John W. Otte
Marcher Lord Press
Failstate is the young adult novel by John W. Otte, though it would be doing the story an injustice to limit it to the young adult audience. This is one good story. Failstate is a teen aged superhero who is on a reality TV show called America’s Next Superhero. This show is no gentler on its contestants than any of our shows, so the reader will know immediately the kind of pressure Failstate is under.
One of the contestants is murdered and Failstate is determined to bring the perpetrator to justice. On top of the show and the murder, Failstate, Robin Laughlin in his regular life, has to deal with his big brother, his mother, school and maybe, just maybe a little romance. That’s a lot for even a superhero to deal with.
Faith is a major part of the story of Failstate and Rob. He attends church and youth group, finds them a little boring, but there is something that is there in the background to challenge and strengthen. While faith and God are an integral part of the story, God is not brought in as a solution to any of the problems that Rob and his friends encounter.
The characters in the book are well written, and the premise of have superheroes doing good is developed fully in the book. The point of the TV show is to award a license to one of the contestants which allow that hero to pursue justice legally.
Failstate is a terrific addition to Marcher Lord Press’ line up of books. It has all the adventure, turmoil and fun that you need to tell a good story. I would recommend Failstate to anyone.