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Reviewed by Lit Amri for Readers' Favorite
To other students in his school, Matthew Peters is just a weird quiet kid and a target for bullies. However, Matthew is the lord in his own universe, especially Excelsior, a popular web comic hero he created that is gaining more and more exposure. The comic about a guardian who wielded a powerful sword and fought for the people of his home planet, Denab IV, is a means of escape for him. Before he could enjoy his success, an enigmatic Dr. Katherine Sierra from Tollund Laboratories reveals that Denab IV is real and Matthew is the only one who can save it from the Krunation Empire. Such is the premise of Excelsior, a YA sci-fi by George Sirois.
A young man's transformation from zero to hero is a classic premise, particularly with a powerful sword waiting for its right owner to claim it. Matthew is easily likable, a character whom readers would definitely root for. That said, I feel characterization as a whole definitely has room for more depth. The story has great world-building and the straightforward writing style makes the plot easy to follow. The part where Dr. Katherine Sierra presents and shares the ‘Virtual Future’ tech with the high school students is very interesting and made me wish that I could try the ‘Virtual Future’ goggles myself. It is also a nifty way for Dr. Sierra to find out who Matthew is. All in all, despite being a boy-targeted book, Excelsior is highly engaging and will definitely be enjoyed by its intended audience of YA readers.