Sunday, October 1, 2023

Book Review: Captain Marvel - Shadow Code

Tony Stark wants Carol to keep an eye on brilliant grad student Mara Melamed, who is struggling to find her feet at Empire State University. Although reluctant at first, Carol meets Mara and is soon impressed by the young woman.

But trouble quickly finds Captain Marvel in the form of a controversial operating system from DigiTech—whose mysterious CEO only appears as a hologram. To make matters worse, one of Carol’s closest friends has been framed for murder. And Mara Melamed is at the tangled center of it all.

Carol is driven to her darkest edge as she questions her identity and sense of belonging in the world. With her allies at her side, Carol must face her self-doubt and protect the world from impending doom.

Captain Marvel: Shadow Code by Gilly Segal will be published October 17, 2023. Titan Books provided an early galley for review.

I go a long way back with Carol Danvers (almost to her debut in the 70's). When I think of her, I think of big cosmic adventures. Segal, however, chooses to go a bit of a different route and puts the heroine into a world of corporate espionage (one which might be better suited for a character like Black Widow instead). Adding the personal connection for Carol only further ups the ante.

The author brings in a lot of Marvel characters to support Carol as well as challenge her. It shows how connected the Marvel universe can be. The key with that aspect, though, is to make sure the usage is meanful and not just a way to cover areas where the lead character is less skilled.

This appears to be the author's first solo outing (her first two young adult novels were with a co-author) and dip into the science fiction/super-hero realm. For that, I think she did pretty well. Clearly she did her homework when it came to Marvel details, and the story overall had a logical flow. For me, there were a few spots where the structure was clunky (too much narration breaking up dialogue exchanges, for example), but these are things she'll get better at over time as she gets more writing under her belt.

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