. Story at 4 stars as well. Performance - 3.5 stars, probably rounding up to 5. This is my first experience with both author & narrator. I'd gladly check out more material from either of them.