One of the hardest things for an English teacher to do is get kids to read. They often find the classics boring, and can’t relate to them. Occasionally we have books like Harry Potter that help, but we need more of those. Joshua Dread might be the next book to help.
Lee Bacon’s book is about Joshua Dread. His parents are super villains who like to take over the world. His parents hope that he will someday follow in the family business, but he isn’t sure. The story isn’t anything ground breaking, but he execution is what makes it a lot of fun. Dread is a normal teen who has normal teen problems, but doesn’t mope and brood about them. The rest of the cast is fleshed out well, except for Dread’s friend Milton. Milton is all about Captain Justice, the Dread Duo’s (Joshua’s parents) arch nemesis. But since he isn’t fleshed out well, he isn’t in the book often. Joshua’s new friend and somewhat of a love interest Sophie is written very well. She has more reasons to brood than Joshua, but she remains upbeat about life in general. This book is much like Daredevil at Marvel; instead of writing sad characters, we get upbeat ones who try to look on the bright side of life. I love it, as there are too many books/comics/movies about brooding sad heroes. Having our protagonists be happy about what they are doing in life, realizing the good outweigh the bad, is something more should do.
The science fiction aspects of this are ambiguous, but the reader gets the general idea. Some people are born with powers, and they deal with them. The majority of super villains also have a small community of their own. It reads like something that Pixar would do if they made a movie about villains. The way Bacon describes the powers leaves a lot of room for material in future books.
Many people don’t read books aimed at younger audiences, as they think it’s filled with kiddie material. Joshua Dread is not kiddie material. It deals with some heavy topics in a way that doesn’t talk down to the reader. In the span of a chapter, Joshua has to decide if he should go against his parents wishes, save the arch nemesis of his parents, and is he a bad person for going against their wishes. It’s handled perfectly, talking to the reader as an adult. The only gripe that I could think of is the length. Joshua Dread is a very quick read. If future books about these characters are going to come out, I’d like to see the books considerably longer. The science fiction aspects of this are ambiguous, but understandable. Some people are born with powers, and they deal with them. The majority of super villains also have a small community of their own. It reads like something that Pixar would do if they made a movie about villains.
English teachers are always trying to find new books to get their students to read. If I was back in school, I would have wanted a book like Joshua Dread to read. Dread couldn’t be in the curriculum, but it is certainly a great book for summer reading.
Joshua Dread gets 4.5/5.
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