Denae Christine's Reviews > Marrow

Marrow by Preston Norton
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really liked it
bookshelves: 1st-person-narrative, fantasy-present-day, superheroes

Reader thoughts: Such a fun book! I stayed up too late to finish it. However, I have quite a few issues with this book, most of which have to do with plot holes. I took notes.

Marrow's power is affecting the density of his bones. More dense = stronger. Less dense = lighter, right? He describes skimming, almost floating. He describes himself like a spider zooming around a room. In chapter 36, he even says he ways about half his normal weight. No. Bones don't work that way. They are only 15% of our body weight. So, at most, Marrow can drop himself to 85% of his normal weight, and that's if his bones are so non-dense that they would crumble to carry the rest of him. Maybe Marrow has negative density. But, if that's the case, why does he only make himself HALF his normal weight when he's trying to not fall to his death?

Too many supers. 5% of the population are affected by Gaia's comet and become supers (according to an early chapter). Oracle, a crazy old cat telepath/seer lady, meets with every single super as they come into their power. Assuming this is a normal earth with about 7 billion people, that means there are about 17000 super births every day. Do I think Oracle meets 17,000 people daily? No.

Timing issues. Flex is supposed to be in his upper twenties. Since he was Spine's sidekick before Marrow was born (or, at least, was Spine's sidekick for quite a while and had stopped before Marrow was old enough to remember), then he's probably 26-28. Marrow is 14, and you can only become a sidekick at age 14. BUT Flex supposedly spent time at an orphanage with Whisp. Whisp is 14. Even if Flex went straight from the orphanage to sidekicking, Whisp would have been MAYBE 2 when Flex left. How can he remember Flex so well??

Mindcuffs. Why didn't more people wear/use them? With all the rogue supers, you'd think mindcuffs would be a standard part of the armor. What's the big deal having people immune to mental powers if everyone could be immune? Why not put one on Marrow earlier to stop the torture? They don't act like they're super expensive, not when Sapphire loses hers later with no comment.

Flex's character doesn't make sense. He's supposed to be a bum with high standards, I think? He acts lazy most of the time (and gets himself drunk and avoids responsibility and complains about everything) and maybe fun (plays video games all day and night) and every now and then spouts unpopular opinions about celebrity supers. "They only save people to become more famous," he says. Then, when he's in front of the camera, he soaks it up, ecstatic, showing off for the media. Hypocrite. I don't understand why Marrow (and maybe Whisp) like him.

Flex's powers don't make sense. How can anyone lock him up? Can't he just stretch his way out? Why would any punches/blows hurt him? Wouldn't he just flex out of the way?

More timing issues. Flex spent his 7th birthday with Oracle, already adopted. That must have been 20 years ago. How could he have met Whisp at an orphanage? And why in the world would Oracle have adopted a non-cat anyway? Read chapters 33 and 34. Location 2983 says 6-year-old, but the other mentions say 7-year-old. Basically, Flex was YOUNG.

Spine was the worst villain for years? How old was Marrow when Spine went bad? How long has it been since Spine has not been seen? Why is the reader not told any of these details?

They knock out the omnipotent. 1st, this should be impossible because this guy can stop bullets in mid-air, and yet he doesn't manage to stop some punches. Seriously? (I despise telekinesis as a power; no one ever uses it to its full potential; even Jedi only come close.) 2nd, THEY SHOULD KILL HIM NOW! Really. They know the bad guy has been killing supers and framing others and is planning to take over society. They know he's too powerful to stop. Why not kill him now? What, are they that desperate to force him into a confession?

Good line: (context, Marrow was covered in guts and goo). "Good think I kissed her earlier because I definitely wasn't getting anything now."

Marrow has slow reactions. In the middle of a fight, the bad guy swings for Marrow, and he's like, "There was no time to make my bones denser." Really? Aren't your bones already dense? You're in the middle of a fight with an omnipotent trying to kill you! Why would you stand there watching him and NOT prepare your bones to be hit?

Marrow starts laughing in the middle of the epic battle. I don't understand. I think he was stressed.

(view spoiler)

Good line: "I believe true power is what drives someone who's been hurt to forgive his friend, helping him whn he needs it he most. It's what drives a man to sacrifice his life for some kid he barley met. It's what drive a father to fight for the son he never knew. This is the power that makes us heroes."

Writer thoughts: Most of the above sounds like complaints and plot holes. How in the world could a book riddled with so many plot holes gain such a high rating from me?

Voice. The author made Marrow interesting. He was sarcastic and witty and flawed. He made mistakes and learned and cared about his friends and thought hard about himself and society.

Action. There was never a dull moment. Hardly even a dull paragraph. They went from tests to new people to ambush to hospitals to car crashes to spying and more.

So, wait, these two measly story aspects carried the entire book despite all the other issues with it? Yes, that is what I'm saying. That is why voice and action are so important. Authors really have to get them right, especially if they're writing for a YA audience with short attention spans.

Oh, and Norton's writing style is clear and easy to follow, so there was nothing wrong with that or his dialogue. It was just all the problems with numbers (percent supers, percent weight, number of years, and price of mindcuffs).
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
April 16, 2017 – Finished Reading
April 17, 2017 – Shelved
April 17, 2017 – Shelved as: 1st-person-narrative
April 17, 2017 – Shelved as: fantasy-present-day
April 17, 2017 – Shelved as: superheroes

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