The Zodiac Legacy – Convergence

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Author: Stan Lee and Stuart Moore

Publication: 2015, Disney

Pages: 463

Overall Rating:

Rating for Action:

Quantity of Action:

Age Category: 9-12

Brief Summary: Stephen Lee loves superheroes, but he never expected to have powers of his own until he stumbles upon an experiment involving ancient pools of energy infused with the power of the Chinese Zodiac.  He’s imbued with the strength, agility, and killer reflexes of the Tiger and joins a ragtag group of other zodiac powered kids intent on stopping Vanguard, a corrupt military organization led by the evil Maxwell, who is intent on taking all the zodiac powers for himself and using them to rule the world. 

Age of Main Character: 16

What I Liked the Most: This is a fun story, and using the Chinese Zodiac as the basis for everyone’s superpowers gives the whole thing a unique cultural twist and provides an anchor for the interesting range of powers on display.  There’s plenty of room for Stephen to grow and develop, but for the most part the story manages to keep things light and fun – just a clean, good hearted romp.

And the art is amazing.  This isn’t a graphic novel, but artist Andy Tong has scattered several dozen excellent illustrations throughout that complement the text perfectly and would be at home in any great comic book.  They provide a sharp visual aspect to both the action sequences and to our sense of what the characters look like and who they are.

What I Liked the Least: This is a minor point, but one of the zodiac characters – Pig – is imbued with the power to interact with electronic devices – to read data and hack systems, though he usually destroys the devices in the process.  It’s an interesting power, but makes no sense in a story like this.  The zodiac powers are ancient. So what exactly were Pig’s powers in all the centuries BEFORE we developed computers and advanced electronics?  Like I said, a minor complaint but one that niggled at me every time I read a scene where he had to use his powers.

How Good was the Action?  It’s solid swashbuckling fun – like something you might find in a comic book or light adventure story.  The violence is minimal.  There are no hand-on-your-heart chases or bone crunching fights, no moments of genuine terror.  But that’s fine, because Stan Lee was going for a lighter tone here.  The fights and chases are fast and fun, with no repetition and enough detail that you can clearly picture what’s going on.

How Engaging was the Story? It’s a fast paced read with a wide range of engaging characters, a likable hero, and a despicable villain.  It changes POVs and settings often enough to keep the story rushing forward, while still keeping the focus on Stephen.  And the art is always there to break things up and add an extra level of detail to the story.

Overall Assessment: All in all, it’s the perfect adventure read for tweens.  Great illustrations, exciting action sequences, a likable and good hearted hero who struggles to overcome adversity, a rag tag group of teammates who come together to beat the odds, a cool and unique source for their superpowers, and little to no sex, profanity, or gratuitous violence.   This would make an especially good choice for reluctant readers or anyone looking to make the leap from comic books to novels.

Profanity: None

Sex: None

Violence:  Some.  There are fist fights and magically powered battles, but no one dies.  People get knocked out and the like, but the injuries are temporary and there’s no blood to speak of.

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