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Book Review: Rogue Touch

This is the second of the 2013 Marvel-licensed novels released by Hyperion, and thankfully, the last (the first being The She-Hulk Diaries).

Firstly, the back cover plot summary:

Twenty-year-old Anna Marie was just fired for the third time--this time from a bakery. Why can't she hold a job? Well, for starters, she dresses . . . differently. She looks like a Goth girl to the extreme, her shock of white hair contrasting with her head-to-toe black garb, her face the only skin she chooses to reveal. But Anna Marie doesn't have a choice. Her skin, her touch, is a deadly weapon that must be concealed. She accidentally put her first boyfriend, Cody, in a coma when they kissed. Horrified, she ran away to Jackson, Mississippi.

But when she meets otherworldly James, everything changes. He's just like her--completely alone and also on the run. To elude James's mysterious and dangerous family, the pair takes to the highway. As they cross the country, their simmering attraction intensifies and they both open up about their secretive pasts. James reveals that his true name is "Touch" and he christens Anna Marie "Rogue". But with danger at their heels, they know they can't run forever. Rogue must decide if she'll unleash her devastating powers once again, which she swore never to do, in order to save the only person who seems truly to understand and accept her.

Yes. Your eyes do not deceive you. That actually says "Goth girl to the extreme". Because she wears all black. Black clothes = Goth. That's math. Look it up.

Several times i wondered "why is she only wearing black?". Yes, she has to cover her skin to prevent accidental touching, but, you know, long sleeves come in all sorts of colors nowadays at no extra cost. It's one of those mysteries we will never know the answer to.

Anyway, Rogue Touch by Christine Woodward (who's actually Nina de Gramont) is a YA romance starring a young Rogue who left home and the aunt who raised her a few years before the start of the book. Sadly, Mystique and the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants are not in any way part of this story.

My understanding of Rogue's powers has been that she only absorbs a person's memories and abilities temporarily. The person touched will fall unconscious, the length of which is determined by how long the contact lasts. In the novel, however, a brief touch is able to put Rogue's former employer in a coma that lasts weeks. Memories and abilities absorbed seem to be permanent. And her absorption powers work on animals.

By making the absorption permanent and nearly lethal no matter what, the author pretty much neutered Rogue. She took an essential characteristic of Rogue and made it impossible to use. Naturally, you can't have your heroine going around putting people into comas willy nilly.

So, other than accidental touches (5, including Cody) mostly involving animals attacking her, Rogue uses her powers a whopping two times in this book.

  1. Just after she puts Cody in a coma, she touches a kitten to see if she was really the cause of Cody's collapse. The kitten ends up dead after the brief touch and Rogue permanently gains green eyes and night vision.
  2. She uses it near the very end to get away from a bad guy.

What you're left with is simply a story about a young girl on the run. Girl meets boy. Boy is totes hawt. Boy is also on the run. They both fall in insta-love. They run away together. They almost get caught. They run away some more. They get caught. They defeat the bad guys. The end.

Anyone could have fulfilled the female protagonist role in this story. If you were drawn to this book because you loved mutant-power-wielding Rogue from the comics, you might be disappointed. If you always secretly wondered if Rogue ever got hot wearing all those clothes to prevent accidental skin-to-skin contact, rejoice, my friends. This is the book for you.

For those of you who aren't concerned about spoilers, read on.



Just a couple of wackadoo things that happened in the story that made me go "Hurnh??":

  1. The boy in the story introduces himself as "James". A little further into the book, he says he's an alien (he's actually from the future) and his actual name translates to "Touch" (get it? Rogue Touch!). Rogue decides she's going to call him Touch from now on. Cause it just feels right. I mean, it's not really a big deal. It just struck me as really odd. I have a name that translates into something but i don't want you calling me by the translation. You should either call me by my actual name or the name i chose for myself that you can actually pronounce. And at the very least, you should prolly ask me before you start changing what you call me. That's just manners.
  2. Let's say a couple of nights earlier you stole a brand new, red Prius by crashing it through the showroom window in a bid to escape from the bad people chasing you. You successfully escape and buy a shit-ton of camping supplies before stopping at a campground.

    What do you do when you wake up the next morning? Do you:

    1. wipe out all traces of your stay and get back on the road ASAP,
    2. discuss a strategy for avoiding detection and capture since you almost got nabbed last time, or
    3. take a leisurely hike through the woods because it's such a lovely day, leaving behind your supplies and cash in the stolen car?

    Yeah. That happened. Needless to say, they had to abandon the car and all their stuff because the cops were on the scene by the time they returned from their hike.

  3. Turns out, Touch has a young son (he decided to break up with his wife after he traveled back to the present and fell in insta-lurv with Rogue. The wife is one of the bad guys, so that makes it ok.). In order to protect his son from becoming like his wife and father, he sends the kid to the present, entrusting him to Rogue's care.

    She, in turn, drops him off at the curb of Coma Cody's parents' house. The Robbins had done such a bang up job raising Cody, she was sure they'd do great with Touch's kid. Who knows if they can afford to raise him what with Coma Cody's hospital bills. Or if they even want to do it at this stage of their lives. Pshaw. She knows they'll be great! And anyway, she's got places to be. Touch left her a screwdriver that can hack ATMs so she doesn't have to worry about money (unlike the Robbins...har!) so she gets herself a bitchin' Camaro and heads to Maine where she dreams of Touch one day coming back for her. And the kid. I guess. If he's still alive or whatever.

By min | March 18, 2014, 1:04 PM | Boooooks & Comics


Mackie revealed that the first boy Rogue kissed, Cody, spent the rest of his life in a coma after Rogue kissed him. A lot of readers had problems with it but that's probably what the story is mentioning.

i would attribute Cody's extreme case to a few things.

1) it was the first use of Rogue's powers so perhaps there was a surge as it manifested
2) perhaps she subsequently subconsciously tried to "take" as little as possible from everyone else after Cody just because of the trauma from this first time
3) who knows how long she was snogging him before she realized what was happening

hence Cody getting the lifelong coma and everyone else Rogue taps only being a little unconscious.