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Summary

HEROES have long been the protectors of humanity. These days, they find themselves under the employ of the government. Sure, the pay and benefits are good, but their jobs are high-stress and require long hours. As a result, Neil Harris, the fifth Hero to bear the name Striker, finds his work-life balance in shambles. Every day, Neil struggles to deal with a demanding workload, maintaining his relationship, and finding time to simply relax. Something is going to give soon, and he feels like it might just be him.

The Superhero novel for those who can't quite find the time to listen.

©2017, 2021 Josh Vidmar (P)2021 Josh Vidmar

What listeners say about Striker V

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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for J. Conrad Robinson
  • J. Conrad Robinson
  • 11-09-21

Strong start to a series

I think this is a very impressive first work by an author & heartily recommend it to anyone who is a fan of the superhero genre. If you are fan of the 'Justice League Unlimited' animated series or the manga 'My Hero Academia,' this is a book for you.

The central plot is a bit of a comic cliché--noble superhero who deals with the toll of his profession & confronts a powerful threat who is really a person with a traumatic past, but what makes this book truly enjoyable is not the plot. The main characters in "Elements of Changes," the hero Striker V, his sidekick Tykie, his friend/enemy Erica, & boss Ray are all three dimensional, interesting characters. They are also really funny (or at least first three--Ray tends to be serious).

The book is first person from Striker V's perspective & Vidmar's hero has an absolutely wonderful sense of humor. Jokes are well nigh constant from both Striker V & his companions & I found that most of them landed quite well (Striker V's sarcasm might not appeal to all listeners, but I quite liked it).

The above said, it would be a mistake to interpret this novel as merely a comedy. Vidmar's novel is also about trauma & about work life balance--in a story beat that is both funny as well as genuinely political apropos of 21st century America, one of the heroes in the novel essentially engages in union organizing for better conditions for heroes. For all the sarcasm of Striker V & the world-weariness of Ray, the book is anything but bitter or cynical--the main characters are genuinely concerned with making the world better & the novel affirms that this is possible.

The only substantial criticism I have is that sometimes truly vital character information about the main character, information that is actually vital to fully understanding Striker V, is not made known to the reader until well into the novel. However, this genuine deficit will be removed upon a second listening--something I would recommend.

As to the performance of Patrick Boylan I have almost nothing but praise. Boylan succeeds in making all of the major characters & most of the minor characters come alive in ways unique to each.

Finally, I will note that this is the only superhero audiobook I am aware of whose central hero is LGBT. It is fortunate that such a first is actually an audiobook that is worth listening to both in terms of story & in terms of performance.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Brian
  • 02-09-21

A Fun Superhero/Antihero Story

Striker V reminded me A LOT of the Supervillainy stories that I’ve read by C.T. Phipps. Like to the point that every time Vidmar mentioned “Gary” I would jump right back into thinking this was just another book in that series. Now, saying that, I mean it completely complimentary, and I might only have one point of reference since those are the only other superhero-like stories I’ve read. But I LOVE Phipps’ books so any comparison to those from me is great.

I thought that Vidmar did a great job of writing a character that was likable even if I couldn’t put my finger on why I liked him. He seemed to be a bit off and aloof but he also seemed to be going in the right direction (even when it appeared that he was going way off course).

I really found myself liking the over-arching storyline that Vidmar had – basically, superheroes are great and do all of this good, but when do they get to take a break? When can they have a little bit of time off to rest and recover? That was a unique angle I’d never even thought about before but will now every time I see or read another superhero story. Striker V being the 5th Striker was something unique as well, I know that the movies have done it when replacing one Batman with another actor – but they never acknowledge that this is the 5th batman or anything. I don’t read enough comics to know if that’s commonplace there or not, but I really liked that idea and thought that it would cause an interesting feeling – replacing a superhero once something happens to them.

Overall, I really enjoyed this one and absolutely flew through it. I really liked Striker/Neil as a character. He was funny and had me cracking up throughout. I want to know both more about him and hear more of what he ends up getting into. I also wanted to point out that I love that this is probably the first superhero story where the main character was gay. I almost didn’t mention it because it was just so natural and normal but because Vidmar included it, I thought it was worth mentioning. Their story was super cute and really added to the overall feeling that this book had (and really added to why I liked Neil even more – he was such a caring partner).

Honestly, I give as much info about the narration as I can, but I can’t tell if it’s because of the book and the way the story was told of if it truly does – Patrick Boylan’s narration reminded me a lot of Jeffrey Kafer’s – but Kafer mixed with a little bit of Steve Campbell which tells me maybe it’s a Canadian version of Kafer?). I say that because they are both some of my favorite narrators – so to combine them was great. I really enjoyed Boylan’s narration. He was able to really tell the story and make it jump off of the page.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Grant Vidmar
  • Grant Vidmar
  • 23-08-21

About as close to heart warming as you can get.

I have been waiting for some time for this book to come out in audio format. I first found it as an Kindle Original and really liked the premise. I was very happy to see it got a Audible book.

The overall story is very good with twists and turns. It has its share of humor and sorrow. As a straight person it is some times harder for me to get into a LGBTQ+ love arch as easily as a straight one. The author (Josh Vidmar) does a very good job of presenting it in a straight (intended) forward and loving way. All of the characters have depth and make you root for them and feel what they are feeling.

The narrator (Patrick Boylan) did a very good job voicing all of the characters making them all sound different enough that none of them sounded recycled. I am very much looking forward to his continued work throughout the series. The production quality was top notch and I didn't hear any breathing sounds that can be distracting from other narrators.

I cant wait to see where the rest of the series goes. Even if superheroes are not your thing this book is still for you its more about the human experience of a super more than the powers of a super. Just make sure not to "pass on the title".