REVIEW: Tekgrrl by A.J. MendenThursday, July 9, 2009 1:00
I’ve stewed about this book for a few days after finishing it. Dorchester has discontinued their Shomi line, which is where this book would have been published if the line was still around. The few Shomis I’ve read I have thoroughly enjoyed. And that’s why I’ve had to stew over this one. Unfortunately, even if it were a Shomi, that wouldn’t help get it out of the woods.
The biggest problem for me with this book — and I know this isn’t going to make a whole lot of sense, but it can’t be helped, that’s just how it is — is the “cartoon” feel of it. Now why is that, those of you who haven’t read this series ask? Well, the Elite Hands of Justice are superheroes. Yep, just like Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and all those other heroes that made up the Justice League of America in DC Comics. I just couldn’t get past that, even though that’s exactly what this book is about.Â But I’m reading romance here, and as much as I always wanted Superman and Lois Lane to get together back in the good old days when I read comic books, it wasn’t the romance that drew me to reading them in the first place. I want romance now in my dotage, not all action and truth, justice, and the American way.
Now, maybe that’s not fair. That’s obviously what the author was going for in writing this book and this series. And that’s fine. It’s me that’s the problem, no doubt about it. I would have been disappointed in it even if this book had Shomi in bold letters on the spine. It’s just too much comic book and not enough grown-up story for me. After having said all of this, there were things in the book I did like.
The author’s misdirection during the story was very well done. I really can’t go into that because anything I say about it will give it away. Just know that while you’re thinking one thing, it ain’t gonna be and there’s a surprise waiting for you later on. At first I felt kind of cheated when I realized what she had done, but because I was given a good resolution, I ended up not minding at all.
The actual complexity of the story itself is also well done. That is definitely Shomi worthy; it reminded of the Shomis of old and why I latched on to reading them in the first place. Mindy’s parents shuttle her off to an alien world at a very young age, not knowing what to do with her and her intelligence and her desire to be part of the EHJ. While she’s in the care of these aliens, another race attacks their world and takes Mindy and her adoptive sister hostage. They do things to her and her brain that she’s not able to handle, so when she’s back on earth her parents allow her memories of that time to be blocked.
Mindy does realize her dream of working with the EHJ, and though she has no super powers, what she learned while with her alien family has made her a technowizard and she fights side by side with the superheroes using her own inventions. Eventually the blocks in her mind start to unravel and she begins to remember all that happened to her on that alien planet, and it’s a doozy when it all comes to light. Kudos to the author for that.
I did like most of the other characters in the book. But, again, as with other things in the book, they had that one-dimensional, comic book feel and that detracted from that part of it all for me. The most interesting character was Robert, the Reincarnist, who is featured in Phenomenal Girl 5, the first book in the series. His daughter was also interesting, but that about does it as far as the other characters are concerned.
Sigh. I wish I had been closer to the other side of the fence on this book. But after is all said and done, I just fell in a totally different direction than even I anticipated.
When she was 12, Mindy asked to go to The School like other gifted girls. Her parents sent her to another planet. Today, Mindy’s back on Earth. She’s a mechanical genius with the Elite Hands of Justice, America’s premier superhero squad. She’s been having headaches though, and it’s not just because her longtime crush is flirting with another teammate. It’s not because she’s pushing thirty. It’s also not because of the contrary actions of former teammate Simon Leasure. No, what’s burning her brain is a past she can’t remember, a past that has been erased. It’s a memory surging closer – in flying saucers. Her worst nightmare is returning, big time, and only she, her friends, and her one true love can stop it.
Read an excerpt.
Other books in this series: