Mindfire by Allen Steadham
Twenty-year-old Leia Hamilton discovers that she can move things — and set them on fire — with her mind, a result of her father being a former superhero and her mother, the deadliest of supervillains. Unlike other superhero-related novels, the focus in Mindfire isn’t on secret identities, costumes or evil plots endangering the world. Instead, the female protagonist’s self-discovery and adaptation to her circumstances take precedence. This novel is also a psychological thriller, delving into mystery, alive with action, unafraid to show love and explore spirituality. But at its heart, Mindfire pulls you into a diverse world of human and superhuman heroes and villains, unapologetically revealing who they are and why none of them are perfect. Leia’s father and step-mother tried to hide their past from her until she was ready: a time when they were part of a team of superheroes. That team disbanded two decades ago after a series of tragedies but that didn’t prevent their problems from being passed on to their children. Making life and death decisions with virtually no experience and incredible power, some of Leia’s choices have terrible consequences. For Leia, this leads to a personal crossroads and a search for redemption.
Available on Amazon
“A superhero soap opera”
Five Star Review on Amazon by KarToon12
Being an indie publisher myself, I’ve long since tried my best to support independent efforts, be it movies, comics, or books. And when I found out that the creator of one of the webcomics I follow had published a novel, I knew I had to get it. Both the cover and the premise invited curiosity, as I love the superhero genre. And what I got was a unique and very different kind of superhero story.
Leia Hamilton is just your average college student with a loving family, a decent job, and a loyal childhood friend-turned-boyfriend. But her normal world is soon turned upside down when she discovers she has both telekenisis and pyrokenisis–as in, the ability to move things with her mind and control fire. Things then get more complicated when her investigation leads her to discover that a large chunk of her family and family friends are and/or used to be superheroes back in the day…and that her birth mother is a supervillain! As Leia tries to retain any semblance of a normal life and control her new abilities, her and her friends will be pulled into a 20 year old conflict between the old superheroes and the events that caused them to disband. Is it fair or right for the next generation to inherit the old generation’s problems? Just what truly makes someone a hero or villain? And given the chance, can someone who caused so much pain in the past ever be redeemed?
Anyone expecting grand, epic, traditional superhero battles can look elsewhere. While there IS a little bit of action, the bulk of the story’s conflict is internal. Not a single character falls into a stereotype, and everyone is three dimensional with their own hopes, fears, and dreams. The lines between good and evil are constantly blurred, with characters either doing horrible things for (arguably) noble reasons, or otherwise good people turning evil when pushed to the limit. All of these people are human and real, and all have legit reasons for acting the way they do. In doing so, it gives the reader a new insight into how hard a job it would be to be a superhero, and the often-deadly consequences that come with it. And more than once, the story throws out some surprises. People that you think are going to be in the book longer get killed off; characters who seem noble and nice make bad decisions, and a villain who would be condemned in any other story is ultimately redeemed in a touching way that makes total sense.
About the only criticism I can give is that one–the writing style is very workman-like, with basic descriptions that set the scene, though, admittedly, could’ve been just a bit more ‘poetic’ in execution. And two–there’s virtually no backstory given to any of the superheroes in regards to where or how they got their powers to begin with. It’s not totally needed, but a little more detail on their origins would’ve been nice to flesh out this universe more.
Both interesting and insightful, this is a decent first effort that takes the superhero genre and gives it a more down-to-Earth, human element ala “The Incredibles”. Here’s hoping we get a sequel someday, if the semi-cliffhanger ending is anything to go by.
About the Author
Born in Austin, Texas in 1969, Steadham began writing and drawing comic books at ten years old and continues to do so with webcomics when possible, including the award-winning Due East, Off Hours as well as Super Chibi Girl. Steadham started novel writing during the 2013 National Novel Writing Month (Nanowrimo) event. After successful completion, Steadham took 2.5 years to edit the novel before self-publishing on Amazon in June 2016.
Happily in an interracial marriage since 1995 with three children, Steadham and his wife are also musicians, singers and songwriters. They have been in a (nondenominational) Christian band since 1997 and perform with (or on behalf of) their church regularly.
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