Set in Stan Lee's Alliances Universe and co-written by Kat Rosenfield, this novel features Cameron, a vlogger who gains cyberkinetic powers after being hit by lightning—which makes him the target of the sketchy Omni Psyop Tactical Intelligence Corporation.
A Trick of Light is a self-aware, pop culture snapshot ... It serves as a love letter to Gen X, Millennials, and Gen Z with many references to current trends, technology, internet language and culture, classic and modern gaming, and issues such as misinformation and digital privacy ... This was a clear and mostly successful attempt to combine many elements, but A Trick of Light is hampered by an uneven tone and an unevenly paced story that lacks urgency. But even with those shortcomings, the story is supported by lovable and interesting characters, a well-written villain, and a heartbreaking twist. Overall, it is a very touching story about friendship, love, loss, revenge, the dangers of technology, and the isolation and consequences that come with having the world at our fingertips ... A Trick of Light is easy to read and easy to imagine. The story can be incredibly dark due to the modern setting, adult themes, and political climate, but does well by not trivializing serious issues. The pace and tone can take dramatic shifts, but it remains grounded and the climax and conclusion presents a horrifying what-if scenario that remains within the realm of possibility. The modern day setting and the adventures of Nia and Cameron in real life (irl) and in the digital world shows us how connections can be made as well as how disconnected we can be. In a few years, A Trick of Light will serve as a reference for the culture of the 2010s.
...as I read the book, I did not get much of a Stan Lee feel about it. This is most likely due to the fact that his health was slipping, and he was in his mid-90s at the time it was written. Therefore, it's a different twist on beings with superpowers, sort of like the X-Men. To that point, I definitely see where the idea sprung from in Lee’s imagination. Rosenfield, in filling in most of the blanks and doing the bulk of the heavy lifting, ended up writing a pretty good sci-fi/superhero story ... A Trick of Light feels like a YA novel that might have been better suited for graphic novel treatment ... It makes for a pretty wild ride, and the last for one of my heroes.
...A Trick of Light has flaws as a novel-length project. Between Nia’s mysteriously overbearing father, Cam’s dead-or-maybe-disappeared tech genius dad’s ex-partner’s bionic daughter’s secret world-dominating tech company, the hive-minded alien taking over bodies in her attempt to enact revenge on at least one of those dads, the domestic relationships Cam is trying to maintain, and the romantic relationship Cam and Nia develop, there’s too much going on...to follow. Gender is also treated in a frustratingly outdated way. Every villain but two are female (and of the two that aren’t, one is revealed to have just been a misunderstood hero), and female-coded things (pink blended coffee drinks, the singing of 'I Feel Pretty') are presented as inherently humiliating and bad. The story’s cliffhanger suggests this will be a new series, so A Trick of Light doesn’t need to be perfect. It just needs to excite the reader about what’s to follow and get them thinking about humanity’s reliance on technology.