To start, let’s not kid ourselves. Andrew Seiple can write. Both his prose and his plot development are stellar.
The reader begins this story in media res, i.e. in the middle of a high-action scene without any of the tools to understand what’s going on. This is not an accident, but the perfect point to start this unusual ride, since Dire, the lead character of the story, knows vaguely more than we do: Someone’s after her; she has some basic tech equipment; and the city she escapes to is a dark dog-eat-dog world that has seen its share of disasters.
Having no memory of her past, she is taken in by a group of homeless misfits who have their own difficulties. It is through Dire’s interaction with these people that the reader first gets a glimpse of the things that make her special, mainly her extraordinary ability to reason, her sense of right and wrong, and the single-mindedness with which she pursues her goals. Pitted against the superheroes and the supervillains of this universe, she develops into a hero/villain combo that stands out even in her unusual environment. In fact, the whole good vs. bad ideology is turned on its head, and through her eyes, dirty outcasts become deserving, and heroes are pretty much useless. That’s not to say Dire herself is perfect. Far from it. But any way you look at it, she’s an entertaining protagonist.
The author has a lightness of tone which lifts what could otherwise be a depressing high-tech world to a world worth reading about. His use of foreshadowing and action scenes make this a fast-paced whodunit of sorts, although he takes care to let us catch our breaths with emotional and thoroughly poignant scenes. Every character is well thought out, every scene has multiple angles and facets.
I’m not a habitual reader of the superhero genre, but I thoroughly enjoyed this excursion into the bizarre and yet perfectly believable imaginations of Andrew Seiple. If you’d like to venture into this realm as well, you can purchase Dire : Born on Amazon at the link below.
-Reviewed by Carmen Fox