I should probably mention before I get into this review that I actually liked the original Heroes. I was that guy who, even after the quality went downhill, continued to watch the show and enjoy it. It’s sort of a guilty pleasure of mine, so I couldn’t have been more excited when the show was coming back. So, before reading this review, know this: if you were looking for a review from someone who gave up on the original show and is giving it another shot with Heroes Reborn, I’m not your guy.
The Heroes Reborn novella follows the first episode of the show. If you watch the show and then read the novella like I did, none of the plot points will be substantially different. What it apparent, however, are the major differences between the mediums. What the novella is missing, primarily, is the visual aspect of the show. The writer’s visual descriptions are pretty austere, not enough that it would bother me in a normal book, but enough that I noticed when compared with the show. Where the novella shines, however, is characterization.
Watching the show, I didn’t notice any issues with the characters, but I’m accustomed to not receiving the kind of characterization from single episodes of television that I can in the opening pages of a book. When reading the same scenes in the novella, however, things began to stand out at me. Specifically, character motivations became a much bigger deal. Several characters who aren’t fleshed out until half a dozen episodes into the show are given strong characterization that makes the same scenes from the show more powerful and evocative.
The novella is available as an ebook (the version I read) and an audiobook. I highly suggest giving it a read or listen if you’re interested in Heroes Reborn and don’t want to watch a half-dozen episodes before having enough information to determine if you like the new direction that the show has gone. The novella is a perfect companion piece for the show and, in some ways, acts as a better introduction to the series than the pilot episodes do.