Failstate by John W. Otte

Why did Robin Laughlin (aka. Failstate) think being a superhero on a reality show would be a good idea again? Things seemed so simple: win the show, become an official, licensed hero. But with his brother, Ben (aka. Gauntlet) stealing America’s heart and his own powers proving too unwieldy even for the monitored studio challenges, Robin begins to wonder if his calling isn’t to save the world after all.
Until one of his competitors is murdered.
Vowing to find the killer, Robin sets out on a very real quest to unmask the hidden villain. Can Robin find justice? Or will his lunk of a big brother ruin everything?
Publishers Weekly Starred Review: “Otte nails the concept . . . He balances fantasy with teen hormones in a clever and page-turning debut . . . The amusing noirish atmosphere of the setting draws older readers . . . A TV show full of sequel possibilities.”

I was really excited to read Failstate by John W. Otte because 1) it’s about superheroes, 2) it’s about a superhero tv reality show, and 3) the cover looked pretty awesome. “Being a superhero was hard enough. Being one on reality television…Why had I thought this was a good idea?” I loved the reality show concept and the idea of competing for a vigilante license and the VOC (Vigilante Oversight Committee.) Robin, aka Failstate,  is a Fantastic character, and Otte really nails the male teen psyche in a way that can be rare in Christian fiction. My favorite character was Pastor Grant, aka P.G., since I’m involved in Youth Ministry myself. Otte is a Pastor by day, perhaps P.G. is a bit autobiographical? Anyway, the twists are good, the sibling rivalry is hilarious, mostly, and the fantasy world-building (while not that different) is still great. Failstate is  another great new title from Marcher Lord Press. I really hope there’s a sequel because I’m really not ready for Robin’s story to be done!!!

 Team Novel Teen is a group of bloggers dedicated to spreading the word about clean teen fiction. Check out other posts about Failstate by John Otte by clicking on the links above, and check out for more information about Team Novel Teen.

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6 Responses to Failstate by John W. Otte

  1. jwilliamsonwrites says:

    Great review, Claire! I loved Failstate too. And there will be sequels! John told me a little about them in the interview over on my page. I can’t wait for them. 🙂


  2. Great review! And it would be interesting if Otte’s Pastor Grant character was autobiographical. Wonder if any of of his youth are living double lives as superheroes? o_O


  3. Rachel says:

    I loved this book too. You hit a good spot about the teen male psyche. I totally believed the characters and the felt so real. It was wonderful. The TV Show also seemed realistic and I could see that, if superheros did exist, there would be a TV Show about them. Great review.


  4. Christian Miles says:

    I loved, loved, loved this book! And yeah, there’ll be sequels. Can’t wait for those! 🙂


  5. I loved Failstate. By far my favorite book that I have read this year. I’m stoked for the sequels. 😀 Great review!


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