Title: The Art of Hero Worship
Author: Mia Kerick
Publisher: NineStar Press
Length: 186 Pages
At a Glance: The potential for an amazing story was there, but it fizzled out as the plot progressed and instead was just okay.
Reviewed By: Lindsey
Blurb: College junior Liam Norcross is a hero. He willingly, even eagerly, risks his life to save a stranger as a murderous, deranged shooter moves methodically through the darkened theater on the Batcheldor College campus, randomly killing innocent men, women, and children.
The stranger he saves is college freshman Jason Tripp. Jase loses everything in the shooting: his girlfriend, who dies on the floor beside him, and his grip on emotional security. He struggles to regain a sense of safety in the world, finally leaving college to seek refuge in his hometown.
An inexplicable bond forms between the two men in the chaos and horror of the theater, and Liam fights to bring Jase back to the world he ran away from. When Jase returns to school, they’re drawn together as soulmates, and soon Liam and Jase fall into a turbulent romantic relationship. However, the rocky path to love cannot be smoothed until Jase rescues his hero in return by delving into his shady past and solving the mystery of Liam’s compulsion to be everybody’s savior.
Review: When I began reading The Art of Hero Worship, I’ll admit to a certain expectation of the two protagonists working through a catastrophic situation and forming a bond through the shared tragedy they went through. I was interested to see how an author would portray the physiological toll and aftermath of such a horrific experience. The way the story opens, my attention was grabbed and I was immediately pulled into the fear and terror of Jason. It was truly well done and really set the bar high for the rest of the book. I remained optimistic that this one would deliver. Unfortunately, rather quickly the trajectory changed, and many of the decisions of Jason and Liam, and their growing relationship, had me baffled. I still found the story good overall, but not quite tipping the scales to amazing; though the potential was there.
I know some may call it a double gay for you. I tend to disagree on labeling it that, specifically, but I can see how it could be perceived that way. I had to constantly remind myself that both these guys were young, Jason, a college freshman and nineteen, and Liam only a few years older. They were both still learning themselves. While Jason had never entertained the thought of being with another male, his prior sexual experiences were awkward and not quite fulfilling. Not necessarily due the gender of the person he was with, but because of his inability to articulate what he desired and needed. It just so happened Liam seemed to have the qualities that meshed with what he needed, and the devastation of the shooting broke down his walls to allow for the possibility of a relationship with a man to be explored. This part I got. His confusion and internal debates on his feelings had him treating Liam pretty crappy. But once again, he is young and in the aftermath of a tragedy. The wishy-washy and at times immature behavior didn’t put me off. I mostly understood Jason and his thought processes as it was told solely from Jason’s perspective. But, the lack of having Liam’s POV didn’t help flesh out their relationship. Instead, Liam’s actions and reactions made their connection a little hard to understand, and Liam’s thoughts and motivations remained out of reach more often than not, with the exception of Liam’s need to be a hero and protect Jason. The lack of dual perspectives also resulted in physically intimate scenes ending up being a little awkward rather than intense and emotionally charged.
What I think threw me off the most was the majority of the story’s focus. Instead of delving into the horror they experienced, and the two working through the mental and emotional toll it took on them eventually resulting in a relationship, the shooting happens and there is an immediate connection formed between the two, then… BOOM, the story jumps forward months at a time, thus leaving out the actual healing process they undergo. By moving forward so quickly past their struggles to grasp what happened, and the unexpected feelings they began to form, their foundation isn’t really established for me. Rather rapidly in reading, they are in boyfriends and in love, while in reality it wasn’t all that fast in the passage of time, considering several months have gone by. The remainder of the plot centered on how they would deal with the change in their prior sexual orientations and navigate their fledgling relationship with family and friends, with very little mention of the shooting.
The potential for an amazing story was there and, in my opinion, had there been a more in-depth insight to the aftermath and their struggles and healing process, as well as Liam’s POV, it very well could have happened. Unfortunately, it fizzled out as the plot progressed and became just an okay read for me.
You can buy The Art of Hero Worship here:
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1 thought on “Review: The Art of Hero Worship by Mia Kerick”
Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this one, Lindsey. You touched on a bit of what I had a problem with when I read this, but I actually just stopped reading it completely at one point. I think, like you, I kept in mind their ages, but that was almost part of the problem because while their actions could be excused because of it, their words kept throwing me. These characters didn’t sound like modern college-aged people to me. I finally had to stop reading when they had the confrontation with the dead girlfriend’s friend who was acting in the play they had been to see at the time of the shooting. It wasn’t even that the whole conversation felt like drama for drama’s sake with poor reasoning for the character, it was that in her anger at the guys for now being into each other when they were supposedly straight before, she used the phrase “light in your loafers.” Please tell me what college-aged person who’s probably 19 or 20 would say that. I just couldn’t even after that. It brought home all the voice problems before and with the focus on the whole sexual identity thing, I put it down and won’t be picking it back up.
I have to say that I have read and loved Mia Kerick books in the past and have a few in paper on my keeper shelf. I wish I could have enjoyed this one as I did those, but after a very compelling beginning and interesting threads to weave from, this just unraveled in a big way for me.