Wednesday, August 10, 2022

We Could Be Heroes, by Mike Chen

MIRA, January 2021

Jamie Sorensen woke up, two years ago, in a small, barren apartment, with a pile of paperwork saying the lease was being paid by a company called 2D, suggesting his name might be Jamie Sorensen, and telling him he could read people's memories. He quickly acquired a needy little cat he named Normal, and took up a career robbing banks, and becomes known as the Mind Robber. His long-term career goal is to save up enough money to move himself and Normal to a Caribbean island, where he can spend most of every day reading memoirs.

Zoe Wong also woke up in small, barren apartment, with a similar pile of paperwork. Hers includes a cheap, stick-on name tag that says "Zoe Wong." A note tells her, "you're stronger than you think you are." She doesn't acquire any pets, and she takes up the perfectly legal activity of putting her newly discovered strength, speed, and ability to hover in the air to work in fast food delivery. When convenient, she beats up bad guys, and accidentally becomes known as the Throwing Star. She wants to figure out who she really is, and her hobby is watching horror movies on a free movie app.

They meet at a memory loss support group. Each realizing there's something odd about the other, they figure out their "secret identities" and are trying to decide how to deal with each other, when a fire breaks out. Jamie and Zoe somewhat unwillingly team up to get everyone out alive, and then they start talking.

Quickly realizing they share a common background and their unusual powers must come from the same source, they start tracking down all the evidence they can, and find a company called Telos, The deeper they dig, the more alarming the picture looks. And there's a connection to the unexplained rolling blackouts affecting the city. As they find both the extent and the limits of their own powers, and the bizarre goals of Telos and the scientist running it, they find themselves in real danger, but also the only people who can warn the police, who regard them both as criminals, about the real threat that Telos represents.

They, the police detective Chesterton who wants to arrest them, and even the "mad scientist" running Telos are interesting characters who are more complex than seems likely at first. It's a fun story, but also a thoughtful one.


I received this book as a gift, and am reviewing it voluntarily.

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