Not to brag or anything, but in January I got to go to Disneyland for a few days. This was in the wake of The Force Awakens, so everything was Star Wars themed. Everything. It was pretty awesome.
But ramping up the Star Wars paraphernalia wasn’t the only change the Disney decided to make. Nope. They finally decided it would be a good idea to start selling books: both novels and comic books, spanning both Star Wars and Marvel.
In their Marvel section, I saw that they had just come out with Phase One MCU books. This means they hired a writer (Alex Irvine) to write novelizations of the movies Thor, Captain America, and Iron Man.
I snatched up the Thor and Captain America novelizations, ignoring Iron Man’s book (can’t stand that character) and the fact that these stories are geared towards a younger audience (5-12 years). I like my Marvel. I don’t care what age group it’s meant for.
In case you’re wondering, I’m reviewing Thor on here because Irvine’s writing style was better in this one than in Captain America. This does not mean that I have forsaken Cap. He’s still my favorite.
Now, I assume that if you’re reading this blog you already know the storyline for Thor. But, in case you’ve been binging on a bunch of TV shows on Netflix and somehow didn’t have time for Thor, I’ll explain (briefly) the plot to you. No geek left behind:
The mighty but arrogant Thor is stripped of his powers and cast from Asgard, sentenced by the All-Father to live among the humans of Midgard. Here, with the help of new friends, he discovers the pain of tasers, the deliciousness of coffee, and the importance of humility. With his new home in danger of destruction by an unknown enemy from Asgard, he must reclaim his right to wield Mjolnir and the powers of Thor.
Now, let me kick this off by saying that the cover artwork for this book is extremely cool. The interior, also, was given a lot of attention, featuring silhouettes of Thor and Loki at the beginning of each chapter. It seems that Marvel pays a lot of attention to detail. Who knew?
Unfortunately, it would seem that this attention to detail did not translate into the actual writing of the story. Alex Irvine’s style is mediocre at best. In fact, he doesn’t really have much of a style: He simply followed the script for Thor to the T, which left him very little room to explore characters and plots.
I guess that’s just how novelizations are, though. Why is it that, when books are adapted into movies, the directors rarely feel the need to closely follow the source material, but when movies are translated into books, the authors are extremely faithful to the film? Does that seem unfair to anyone else? Cease this injustice immediately!
*sighs* Give me a second to turn off my rant mode….Okay. Done. You’re welcome.
Despite the fact that this was a fairly rigid novelization, it did deviate from the movie in a few ways. Some scenes were told from Thor’s point of view, some from Loki’s, some from Jane’s, Heimdall’s, Lady Sif’s, and Odin’s. While it didn’t really give us any extra insight into their characters, it was a neat change.
Another interesting fact about this book: Technically, I am not the target audience for this story, so it makes sense that I found it a bit clunky. It’s written for a young audience (elementary schoolers). I can see how it would be a fun story to sit down and read with a younger child.
Yes, the writing is simplistic and a bit formulaic. This book is very similar to what might happen if I sat down and watched Thor, documenting events as the movie played out and paying little attention to making my writing “pretty.” You just have to go into it knowing that this is a novelization and thus meant to be a translation of the storyline and not a spectacular display of writing.
But hey, it’s a book about Thor. It’s fun, has a good dose of morals, an interesting storyline, and is part of the MCU. While it may not be a literary work of art or make you want to throw it on the ground and shout “Another!”, it’s a fun book that you can finish in a day and get some entertainment out of. Also, as I mentioned earlier, the cover is quite beautiful and will make a good edition to your bookshelf. I’m glad I own it for that reason alone.
This book would make a great present for young nerds in the making, and would also be enjoyable for you geek parents who want to have an appropriate superhero story to read aloud to your kid.
It’s neat that Marvel seems to try and keep a large amount of their entertainment family friendly, don’t you think? Have you ever read any of these Marvel novelizations? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Hannah Heath – bookworm and author