Untouchable by S.A. Starcevic
Publisher: Forever More Publishing
Genre: Young Adult, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Action/Adventure, Contemporary
Length: Short Story (39 pages)
Age Recommendation: 14+
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Review by: Astilbe
Ethan Elliot is no stranger to secret identities. As an LGBT teen, he’s dealt with secrets all his life. Nevertheless, when his powers kick in and he’s whisked away to join a team of superheroes, he dons a mask of a different kind—one that sees him battling supervillains and testing his limits.
However, there’s more going on behind the scenes than capes and costumes. At the headquarters of the Protectorate, he makes unlikely friends with Gravity Girl and Element Boy. Except Element Boy might turn out to be more than just a friend, and Gravity Girl is battling demons of her own.
Ethan will discover what it means to be a hero, and must learn that even superheroes aren’t untouchable.
The difference between a hero and an ordinary person might not be a wide as you’d think.
“The apartment building was one of those old shanties that had miraculously survived the fires and earthquakes of the last century, and now stood old and proud and a tad befuddled, like an octogenarian who’d wandered away from the tour group.” This was by far my favorite metaphor in this book. They were used sparingly enough that I was pleasantly surprised by every single one of them. They gave me vivid glimpses of the people and places that influenced Ethan during his adventures. At times I felt as though I were reading a comic book or watching a movie because the metaphors were painting such clear pictures in my mind of what was happening.
There were some pacing issues in this story. The beginning was packed so full of action that I wasn’t prepared for things to slow down so much in later scenes. This technique would have worked really well for a novella or full-length novel, but it doesn’t translate so well for a tale of this size because the characters have such a limited amount of time to capture the reader’s attention.
With that being said, the storyline itself was inventive. Mr. Starcevic’s tongue-in-cheek approach to the superhero genre worked really well with this material. I’m a casual fan of this kind of science fiction, but I didn’t have any problems at all figuring out which tropes the author was gently making fun of when the narrator described certain scenes.
Untouchable should be read by anyone who likes superhero fiction.