Finn Mayer is a small town boy who has always dreamed of being in the FBI. With his average grades due to his untreated dyslexia, as well as a jerk of a brother who screws up his family interview, Finn’s dreams are shot down when he is rejected from Quantico. But then Finn gets a surprising offer. The FBI is considering establishing a new team made up of regular humans and Enhanced, people who have come into unique powers as children. While many people revile the Enhanced as unnatural and dangerous, Finn has no such qualms and is enthusiastic about a chance to be in the FBI after all. But he knows he faces tough odds as it is clear his teammates are unsure about him and he has only limited time to prove himself.
Talon Valdez is the leader of the new team and one of the Enhanced. He has lived with people hating him and the discrimination many Enhanced face. He wants to work for the FBI, but he doesn’t want regular humans on the team. Talon’s first goal is to get rid of Finn and convince the higher ups the Enhanced can do it on their own. But Finn surprises him, both with his determination to succeed, and his open mindedness about the Enhanced. Finn fights hard to prove himself, and soon begins to win over the team. An attraction also begins to grow between Finn and Talon, but Talon is wary about acting on it.
The team finally seems to be coming together, but they have limited time to prove themselves and not everyone is behind them. Add in some dangerous cases and all their lives are at risk. Now Finn and Talon must fight for their relationship and their lives.
Five Minutes Longer in the first book in what looks to be an intriguing new series by Victoria Sue. I enjoyed the set up for this story and the idea of this group of people with special powers, teamed up with regular humans. Finn is a likable guy who has faced a tough life, and you can’t help but root for him. He is a little out of his element, but at the same time, he is working so hard and is so earnest and determined. There is a bit of cleverness and snark that works well against his imposing teammates and I like that he is rarely intimidated and doesn’t give up. Talon is also interesting as the leader of the team and the Enhanced we get to know the best. I do feel like he isn’t fleshed out as much as I would have liked, even though the story is told in dual POV. It looks like the next book will feature both of these guys again, so hopefully we will get to know more about Talon as the series continues.
The world Sue has created here is an interesting one. I liked the kind of X-Men-like concept of people whose powers materialize and how they face discrimination and prejudice from most of the world. I do think that there were some world building holes here, however. We are told that the powers just materialize in kids, but no one knows why. We also are told it is just in the US (and appears to be just men, at least out of the people we meet or hear about in the book), yet again we don’t know why. So there are a lot of places where details could have been developed that are just left unaddressed. I also really wanted to see these powers in action more than we did. We don’t even know what most of the team can do for a good bit of the book, and while we do see them use their powers to a degree, I feel like there was some untapped potential here to add some excitement. There are some suspense elements that moved quickly, but parts of the book, especially early on, seemed a little slow. I think more time seeing these guys in action would have helped.
I did have some areas where I think you have to just suspend disbelief, but that I found pulled me out of the story. For example, they are setting up this elite team to be the trial run of a new FBI program, yet they are willing to bring in a guy who isn’t skilled enough for the FBI to accept through normal channels. I would think they would pick cream of the crop from the Bureau, or at least from their trainees. We get some explanation as to why Finn is chosen as the book goes on, but it still seemed hard to imagine. Then we are told that while most trainees for the FBI get many hundreds of hours of arduous training, Finn will be getting four weeks. And honestly, his training seems pretty half assed at best. So we are told that it is all partly because no one in the program is even 100% sure they want Finn to succeed. But other times they talk about how critical the program is, and it would seem like having skilled members would be important. What is even more odd is then there are scenes where officials are claiming how their training program is just as rigorous as every other FBI agent gets, which we have already seen and been told is not true in Finn’s case. I also had trouble imagining how they suddenly decide that the team has to be publicly announced RIGHT NOW and after just four days on the job with no preparation, they not only have a press conference to announce this previously top secret venture, but Finn goes in the field. He has learned to shoot a gun like the day before, no joke. But somehow they are putting him in the field. It just seemed crazy and was too hard for me to believe. You also have to go with the idea that this team is FBI, but they seem to be doing jobs normal police or SWAT would do, like crowd control. Even as a special team, the jobs they call these guys in on seem not to be FBI-type cases. I tried just to let this all go, but I found that a lot of this strained credibility for me and took me out of the story too much of the time.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention what for many is an obvious similarity in set up to Charlie Cochet’s THIRDS series. I’ll admit, when I read the book was about a law enforcement team made up of human and superhuman partners, where the non-humans were feared and reviled, I got a little worried. They even have a cute acronym (HERO). But once I started reading, I can say that these similarities may be in the set up, but the stories themselves read quite differently in plot, tone, character development, etc. I never felt like I was reading a copy, or something derivative in any way of another series and Sue’s voice here feels unique.
I did have some issues here with this one in terms of details of the story, but I am definitely still very intrigued by this series. I think there is a lot of potential and I am excited to see where Sue takes future books. I will definitely be following along.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.