Crimson Son, by Russ Linton (40:00)

IOD-CrimsonSonA little bit of petulant teen goes a long way, but strong writing and an awesome premise recovered the fumble and carried it over the goal line.

What I gleaned about the story: In a world where government-manufactured super-heroes have replaced war and terrorism as the world’s biggest threats – and it’s source of salvation – the only thing that sucks worse than having no powers at all, is being the powerless son of the world’s greatest hero. And spending your life trapped inside his fortress of solitude. For your own protection, you understand. But petulant teen-snark is like a super power, isn’t it? Let’s find out!

Find the book on Amazon.

Kudos: This is hands down, the most original story premise I’ve seen so far in ImmerseOrDie.

WTF #1: The bitchy teen boy POV wears a bit thin.

Analysis: The problem is, I was a self-absorbed, whiny teen, so spending long stretches of time forced back into that head-space drains me pretty quickly. But the story kept unfolding, despite those misgivings. I did pop out of immersion a few times, but I kept diving back in, too. To see what would happen next.

And this problem of feeling oppressed by the intensity of the POV is a common one for me with 1st-person stories. The good ones find ways to break that up and pull the camera back a little, to let me breathe on my own for a bit. Fortunately, Crimson Son eventually did that, too. And once it had, there was no looking back.

Kudos: I particularly enjoyed the notion that even though history in this world chose to developing super-humans instead of atomic weapons, that didn’t free us from our own stupidities. And the major touchstones of our own violence-driven history of atrocities unfolded more or less the same as ours, but with super-heroes and villains doing all the damage instead of tanks and bombs.

Addendum: Upon reading the entire book, I found it tight throughout and was thoroughly entertained, so Crimson Son was chosen as one of the 8 books to represent ImmerseOrDie in the first IOD StoryBundle collection.

All Is Silence, by Robert L. Slater (24:39)
The King's Sword, by C. J. Brightley (8:27)