Review

Review: Powers – The Secret History of Deena Pilgrim by Brian Michael Bendis

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2 out of 5 stars | Goodreads

I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher, in exchange for an honest review.

I love superhero stories. All the classic comics, plus more recent novels. So when I was offered this for review, I leapt at the chance. It takes a classic detective story and adds superhero elements, based on the comic book series of the same name by Brian Michael Bendis, and an hour long show on the Playstation Network. However, whilst it seemed that I would not be at a disadvantage being unfamiliar with the Deena Pilgrim universe, I definitely felt I would have enjoyed the book a lot more were I more familiar with it.

Also, I feel like this book may have suffered slightly from bad timing. I began reading it at the same time as I was reading Calamity, the third book in the Reckoners series by Brandon Sanderson. Reading two books about superheroes at the same time – especially when one of them is from a series you really love – you’re sure to compare the two, and unfortunately The Secret History of Deena Pilgrim didn’t quite live up to it.

Overall, I didn’t particularly enjoy this one – the detective element or the superhero element. There wasn’t much involvement of superheroes, apart from a link with the murders that Deena investigates. The whole mystery felt a bit of a mess, and rather than drawing me in and encouraging me to work things out for myself, it just really confused me. There was an entire chapter where one character was referred to by three different names, constantly alternating – which had me convinced for a while that there were in fact two characters present, instead of one. I found myself reading this book only at lunchtime at work, mostly just because it was smaller and easier to fit in my bag than the other book I was reading…

It’s a shame that this one didn’t work out for me. If I’d previously read the comic and understood more of the back story then perhaps I would have enjoyed it a lot more – so I’d love to hear if anyone has read both, and enjoyed them!

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4 thoughts on “Review: Powers – The Secret History of Deena Pilgrim by Brian Michael Bendis”

  1. I have to say, I’d give it a few more stars; may be one more, but I also agree that the way the detectives find the truth didnt satisfy me as much as I thought it would. I like stories where the detectives learn the truth by investigating and finding a damning clue, like an old photo, or a scrap of damning paper with a signature, or something like that; not by just interrogating people, or by willing confessions or some guilt-ridden culprit. I think you’d still enjoyed it more if you had been familiar with the Powers comics; they were great. I think what I like the most about Powers, and this book, are Walker and Deena; especially Deena. Still, I felt the dialogues were not as engaging and funny as I know Brian M Bendis can make them; the book was a collaboration and that might be the reason why. Yeah, I agree with you; the book was not as good as I expected…, but I’d still read another one, if they write it.
    What I did like was the conspiracy and how Citizen Soldier (stand in for Captain America and/or Superman) ended up being one of the bad guys, even though, you might understand his disappointment at the system that created or used him. And thats what I like about Bendis’s Powers: superheroes are brought down to our level; they are as flawed as us and even worse sometimes. I dont know, it makes that fictional world a very interesting one.
    The TV series started a bit not great, but its gotten better. Still, the comic books are the best Powers product so far.

  2. I have to say, I’d give it a few more stars; may be one more, but I also agree that the way the detectives find the truth didnt satisfy me as much as I thought it would. I like stories where the detectives learn the truth by investigating and finding a damning clue, like an old photo, or a scrap of damning paper with a signature, or something like that; not by just interrogating people, or by willing confessions or some guilt-ridden culprit. I think you’d still enjoyed it more if you had been familiar with the Powers comics; they were great. I think what I like the most about Powers, and this book, are Walker and Deena; especially Deena. Still, I felt the dialogues were not as engaging and funny as I know Brian M Bendis can make them; the book was a collaboration and that might be the reason why. Yeah, I agree with you; the book was not as good as I expected…, but I’d still read another one, if they write it.
    What I did like was the conspiracy and how Citizen Soldier (stand in for Captain America and/or Superman) ended up being one of the bad guys, even though, you might understand his disappointment at the system that created or used him. And thats what I like about Bendis’s Powers: superheroes are brought down to our level; they are as flawed as us and even worse sometimes. I dont know, it makes that fictional world a very interesting one.
    The TV series started a bit not great, but its gotten better. Still, the comic books are the best Powers product so far.
    I will definitely read that Reckoning series you mention; sounds interesting…
    (I have a Spanish travel blog, so I’ll put that in the ‘Website’ field, because it seems to not allow me to post the comment without it).
    Nice website you have 🙂

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