Rating: 4.5 stars
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Vince Silva’s life is about to change. Being accepted at superhero training camp, Camp Hologram, means he can finally leave his villainous father behind and start a new life. Once he’s finished his training, Vince will be a fully qualified superhero and can do good in the world. His power, using his voice to influence people, can be potentially dangerous—just look at his father—but Vince is determined never to use his power for evil.
Locke’s family has very specific expectations. He’s not entirely sure he buys into them, but it’s hard to not listen to his father. Training at Camp Hologram is expected, and Locke wants to do good in the world. When he and Vince meet, the attraction between them is instantaneous. They begin a tentative relationship, and Vince shares the truth about his father early, wanting to give Locke the chance to walk away. But Locke wants Vince, and so they continue on.
But it’s not that easy. Locke is still influenced by his father and his father’s ideals—the superhero has very specific thoughts when it comes to good and evil, hero and villain. When their bonds are tested, Locke walks away. But when disaster strikes the camp, Locke realizes what a mistake he’s made though Vince doesn’t forgive the transgression easily. But just as they are beginning to find their feet again, something even worse happens. The trainees at Camp Hologram need to work together to find a missing person, and in the process, ideals are challenged and realigned. And in the process, Vince and Locke just might find their happily ever after.
This book was pointed out to me since it’s right up my alley, and I thought it was a great book to review for Paranormal Week. Most of the books this week will be focusing on the traditional PNR tropes, but superheroes—especially in this world that Blackburn and Langley have created—definitely fall into the paranormal aspect. The Gifted have powers that are genetic, and sometimes don’t fall into the hereditary line. I really enjoyed the world building here. A lot of thought was put into how powers worked, the greater scheme of organization and governing, and the training involved. And since world building is a key thing with me, I really appreciated the levels this story went to in order to pull me into the world and make it believable.
The authors have created a cast of characters that fully flesh out the story, and each adds something unique and important. The MCs in particular were well drawn. I simply adored Vince, his insecurity and his shyness, and the backbone he had underneath. When push came to shove, Vince wasn’t one to sit back. He’d jump in when he was needed, and he didn’t take Locke’s crap when things went sideways. I really enjoyed him, and watching him find his feet and come into his own.
Locke is adorable, but he’s also got issues that manifest in not the greatest of ways. To put it bluntly, he can be kind of a jerk at times. There were definitely portions of this book where I was giving him the side-eye. But what I really enjoyed was the way he grew and learned as the story progressed. Locke’s arc is definitely about learning to make up his own mind and decide what’s right for him. The chemistry between Locke and Vince was great and their relationship drove most of the story.
There are other things going on in this book, especially toward the end. Without giving anything away, I liked the connections between the characters and how the last third of the book picked up in intensity and emotion. There’s a situation that the trainees need to deal with, and working together—and knowing when to call for help—really show the depth of growth they’ve all gone through. I will say, however, that there were some loose ends that I felt needed to be tied up and weren’t, and I definitely had unanswered questions at the end. This brought things down for me just a bit. I felt a little like certain plot points were rushed and I would have liked to see more explanation.
Overall, this book is definitely a winner. If you’re looking for a different take on the paranormal, then this book might be for you. Interesting characters with a great world, and superheroes saving the day.
This sounds intriguing, but I’m wondering how old Locke and Vince are. I tend to think of camp as a high school activity but perhaps not. Thanks for the review, Kris.
Early 20s, Kareni. It’s more training camp than summer sleepaway camp. 🙂
Interesting, as you say a bit out of the ‘norm’ for paranormal
Yeah, we decided to go beyond shifters, vampires etc and also include special abilities and other super human type themes this week
Thanks for the review. I’ll be adding this to my TBR pile.