Jody Aguirre and his family were kidnapped and tortured by witch hunters who found out they were “awakened,” people with supernatural powers. The hunters murdered Jody’s mother and father and he knows it is only a matter of time for him. When an opportunity comes for escape, Jody doesn’t hesitate, using his super cooling powers to make it out of captivity. Now that the hunters are on to him, however, Jody has nowhere to run. Fortunately, luck is with him as he makes it to the road and is picked up by Bren Faulkner.
Jody is fine being dropped off at the bus station, but as Bren notes, that is the first place the bad guys will look. Bren insists that Jody come home with him and recuperate. Jody is wary, first of Bren’s motives, but also because he can’t tell Bren much about what happened because he needs to keep his abilities a secret. But when Jody realizes that Bren is also an awakened, in his case with powers to control heat, he can finally share the truth about the kidnapping and murders.
All Jody can think about is getting revenge on those that hurt him and his family. Fortunately, Bren has some connections in awakened law enforcement. They have to keep things off the books, as no one can know the awakened even exist, but they are committed to tracking down the hunters. As the search continues, Jody begins to heal, physically and emotionally. Bren’s unwavering support helps a lot, and soon their feelings turn to more. Bren worries that his position of power over Jody is what is contributing to Jody’s attraction, but Jody is clear that he wants the man and soon they begin to act on their feelings. But the bad guys are still out there and Jody is looking for more than justice… he wants revenge.
The Takedown is the newest book in Katey Hawthorne’s Superpowered Love series. I am a huge fan of this series, starting with my love for Riot Boy, a book that still makes my top all time list and one I have reread numerous times (if you want to catch a bit more about it, Hawthorne stopped by and did a reading from that book). The stories in this series all feature awakened characters with various abilities (typically control over heat, cold, or electricity) and are in a shared world, but have only the most minor of overlapping characters. The exception is Re-Entry Burn, which features Mal, whom has a key role in Riot Boy. But otherwise you can read any of these books in any order. The books are fun, quirky, sexy, and have a great set up with the awakened characters, and The Takedown is a great addition.
This one starts off exciting with Jody escaping from captivity. We can really feel his panic as he realizes his parents are dead and he has a slim window of opportunity to escape, but is then left with nowhere to go. Bren happening by saves Jody’s life and his offer of a place to stay makes all the difference. Bren is a source of strength and comfort, but he also gives Jody space to heal, something he really needs. I think this is handled well, as the relationship is not rushed and we see how Bren gives Jody support but never pushes. At times Bren worries about Jody’s need for revenge, but even as he shares his concerns with Jody, he always supports him. They are such a good match and I loved the way these guys worked together. There is definitely chemistry between them and a super sexy connection, but the solid support is really the foundation of their relationship.
The story addresses some interesting issues that face the larger series world building, in particular the fact that the awakened have to live in secret. There are some awakened in law enforcement and other positions of importance, but when there is a crisis like Jody faces, it is hard to work within the law when no one can know they exist. Jody can’t get the justice he deserves for the crimes and the team investigating has limited resources because they have to keep the case off the books. So there is a nice big picture angle we get to the world building here, in addition to this particular story.
As I mentioned, I really liked the romance between these guys. There is a bit of an age/power gap dynamic that I liked, as well Bren being a wealthy hero, another trope I enjoy. Bren is also trans and I particularly liked how this is not a part of the story plot, as much as just who Bren is. While I enjoy a trans storyline, I do think that having books that feature trans characters where that isn’t the main plot point shows growth in the genre (in a similar way to not all books with a gay character being about him being gay). So these guys are sexy together and a really good match. I liked that even though he seems to be the more vulnerable one in many ways, Jody is strong and goes for what he wants, especially with Bren’s support.
So this is another great installment in the Superpowered Love series. If you haven’t read it, you can definitely jump in with this book, but because I am obsessed with Riot Boy I’ll tell you to be sure to read that one too. And for fans of the series, there is a lot to love in this latest installment.