Book Review – Excelsior

excelsiorExcelsior, by George H. Sirois, is about a young man who writes a web comic that ends up being more true than he had ever imagined.  A young adult science fiction book, it’s very much your typical hero saves the day type of story.  There are many things to like about this book, but it’s not for everyone.

I should mention that this was an eBook that was published independently (paperback is also available), so I didn’t have high expectations for the editing.  In my past experiences with indie books, editing seemed to be poorly done.  However, I’m happy to say that this book is edited well, though there are a few minor mistakes with missing letters or punctuation.  But it was easy to read, the scenes were well-defined, and it was very easy to follow.

The story is a simple one.  A high school student named Matthew Peters writes a web comic called Excelsior that becomes quite popular.  However, it seems that his stories are more true than he expected.  His life is turned upside down.  What I found with this story is that it is a very straightforward hero story. No surprises, although creative, the plot isn’t unique.  However, after reading the afterword of the book, I see why it was this way.  I thought the story was very predictable.  Not that it’s always a bad thing.  Sometimes predictable stories give us a feeling of comfort and familiarity.  I did enjoy reading the story, though.  The action was described well, so I could imagine what was happening easily.

The characters are mostly your stereotypical characters in this kind of story.  Awkward teenager becomes the hero, supported by your usual cast of role models that guide and sidekicks that entertain.  I found that there was very little background information for the Denarian’s homeworld.  Where did the Krunation come from?  That’s something I’d like to know.  The dialogue was filled with cliche, something you’d read in a superhero comic.  And you know, that’s how I felt about most of the characters in this book.  The good were good and pure, the evil were completely evil.  There seemed to be no grey, it was all black and white.  It was all very campy, but gave me a bit of nostalgia.

Toward the end of the book, I noticed it could have a sequel.  If there is one in the works, I would read it.  It wasn’t a bad book at all.  It was entertaining, in a superhero comic kind of way.

Out of 5, I’ll give it a 3.  It’s a good read.  Don’t go into it thinking you’re going to read an amazing original story, though.  The feeling is familiar and comforting, but not very deep.

8 thoughts on “Book Review – Excelsior”

  1. For a YA read, I think familiar, comfortable, and simple is OK sometimes. I wouldn’t want everything i read to be like that, but every so often it’s nice ot read something that’s just plain fun that won’t fry my brain.

  2. I quite like the sound of a super hero comic type of read that is easy on the brain! My brain can sometimes use a rest and you just have to read something to give it a break!
    Lynn 😀

  3. Happy to hear it exceeded your expectations, especially in regards to the editing. It became obvious to me again lately that it isn’t just independently published books that have those issues. I just read a great YA SF book, Apollo’s Outcasts, published by Pyr. They are a decent sized company and yet the novel, NOT an ARC, is filled with enough spelling errors that both my wife and friend also pointed it out when they read the book. Hate it when that lack of professionalism shows up in a book.

    1. I haven’t met any bad editing in professionally published books yet. I’ve noticed the occasional spelling mistake in some books, including the chapter header in “The Wars.” It said “Chaper.” How could they miss that one?

  4. Hi Jay Dee,

    I know it’s not kosher to reply to reviews, but I wanted to say thank you for giving this edition of the book a chance, and I’m glad you enjoyed it. Excelsior has gone through quite a bit since its release in 2010, and it’s currently getting prepped for a re-launch with Aelurus Publishing this summer. Brand new cover and I’ve gone through the book for the past two-and-a-half months re-writing it from top to bottom. And I’m also editing the first of two sequels to get that one ready for its initial launch this year.
    If you like, I’d be happy to send a copy to you since you got to read the first edition.
    Keep up the good work…

    1. Hi George. Sorry for taking so long to get back to you. It would be great to see the new version. You can find my contact information on the About page.

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