Michael J. Bowler comes into the limelight again with a sensational new series book; The Invictus Chronicles. The first book of the Chronicles, titled Like A Hero, was an intense read.
After the tragic deaths of their parents, fourteen-year-old Dennis Villanueva—also the brainchild who created the fictional super hero, Invictus, convinced his brother, "Vincent,” to help create Invictus and to actually become Invictus at night. Vincent Villanueva, a PhD, bound twenty-one-year-old who had just been chosen for a prestigious brain research position at UCLA, was unable to refuse his brother's plea, and so the double life started. However, when Invictus made his first appearance at a shootout during Dennis’s graduation, the government protested his interference while the public supported it.
Fortunately, the brothers were not affected by the terrible reaction from the government but were spurred on to save more lives from danger. Vincent, an expert in martial arts, displayed his skills through the Invictus disguise, while Dennis helped keep track of the calls for help, relaying these calls to his brother Vincent and then watching out for the police and for any attempt they made to catch Invictus (Vincent). On one fateful night, when Invictus met Joe—a homeless fourteen-year-old boy who ran away from home because of his sexuality and Frankie—a ten-year-old boy addicted to drugs, both brothers' lives were permanently altered. However, Invictus did not have the heart to tell Dennis about the meeting since he did not want him to feel left out. When Dennis finds out that Joe and Frankie have taken his place as support for Invictus, Dennis becomes jealous since he always saw himself as his brother's sidekick. In the meantime, while Invictus is out on the streets at night, he learns of an Asian drug ring that sells a different kind of substance to non-Asians.
The story takes a terrible turn when Invictus tries to infiltrate the Asian drug ring without Dennis, thus—driving Dennis to secretly join the ring to gather information that will impress his brother without his knowledge.
What the brothers do not realize is that they are part of a larger conspiracy. Will Vincent/Invictus be able to save his brother and himself before it is too late? And was Vincent's status “Like A Hero” worth it in the end?
Like A Hero is the dream book of every action book lover. The novel grips your attention, heart, and mind because it was like being in a racing car speeding towards the finish line. The emotions felt are almost indescribable. It was mostly about family, about how humanity would still prevail even when all hope is gone and about finding your purpose. The novel—a simply marvelous read, was a combination of an action-packed story and an emotionally inspiring mood.
Michael J. Bowler went all out on the first book of the Invictus Chronicles as it is incomparable to every action book I have ever read. The characters each had unique characteristics that we see in our daily lives which makes the book relatable. Vincent—a human who despite his insecurities, went out in disguise at night to do his part in the world while Dennis, the genius behind the idea, still needed validation from his brother. The author’s writing style is the most admirable of all, as he perfectly weaves the truth about our world, the importance of family or those like family, and inspiration on how a little help goes a long way, with action-thriller scenes that make you hold your breath.
Bowler achieved his purpose in the novel because the title which says, “Like A Hero” resonates with the happenings in the book. The characters, mostly the main characters, acted both like a hero and not like a hero because they were everyday humans with no superpowers; different, in the aspect of helping the world in every means. The book has an amazingly, comfortable cliffhanger; not intense but the ending worked its magic to calm a reader’s racing heart and pushes you to appreciate the world anew.
The novel had no weaknesses but instead weakened the reader’s tear ducts because it was a real tearjerker. It is highly recommended to action-thriller fans or a normal reader from age 12+. I learned that even the strongest person you know will still have emotions when life becomes overwhelming, and that kindness must be practiced. Throughout the book, Bowler emphasized the importance of letting yourself feel, acknowledging the love you have for your loved ones, and helping people whenever you can. I hope after you read this book, you take a deep breath and start spreading your light to the world; and when your light starts to get tired, just remember that there are people to fall back on who will help rekindle that bright burning light. Like A Hero; the first book in The Invictus Chronicles has a rating of 5 out of 5.