The Fire Inside - A Book Review

An exemplary superhero story
I’m a sucker for superhero stories. So when I heard about The Fire Inside by Raymond M. Rose, I was excited to read it.

The first book in Rose’s Sidekicks series, The Fire Inside focuses on Jack King, an ex-superhero who is happy with his retirement from saving the world from a host of super villains. That is, until his best friend and ex-partner is killed mysteriously and Jack gets pulled back into the game. Rose does a nice job of establishing his characters identities, both as superheroes and civilians. The world has changed in the ten years since the event that caused most of the superheroes to hang up their tights, but Rose manages to keep it exciting by flashing back and forth between then and now. Little by little, characters are revealed as they become integral to the plot, which prevents the book from being weighed down by to many names and faces from the start.

The overall plot of the novel is unexpected. For a story based on superheroes, Rose chose to not concentrate on some over-blown plan to take over/destroy/enslave the world. Though there is evil for evil’s sake, Rose gives his villains a purpose, taking  the idea of super-powered beings and placing them into a well-thought-out drama of political espionage. The story retains what I enjoy about superhero stories, like the awesome powers, colorful characters, and tongue-in-cheek repartee, but becomes believable.

Unfortunately, The Fire Inside is not perfect. Quite a bit of the dialogue is overly cheesy, the kind of thing that would make Adam West roll his eyes. The most distracting part of the book is the number of typos. As a self-published novel, one would expect a few misspellings or incorrect tense usage to slip into the finished product. However, The Fire Inside has more than just a few. But every writer learns from their mistake, and it's certain that Rose will be more cognizant of his mistakes in future novels.

Despite the novel’s setbacks, I would totally recommend The Fire Inside to anyone who enjoys a good superhero story. As the first part of a ten-book series (as Rose has stated his Sidekicks series is planned to be), there is a lot of room for improvement. If Rose is able to make his cast of characters this exciting in the very beginning, I can’t wait to see what he has in store as they begin to evolve.

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