I'd love to be able to talk about this book as a YA adventure tale on its own. But I can't. It's Lois Lane, fer cryin' out loud. Lois the intrepid, fiery, determined journalist. Not the ditz, not the comic relief, not the damsel in distress (except for the distress she finds herself in because she plunged into danger, not as a victim). Sure, she's sixteen and a rookie when it comes to reporting things -- but she's gotta start somewhere.
Not only is this Lois Lane, but it's teenaged Lois. So you have to think about this in terms of Smallville, well I have to, anyway. Bond's Lois isn't Smallville's -- she's closer to Chloe Sullivan (just with less tech savvy). Actually, if we're talking WB shows, Bond's Lois is Veronica Mars without the cool dad. But she's not just smart and tenacious. She also gets people -- she may have no social skills (or not enough of them), but she can read a person. Early on, Lois sees what's going on with the other girl in the news staff pining after one of the guys. There were other examples, but putting that one where it was -- and the way Lois saw it -- makes you believe her "reads" of other people.
After spending her life bouncing around the world, from base to base, and seeing the negative effect it's having on his daughter. General Lane gets himself a permanent assignment to Metropolis (the exact nature of which isn't clear -- but what teenager cares that much about what their parent does?). Lois is going to put down roots here, too, and not get in trouble at school -- a resolution that doesn't last through first period. But, this draws Perry White's attention as he visits the school, and he invites her to join a new student news project. From there, Lois and her new colleagues uncover a story that involves a strange mix of cyberbullying, VR gaming, and group psychology.
Sure, the story she uncovers is about outlandish, a little hopefully) hard for us to believe. But, hey, this is a book based on comics. So yeah, outlandish works. It also allows Bond to make some subtle (maybe overly subtle) remarks about group-think, the dangers of our online society, and so on.
The use of Gen. Lane, Lucy, Perry White and the Daily Planet were inventive, but were consistent with the source material. Which was both a relief, and a key for the book working as well as it did.
Her friends aren't that developed -- but there's enough of them to be more than cardboard cutouts of high school stereotypes. I look forward to learning more about them all -- I think Maddie's the most entertaining and interesting, but I'd gladly see more of the others as well. Which goes for East Metropolis High as a whole, really. I hope in future installments that Lois can find someone other than the school secretary to dupe to accomplish her ends. S
he doesn't do much with him, but I enjoyed Bond's treatment of Lois' online friend, SmallvilleGuy. Someone she met online after posting about seeing something inexplicable in the middle of Kansas. Bond doesn't try to hide from the reader who this guy is, or play games with us -- the nickname is a dead giveaway. Still, it would've been easy for Bond to pretend for a couple of books that this stranger was someone new to the canon. Instead, she plays it straight -- sure, she has some fun because we all know a whole lot more than Lois does about this guy, and what their future will hold. But she doesn't do it at the expense of either character.
Fallout was engaging, fun, and an inventive contemporary take on a timeless character. Recommended for comic book types who don't mind a different look at canon and/or people who like CW dramas.