Grim_Noir Awards Lois Lane: DOUBLE DOWN with “Most Improved”


Title: Lois Lane: DOUBLE DOWN

Writer: Gwenda Bond

Jacket and book design: Bob Lentz

Published by Capstone/Switch Press

Reviewed by Grim_Noir

There is a great dichotomy to Ms. Lois Lane: Her sly cynicism toward those in Power and Authority mixed with that naive, utter faith in the “power of The Press.” While this duality has never been overtly addressed in the canon, it somehow makes perfect sense in a sixteen-year-old army brat Lois, who is still forming her world view.

In fact, there are A LOT of opposing pairs in DOUBLE DOWN, the second novel in author Gwenda Bond’s Lois Lane series. Lois is caught between the real world and the virtual world, between the secrets of her new friends and her family, balancing school and her new after-school job at the Daily Scoop (the online “experiment” of the Daily Planet), and even between bickering twin sisters.

While doing a puff piece about Dante, a fellow East Metropolis High School student who is painting a mural for urban renewal on the Southside (a.k.a. “Suicide Slum”), Lois stumbles onto a second, juicier story. When she finds Melody (her best friend’s twin sister) having bizarre seizures and visions on that same “bad side of town,” Lois investigates. Together with her fellow Daily Scoop staffers, the over-privileged James, hacker Devin, and musician-turned-fashionista Maddy, Lois begins to piece together the connections between “Boss” Moxie, a rogue Cadmus scientist, two Metropolis mayors, Melody and a lookalike to James’ dad.

“…Perry gave me a disappointed head shake. ‘What are you talking about? This is your story, Lois Lane. Never step aside and let someone have something you worked for…’ ”

from “Lois Lane: DOUBLE DOWN” by Gwenda Bond

Sound confusing? Don’t worry. All will become clear as Lois and her personal Scooby crew pass from one slightly dangerous situation to the next, gathering clues along the way. This is a Young Adult novel, so the danger is vaguely neutered and the old-school “adults-never-pay-attention-to-kids,-unless-they-are-telling-them-what-to-do” mentality is in full effect.

Bond’s pacing has improved from the first Lois Lane novel, partially because the main characters have already been established and partially because she is giving other characters more to do. The fact that Maddy’s sister, Melody, is one of the corners of this story and James’ dad is another gives the narrative a more personal connection to Lois. Like a Harry Potter book, the reader is pulled from crisis to crisis at an accelerating pace until Lois has enough to act on.

Also improved from the first book, the denouement is allowed to “breathe;” you don’t feel like the story ended simply because the book ran out of pages. We spend time with these characters, we feel like they are friends, and we revel with them in their successes and how their families are affected. (Thankfully, this includes Lois’ family. Last book’s family dynamic of General Lane giving orders to his family and everyone else doing what he says was too thin to continue. Lois’ mom, in particular, has finally been fleshed out.)

DOUBLE DOWN still isn’t a perfect young Lois Lane tome, but the promise of FALLOUT is beginning to be developed and I’m sincerely looking forward to book number three.

Gwenda with Double Down


Ol' Grim Hisself

* GRIM_NOIR is convinced that the internet is a figment of his imagination. Please comment below and/or follow @Grim_Noir on Twitter or Friend on Good Reads or Facebook to end his self-delusions. He would also like anyone who reads this far to know that Switch Press is giving away two free downloads of Lois Lane short stories by Gwenda Bond. (He’s sneaky that way.)

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