- Title: Rogue Touch
- Author: Christine Woodward
- Genre: Comics, Fantasy, Chick lit
- Format: ebook
- Source: NetGalley
- Reviewed by: Valerie
- Rating: 2 out of 5
Description: “An interesting take on Rogue, as her powers take her down a path I never would have imagined.” –Chris Claremont, author of Dragon Moon and writer for seventeen years of Uncanny X-Men
Twenty-year-old Anna Marie was just fired for the third time–this time from a bakery. Why can’t she hold a job? Well, for starters, she dresses . . . differently. She looks like a Goth girl to the extreme, her shock of white hair contrasting with her head-to-toe black garb, her face the only skin she chooses to reveal. But Anna Marie doesn’t have a choice. Her skin, her touch, is a deadly weapon that must be concealed. She accidentally put her first boyfriend, Cody, in a coma when they kissed. Horrified, she ran away to Jackson, Mississippi, where she’s been living alone in a cramped apartment and scraping by on food stamps.
Then she meets otherworldly James and everything changes. He’s just like her–completely alone and also on the run. To elude James’s mysterious and dangerous family, the pair takes to the highway. As they cross the country, their simmering attraction intensifies and they both open up about their secretive pasts. James reveals that his true name is Touch and he christens Anna Marie Rogue. But with danger at their heels, they know they can’t run forever. Rogue must decide if she’ll unleash her devastating powers once again, which she swore never to do, in order to save the only person who seems truly to understand and accept her.
“A lost chapter from Rogue’s past, told with elegance and conviction and attention to detail. Really entertaining.” –Mike Carey, author of the Felix Castor novels and writer of X-Men: Legacy
Review: The Geek Girl movement is gaining ground and Marvel Comics has taken notice. I see what they are trying to do here, taking female superhero characters and giving them the chick lit treatment. It’s not a bad plan to try to appeal to the female demographic and maybe deflect criticism at their lack of female superhero leads. I am not sure that Rogue Touch is the novel to achieve this. The writing style is reminiscent of the Fifty Shades of Twilight books, shallow characters making their way through a weak plot that seems to be driven by an abundance of overreactions. I hear you saying, “But DarthVal, these books have sold MILLIONS of copies!” True that may be, but I posit that the gals of geekdom are seeking more intelligently written fare. At least THIS geek girl is!
The premise of the story itself was not bad. Boy meets girl. Girl can kill/main via her touch. Boy is not from this world. They are misfits on the run who can’t help but be drawn to one another. It is kind a sci-fi twist on the same old story. Kind of.
The pacing had a circular rhythm of attack, escape, and flee, over and over. You might be thinking that this is an indication of high adventure, but it just does not play out that way. The result actually felt like a bunch of random skirmishes that did little to move the plot forward interspersed by a couple of characters who were in sad need of some blessing of the hearts. After a while, I kind of just wanted them to be captured so that something different and interesting would happen in the book.
My desire for the capture of our heroes is probably the result of frustration over their ridiculous justification of stealing. Apparently, the author’s moral code is that all corporations (especially banks) are inherently evil and therefore it if fine and dandy to steal from them at will. This philosophy was kind of pounded into the story with the subtlety of a jackhammer. The characters were also guilty of frequent overreaction, which was one of the primary plot devices on which the author relies.
On the whole, I felt that the story was told in a rather sloppy manner. There was a scene where the author describe Lake Michigan as salty – um, the great lakes are fresh water. There is a tool called Google where one can easily verify facts about which they are unsure. There are other things that are sketchy, mostly having to do with the world of Touch/James (the main male character). I can’t go into detail without throwing out major spoilers, so I will just say that the explanations given were implausible at best. The origin mythology for Rogue was interesting, if lackluster.
On the bright side, the author does a good job of creating chemistry between Rogue and Touch. This is no simple feat considering the limitations of skin on skin contact. Some of the scenes are a little awkward, but how could they be otherwise? Regardless, the reader can definitely feel the attraction and longing between the two. If only that were enough to carry a book . . . specifically one that would hold appeal for the geek girl crowd.
Footnote: As you can tell from my review, I was not a fan of Rogue Touch. However, I also read and reviewed The She-Hulk Diaries, the OTHER Marvel comic-chick lit release and loved it. I really appreciate what Marvel is trying to do with these books, and I would love to see more. I hope that Marvel continues forward with this new genre giving it a real chance to take root and blossom.