We’re participating in the Summer Reads Giveaway Hop, so it seemed appropriate that our giveaway be for A Once Crowded Sky by Tom King. This novel is definitely a summer read. It features superheroes and villains in a life altering situation that could only be devised by someone who had worked in the comics industry.
Tom King not only interned at DC and Marvel Comics, he was also a counterterrorism officer with the CIA. Wait, is he allowed to tell us that without killing us? Yikes! Anyway, one lucky reader will win an advance readers copy (ARC) of A Once Crowded Sky. Read on to find out how that reader can be you!
“Their lives are violence. Month after month after month, they fight a wonderful war, play a wonderful game, forever saving the next day from the next dastardly villain, the next meteor falling from the sky, the next giant monster emerging from his cave, his rock fists swatting at the heroes rising into the air around him…”
Arcadia City has an abundance of superheroes and villains. There’s Ultimate, Penultimate, Strength, Doctor Speed, Devil Girl (DG), Prophetier, The Soldier of Freedom, Star Knight and his son Starry (Distant Sun), Mashallah, Sicko, Freedom Fighter, and Runt – and those are just the superheroes. There are at least as many villains. Humans in Arcadia City depend on their heroes to help them out of every kind of scrape and can’t imagine life without them. The villains never win. They are defeated on a regular basis in this game of good and evil, but they always come back to fight another day.
Then one day everything changes. Ultimate puts out a call to all of the superheroes. There’s a new evil called the Blue that will destroy the world unless everyone bands together to fight it. Everyone heeds his call. They all give him their strength because nothing less will do. He lures the evil away and destroys it, destroying himself in the process. Ultimate is no more.
“We are the founders of The Liberty League; it has to be up to us. There’s only one way to fight this threat. We have to save them; they’ve trusted us, and we have to save them. The Blue will destroy us all. Someone has to be the one. Someone has to carry this burden, absorb the powers of all the heroes, and stop it. Someone has to make the sacrifice. Someone has to die.”
Unfortunately since that day the superheroes are no longer super in any way, except in their minds. They’ve all lost their unique powers for fighting villains. And superheroes being superheroes, they continue to answer distress calls to try to help humans in Arcadia City. The problem with that is that they keep trying to do what they did when they were super powerful, and that can be deadly for them. They are no longer invincible. It’s quite a shock for them.
That said, there is one superhero who didn’t answer Ultimate’s call. Penultimate had gotten fed up with the 24-7 nature of being a superhero, with its unending repetitiousness. He wanted a normal human life with his wife. He wanted a family and a house with a white picket fence, like every human wants. Before Ultimate put out his call for help, Penultimate had stopped taking part in superhero fights. That meant he had retained his powers. He is now the only superhero left. How ironic is that?
“A lot of heroes kept stuff in their headquarters, little mementoes of battles fought and won. It was all so important, punching their fists through all the villains’ cackling laughs, and they all collected souvenirs afterward, hung them up in their secret lairs…Not Ultimate though. He didn’t need any of that. Souvenirs. Trophies. The Man With The Metal Face never got sick of going on about how they didn’t do it for glory; we do what we do because we put the good above the man, and blah, blah, blah, diddy blah. Ultimate probably had the whole lecture on tape inside his fancy brain so whenever Pen[ultimate] showed any pride in their work, or maybe complained they weren’t getting enough credit, Ultimate could press a button in his ear, and his mouth would start: We do this for the good, for them, not for us, never for us…”
Penultimate still doesn’t want to battle evil. He still wants a normal life with the woman he loves. Unfortunately, it looks like he may not have a choice. Will Penultimate rise to the occasion? Will the ex-superheroes be able to make it without their powers? Can they even survive without their powers? Is Ultimate really gone for good? How will the dependent Arcadia City population survive without ever having had to protect themselves?
A Once Crowded Sky reads to some degree like a graphic novel, even including graphic novel panels at the beginning of each chapter. Although the drama is as intense, Tom King has written a much deeper novel than any graphic novel I’ve read. Imagine having lived for, in some cases, centuries while taking skills you have for granted as much as breathing only to find them gone one day. Not an easy adjustment to make. Also think about how your ego and core identity would be tied up in being a superhero, and what you would do if that was suddenly gone? It’s a fascinating concept and it kept me spellbound from Page 1 right up through the end. And one lucky reader will win a copy! WooHoo!
Can’t wait to read it?
A Once Crowded Sky will be published on July 10, 2012, but it should be available for pre-order from your favorite bookseller below. Just click the button to go there to get it.
I’d love to get your comments on A Once Crowded Sky, Tom King, and/or this review.
If you like this review, please “like” it, +1 it, and share it with your friends!
One lucky reader will win a hardback advance readers’ copy (ARC) of A Once Crowded Sky by Tom King!
Once you enter our giveaway, be sure to link to all the other giveaways in this hop just below the Rafflecopter form.
1) The deadline for entries is Wednesday night, 7/11/2012, at 11:59pm EDST. No entries after that date/time will be eligible.
2) This giveaway is open to entries with U.S. mailing addresses only because we do not ship books outside of the U.S.
3) You must be at least 15 years old to enter this giveaway.
4) You must use the Rafflecopter form. Even if leaving a comment is part of the giveaway, you must use the form in addition to leaving the comment for the comment to count as an entry.
5) If you already follow PopcornReads on Twitter or Facebook, you must still complete that part of the Rafflecopter form for your follow to count as an entry.
6) If you do not provide a complete mailing address in the Rafflecopter form, your entry will not be eligible. We will use your mailing address to ship your book to you.
7) That’s it – it’s a very easy giveaway, so have fun and best of luck!
If you’ve never used Rafflecopter before to enter a giveaway, here’s a little 45 sec. video on how to do it:
Click here to go to all of the other giveaways in the Summer Reads Giveaway Hop!