Note: This review may contain spoilers, as it is the second book in a series that must be read in order.
Edward Dinges was rescued from the hellish prison only to discover that he, in fact, had superpowers. With the help of his boyfriend Raul, also known as the villain the Mad Bombardier, he’s been learning to hone his abilities and is finally ready to pull his first job. He can’t sit on his laurels or hide behind Raul. He needs to be out there doing villainous things. But Edward’s first job goes a little bit wrong, and then when Raul is supposed to come to his rescue…he doesn’t.
It’s then that Edward learns that Raul has been kidnapped and is being held hostage to force Edward to do Maggot’s bidding. Maggot wants to change the world, to show Panopolis exactly what is going on behind the scenes. But even if his ultimate goal is the right one, his methods aren’t. If it weren’t for the fact that Raul was being held, Edward wouldn’t help. But he has no choice, not if he wants Raul to live. What Edward discovers is more than he expects. What’s he’s able to accomplish is more than he ever thought. And when the day dawns again, everything is different and Edward has to step up to the plate.
Cari Z does it again with this sequel to Where There’s Smoke. My inner geek was squeeing with happy with this latest installment, though I have to say that the romance is more of a B plotline here. Edward and Raul are happy and in love, and while the trials they face test the happy, their love never wavers. It’s rock solid. This was exactly what I wanted to see from them, and because I knew they were unshakable, it was easy to fall into the rest of the story.
I’m going to be honest here: it rare that I like the second book in the series more than the first. But that happened here, with this book eeking out in front of the first one. Not only are Raul and Edward solidly in love, as I said, but Edward is growing and changing, finding his feet as a villain and really coming into his own. This story went places I didn’t expect, and I enjoyed every twist and turn. Once again, Edward is our narrator, and honestly, I love this guy I love the way he thinks. I love his humor. I loved watching his confidence grow, and his determination strengthen.
I was already involved with the MCs, but I became invested in this plot from word one. Here we have a perfectly paced, action-filled story that sucked me in and kept me engaged every step of the way. There were moments that I was absolutely grossed out. Others where I was genuinely upset, to the point where I actually felt it in my gut and hurt for Edward and Raul. I giggled at the random funny, and I all but crowed in triumph at success. I’m going to chalk it up to the author’s style, at putting me right there with Edward, that I felt everything as the story went on.
This story is so much more than about superpowers, and Heroes and Villains. It’s about what is morally right and fundamentally wrong, a bigger message within the confines of a well-crafted story with believable and engaging characters. I really enjoyed it and I can’t wait for the next installment.