You should know first that I am fan of Cinema Sins. Jeremy is half the writing team behind Cinema Sins and the narrator so when I saw on their Youtube channel that Jeremy had written a book I figured that I should check it out. It didn’t hurt that John Dies at the End author David Wong has a nice little quote up over on the book’s website. I jumped when I saw that Netgalley had it up. The Ables is about a secret society of superpowered peoples living around us. We don’t see them but they are there protecting us from both regular criminals and from super-powered individuals who do not have out best interests at heart. So when Phillip Sallinger learns that he has inherited superpowers he absolutely ecstatic; even if his telekinesis is difficult to use due to his blindness.
Phillip is placed in a special education class at his new superhero school along with other youths whose special abilities are impaired by physical or mental disabilities. Phillip is dead set on not letting his disability affect his ability to be a Custodian. Things really kick-off with the introduction of the SuperSim; an event where super-powered adults create a town wide Danger Room like situation where teams of super-powered kids can try their hand at super-heroics without the risk of the real-world. Overcoming some adversity Phillip and his other classmates take their first steps towards being superheroes only fail pretty spectacularly. However, it’s this failure that spurs them onward toward exploring their abilities in new and deeper ways in order to find a way to overcome their physical limitations.
The Ables would be an entertaining book if it was just watching these kids experiment with their abilities. Scott comes up with some creative and fun ways for these kids to use their abilities and it’s an absolutely joy to experience each little triumph along the way. However, there are darker doings going on in the background of The Ables’ world as full-fledged Custodians are disappearing and a mysterious figure keeps taunting Phillip and his friends. Scott doesn’t flinch from putting his hero through the wringer and he does an excellent job at describing the emotional aftermath of the handful of traumatic events Phillip faces throughout the novel.
While I found The Ables conclusion to be initially entertaining, Scott really stacks the odds against the heroes, some last minute twists and revelations felt a little too contrived for comfort. The novel’s final heroic reveal was telegraphed a bit too neatly for my tasted. Then again, Scott’s target audience is not a 33-year old somewhat jaded fan of genre fiction so the book’s final revelation might come as more of a surprise. The Ables is an entertaining and exciting read whose vibrant characters leap off the page. I definitely anyone looking for an excellent bit of middle-grade fiction give Jeremey Scott’s The Ables. For avid Cinema Sins fans I feel it worth also noting that Scott himself reads the audiobook version. Both the print and audiobook versions of The Ables are available now.