Jamie woke up in an empty apartment with no memory and only a few clues to his identity, but with the ability to read and erase other people's memories--a power he uses to hold up banks to buy coffee, cat food and books. Zoe is also searching for her past, and using her abilities of speed and strength...to deliver fast food. And she'll occasionally put on a cool suit and beat up bad guys, if she feels like it. When the archrivals meet in a memory-loss support group, they realize the only way to reveal their hidden pasts might be through each other. As they uncover an ongoing threat, suddenly much more is at stake than their fragile friendship. With countless people at risk, Zoe and Jamie will have to recognize that sometimes being a hero starts with trusting someone else--and yourself.
... excellent ... Chen is a writer that effortlessly takes lofty concepts and whittles them down to reveal the human stories within. This novel could easily have been the psychological ramifications of messing with a person’s mind, and how taxing it can be to live a super life in a world of regular people. Instead, Chen deftly maneuvers his characters and his stories to be about human issues: identity, belonging, self-worth, self-awareness, guilt, and redemption are just some of the many currents running through this book. In some ways, the superheroics in this book are not the focus (though Chen does write a good action sequence) but are often more of a side effect of larger stakes ... Jamie and Zoe are two well-drawn characters, and even with the challenge of not knowing who they are themselves, Chen does a wonderful job of telling us as the story unfolds ... Chen infuses this story with charm, kindness, action, heroics, and enough grounding touches of humanity that reminds you that for all the bullets they can catch and all the memories they can erase, Jamie and Zoe are just people trying to figure out who they are, who they were, and ultimately as this information is gleaned, who they want to be ... There is a level of breeziness and humor, of camp and wit that sparkles throughout the book, with just enough tongue-in-cheek and knowing nods and references to make a reader grin, but not enough to detract from the momentum of the story or lower the seriousness of the stakes ... If there are some slight stumbles here and there, it’s only for the breathless pace Chen sets or hurdles of the story he’s telling ... a wonderful examination of humanity, relationships, identities, and how when we work together, we’re better for it.
The book is an overall enjoyable, exciting, and action-packed read. Zoe and Jamie may possess superhuman abilities, but the challenges they endure together are profoundly human ... The mystery of Jamie and Zoe’s real identities is intriguing and will keep you wanting more. At times, however, the plot feels a little slow, especially toward the end once the answers begin to unfold. Nevertheless, We Could Be Heroes is an engaging story of good versus evil versus something in between. It is, at it’s core, just fun.
We Could be Heroes by Mike Chen is a refreshing, light take on the superhero origin story ... heartfelt interactions and charming dialogue are the backbone of We Could Be Heroes ... a well written, elegantly structured tale of joy and friendship.