Superhero adventures have fueled our imaginations for as long as we can remember, and with the release of the Marvel film Endgame, it feels as though the fascination with these iconic characters and the tales of their amazing deeds will never fade.
But has anyone ever given any thought to the ordinary people who just happen to be in the path of a superhero when they face off against their nemesis? Who pays for the damage to the city? What kind of insurance will cover Superman tossing an angry villain into your home in an attempt to stop said villain from destroying the rest of the world?
Who writes the note to your boss when you’re late to work because you just happen to be in the path of another thrilling fight between good and evil and barely make it out alive?
Collateral Damage is not your typical speculative fiction read. In her debut book, releasing on June 25, author Taylor Simonds gives a unique glimpse at the people who aren’t super but whose lives are deeply affected by the actions of those heroes who save the world on a daily basis.
Power. Courage. Invincibility. The marks of a true hero.
Meg Sawyer has none of these things.
Meg has never stopped a moving bus with her bare hands, been bitten by a radioactive insect, or done anything moderately resembling saving the world. She doesn’t have to. She’s a background citizen, a nobody, one of the swarms of faceless civilians of Lunar City–where genetically enhanced superhumans straight out of the comics have thwarted evil for years.
For as long as the Supers have existed, Meg has had one goal: to not become a casualty in their near-daily battles for justice. And for the last seventeen years, she’s managed to do just that. Sure, her minimum-wage job at the local coffee shop isn’t great, she can’t even leave her apartment without loading herself up with protective gear, and her car was just hijacked to throw at a supervillain (again), but she’s not dead yet.
But when Meg accidentally finds one of the city’s perfect, invincible protectors murdered under extremely suspicious circumstances, her whole “innocent bystander” strategy falls apart. After being coerced by his determined girlfriend into a mission to help prevent the deaths of the remaining Supers, Meg finds herself forced into the foreground of a story she never wanted to be part of—one that challenges everything she thought she knew about both her city and herself.
Meg is a realist who absolutely disapproves of the heroes that share her living space. Lunar City is inhabited by lots of normal people, but they also claim four heroes, called SuperVariants. Sure, they have powers and they continue to save her city from the villain du jour, but all of Lunar City is at the mercy of SuperVariants who have zero regard for the damage they cause to person or property. Meg doesn’t go googly-eyed over the Supers like everyone else, which I love. This isn’t going to be a Jane-Foster-falling-in-love-with-Thor kind of story – Meg wants to get out of Lunar City because everything the Supers do to fight against criminals popping up to wreak havoc results in more damage, destruction, and even death.
It’s an interesting twist on the genre, one that I honestly hadn’t given any thought to until I read this book. Simonds writes smart and sassy characters but takes the time to give them emotional depth and moments that allow them to evolve throughout the story. There are creative twists in the plot that I never saw coming, which obviously I can’t reveal to you here or I’d ruin the story for you. Collateral Damage felt familiar because of the setting, but Meg’s journey was a point of view I hadn’t yet explored as a fan of superhero stories. It’s a refreshing take on a very popular and well-known genre, and one I wish had been explored earlier.
After reading Meg’s story, I strongly feel that this would be perfect for a feature film. Interestingly enough, we have the exclusive reveal of the book trailer for Collateral Damage, and I hope you can see the same potential for a film that I do. Check it out below!
Collateral Damage by Taylor Simonds will be released by Parliament House Press on June 25, but you can preorder your copy here!
A copy of Collateral Damage was provided by the publisher to MuggleNet for review.