Author: Hope Bolinger and Alyssa Roat
Publisher: INtense Publications (September 28, 2020)
Paperback, 430 pages
YA, YA romance (sort of)
Cortex and V need a new nemesis. Cortex’s last villain dumped him, and V got a little overeager and took out her hero prematurely. They meet on Meta-Match, a nemesis pairing site for heroes and villains. After throwing punches at each other behind coffee shops and hiring henchman to do their bidding (mostly just getting them coffee), they realize they have a lot more in common than meets the eye. And they may have a lot more hero and villain inside than they realize.
I really love the concept for this book – heroes and villains meet up on a site called Meta-Match, where you can find someone to be your nemesis. The superheroes and villains in this book are more like hardcore influencers, focused on building a following. Fights are scheduled – and even choreographed if you really want to get those views.
Dear Hero is written in an epistolary format, told entirely via the exchange of private messages and group chats on the Meta-Match website. The authors work in some tech so they have a voice-to-text/text-to-voice option (and some zaniness that means it’s turned on when it otherwise wouldn’t have been), but it’s still an extremely limited way to tell a story and the overall story itself does sometimes suffer from it. It might have been nice to have a mix of this epistolary style alternating with more traditional chapters – but then again, maybe that would have spoiled the charm of it all.
Cortex and Vortex (oh no, their names rhyme! V’s gonna barf!) are both really fun characters, and I especially liked some of the side characters like Bernard (V’s octogenarian dragon-shifter butler) and Cortex’s little sister Himari. I liked the thought of superheroes and villains as more of a performative piece and a job, but wish there had been more world-building (again, something I feel was limited by the style). V stole the show for me, and I love her to pieces and want to hug her to pieces and hope she doesn’t decide she hates it and murder me. There were some EXTREMELY funny bits in this book that kept me reading and laughing and reluctant to put it down. It also managed to make me cry (twice) which I didn’t expect from something that started out as such a bizarre sort of comedy seeming thing.
If you love superheroes and villains (especially when they start exploring what it means to be a “hero” or a “villain”), sidekicks and evil henchmen, online dating and opposites-attract romances, laughing and maybe crying a tiny bit – this could be the book for you. 😉
A digital ARC of this book was provided by the authors for review. All opinions are unbiased and my own.