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Blaze of Glory

Blaze of Glory - Sheryl Nantus I needed an easy, fun read and found this in my Kindle from ages ago, so I decided to give it a re-read and found I liked it more than I remembered.

Blaze of Glory follows Jo, aka "Surf", a second-string "superhero". The superheroes of this world are indeed super-powered... but their battles are all staged by the Agency, which controls the supers with explosive implants in their necks that they will detonate if the supers don't do what they are told. It's all a big entertainment scam.

Unfortunately, an alien civilization (that reads like a strange cross between Star Trek's Klingons and Galaxy Quest's Thermians) sees transmissions of the fights, thinks they are real, and comes to Earth to fight the supers, who are completely out of their league and are pretty much massacred. Jo escapes, builds a ragtag team out of a small group of oddball survivors, and manages to save the day.

There's not a whole lot here that hasn't been done before, but that's okay. Jo is a solid, sympathetic protagonist, and the secondary characters are well-drawn, have distinctive voices and personalities, and make a good supporting cast for the most part.

The heroes get incredibly lucky a few times (there is an explanation for this, sort of, but I don't fully buy it given the scale) and there were some things that could have used some more fleshing out, but overall this is an easy and fun read.