“All he wants is to break through the prison’s stone walls, to flee the armed guards, to return to his old life.
Even if he escapes the prison, he cannot escape what he is. Thirteen feet tall. Hairless. Blue-skinned.
His captors see him only as a monster, a rampaging villain with inhuman strength and a temper to match. They call him Brawn. They don’t care about the truth–about the person inside. He is twelve years old and very, very scared.
His fear will not last forever. In time, it will be replaced with anger and determination.
He is certain that one day he will escape. And then…
And then they’ll all begin to understand.”
Some writers tend to stick to formula when writing, but not Michael Carroll. With Stronger, he has managed to tie together the events of five books with a single character–and made it good.
In this book, we follow the story of Brawn, the big blue villain we first heard about in Quantum Prophecy (and eventually saw in the third book), before meeting him as a hero in the Super Human series. Through Stronger, we find out who Brawn really is, where he comes from, what had happened to him–and how he was able to become both a hero and a villain, and which side he finally picked in the end.
Having read all the books in Carroll’s series, I’ve always championed him as a writer who knew how to write the underdogs. I preferred both Super Human and The Ascension over the original Quantum Prophecy books because they were easier to relate to. Because you had a character who wasn’t super-powered. A character you can feel sorry for. A character you fear might not make it until the end. And it wasn’t so with the Quantum Prophecy books. For some reason, they prophecy itself made the characters and the action boring. You knew that so-and-so would survive. And that made it boring.
And yet, in Stronger, you knew exactly where the story was going. You knew the events that were being described. But it is, to me, the most engaging book of the series so far.
Has Michael Carroll gotten better as a writer? No. Because he wasn’t bad to begin with. The only difference between this book and the ones from the Quantum Prophecy series is that in Stronger you have a main character you’d want to root for. A main character you feel sorry for. A main character you want to get to know more.
With Stronger, author Michael Carroll sews together two timelines and one alternate reality as he tells the surprisingly simple story of a boy who just wanted to come home. And how he realized that he can never go back to who he was.
Having read this book, and seeing that the author seems to know where he’s finally going with his story, I’m very excited to find out where he’s taking the story next.