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Hair Power by Piers Anthony

Hair Power - Piers Anthony, Kristi King-Morgan, Macario Hernandez III, Niki Browning

Quiti is a young lady who unfortunately has terminal brain cancer. She’s been dealing with it well, but the cost of it emotionally on her parents and friends is weighing upon her. She has chosen to take her own life, planned it out in fact. However, at the moment when she is determined this is the right path and she is about to go through it, she meets an alien hairball that needs her help. Of course, she can’t say no to it’s simple request, but much to her surprise, her outlook changes and her cancer appears to be going into remission. What follows is a story of a buddy superhero and her adventures with her alien hairball.

This was an odd mix of a story for me. On one hand, the story is very simply told. The sentences are short and to the point. There are few descriptors and few large words. On the other hand, there are some adult themes (mostly sex) that crop up several times in this book. I don’t mind sex in books, but I wasn’t expecting the array of sexual relationships in this book, only one of which is a standard loving husband-wife scenario. I was constantly wondering if I was reading a book for teens or a compilation of sexual conquests, given the various scenarios. I will say that it was refreshing to have a young lady be so straight forward about her sexuality, though she does manage to get nude quite often, and sometimes it did not really pertinent to the plot.

I liked the start of the book the best. I felt that had the most meat to it. As Quiti gets to know her new hair better, she continues to develop superpowers. At first, it is just a raised IQ that makes her last year of highschool that much easier. Then she turns into a babe, which is, sadly, really important for the rest of the book because she uses her sexuality to distract people or obtain things. Her new looks definitely attract Speedo, who is a few years younger than her. In fact, they have a rather odd night together where she gives him permission to do as he likes provided it’s not intercourse and then she proceeds to sleep through it. This scene was the first time I really questioned where the author was trying to go with this book. I never really stopped asking that question. Couple that with the attempted rape scene at a highschool dance, well, read it and wonder.

Of course having the cancer disappear was awesome, but she felt she had to keep that under wraps at first. She ends up going on an impromptu trip to avoid being captured by some nebulous entity that somehow knows about her hair and her burgeoning superpowers. Along the way, she meets many interesting people like Gena (a truck driver), Idola (a 10 year old that needs a new family), Roque (a college kid who’s just figuring out his life), Desiree (a prostitute), and Tillo (a boy in need of some role models).

Here and there are hints that some secretive government agency is trying to track Quiti and her hair, but we see few manifestations of this until the last fifth of the book. Even then, it’s still nebulous, disjointed, and not at all fleshed out. In fact, most of the book felt like a very detailed screenplay for a movie rather than a novel. Actions are told so simply, the character’s logic laid out so straight forwardly that it seemed that Quiti lacked character. There were few facial expressions, few mentions of emotions, never really any going back and forth on decisions or anxiety or happiness, etc. I would have enjoyed this story much more if it had been fleshed out instead of just bones, tendons, and ligaments.

Also, Quiti gets so many powers from the hair that it seems there is almost nothing she can’t do. There’s invisibility, flight, underwater breathing, no need for clothing, super intelligence, invulnerability to bullets and knives, quickened reflexes, perfect health, ability to change appearance, etc. She does need to eat a lot (she’s eating for two) and the hair likes to sunbath daily if possible. It eventually got to the point that Quiti became boring because she was so powerful. There was no worthy adversary that could match her. So I was never really concerned for her safety or freedom and therefore the plot was a bit boring as well. All told, this was a rather ho-hum tale for me.

I received a free copy of this book.