I am a huge Superman fan, and I loved everything about this novel. I also enjoy the 1930-40s as a historical setting, so it's like this book was tailored for me. I cannot recommend this novel enough. While it was admittedly very important to me that De Haven get the iconic core of the character "Superman" right, I also think this book could be enjoyable to someone unfamiliar with all the Superman lore. There's a lot of American history intermingled with the story of Clark Kent growing into Superman. This works no two levels: illustrating why two boys during this real-life era felt the need to invent a character like this, and what about Superman makes him, to this day, a sort of American institution.
In this novel, Clark Kent is only one of several characters who grows into themselves. Characters like Lois Lane and Lex Luthor parallel original characters like Willi Berg, who becomes a unifying element for the individual threads to the story. One of the things I really loved about the book was that every single character, from major to minor, seems to work extremely hard to "become" who they are by the end of the novel. While their upbringing contributes, and so too do their circumstances, somewhere in their life-journey is the definitive choice or choices that sets them on the path they lead. If you believe in an old-fashioned American ideology that reinforces ideals like the fundamental power of choice, the possibility of struggling toward a better future, the self-made man, and the capacity of each of us to be extraordinary in our own ways, I recommend this novel. It's both a richly layered and an entertaining read.
This is a well written story. It follows Lex Luthor, Lois Lane, Clark Kent and another character named Willi through several years in the '30s. The stories are separate for the most part, but interweave throughout.
My biggest problem with this, it's boring. Clark Kent is almost the third or fourth lead in the novel. Superman doesn't really even make a front and center appearance until around page 350. Before that, it's basically innuendo and second hand recounts. It's a solid story, but when reading a Superman novel, you have certain expectations, even with an origin story. This takes entirely too long to get started and almost lost me in the middle. The last 100 pages or so are the best part of the book.
You'll enjoy the book, I guess, just go into knowing it's a REALLY slow burn type of story.