Jasper “Jazz” was orphaned at birth and raised in foster care. Six years ago he met Lindsay Vanessen, a wealthy half-shifter whose mother later adopted young Jazz. Fast-forward to the present and Jazz is all grown, heading into his final summer before beginning college at Harvard. Jazz loves his adopted family, who not only dote on him, but they help Jazz realize that he’s not a total misfit, despite being abandoned at birth, gay, and an alpha wolf shifter.
Jazz’s best friend Carla is a human female who is also the governor of Connecticut’s only daughter. She is brash and bold, and Jazz often has to rein in her shenanigans. While out a big picnic, Jazz catches the eye of some opportunistic persons when he helps Carla rescue a young boy from a tree. No matter how well Jazz pretends, observant folk pick up on his superhuman strength and speed. One of these people is Jazz’s idol, Lysandra, a social activist with big magical secrets of her own. Lysandra positions her “nephew” Dash Mercury in an internship with Vanessen Enterprises so Dash can more closely observe Jazz.
Jazz is being courted, figuratively and literally, by some of the Connecticut shifter pack who are in need of a new alpha. They are even willing to overlook Jazz’s gayness in favor of his leadership—but Jazz doesn’t want to abandon his family/pack with the Vanessens. But, there’s lots of hinky stuff happening between himself and Dash, and at work odd folks keep turning up to check him out. Is it related to the threats people have been making about his family/pack? And, is Jazz hallucinating, or is there an invisible wolf shifter following Jazz?
Hidden Powers is the first book in the Superordinary Society series, which is a hybrid of shifter romance and magical elements. It’s a spin-off of the author’s Tales of the Harker Pack series. For those who’ve read those novels, there are many scenes with those MCs helping Jazz through some of the trials of this story.
This was an interesting story and I did like it. For me, there was a lot going on, too much at times. The shadowy bad guy seems to be working several angles at once, using different players on the chess board. It got a little overwhelming, especially with all the characters. There was a cast of 30+ people here and it got a bit tedious remembering who was whom when we barely saw them after being introduced. Jazz needs to come to terms this his identity, one that Dash helps his to navigate—magically when necessary. The author describes the book as a cross between a shifter romance and Harry Potter, and I felt that was a good disclaimer. I liked the magical elements and how they built as Jazz learns more control and gains skill. His novice attempts at using magic are filled with stumbling blocks to the point Jazz isn’t even certain he’s conjuring situations to his own liking or benefit. That felt real, as did Jazz’s recognition that he’s even more different than his brothers are. Having struggled so long to belong, he draws close those people who could be the best help to himself—like the true alpha he is. His newest allies are Dash, and two semi-human fellow interns. These five persons comprise the Superordinary Society, and help Jazz protect himself against the biggest, baddest wolf shifter in New York.
This story has a real YA feel to it, with only a dash of sexy times romance amid all the clammy hands and longing looks of our 18-year-old main characters. Dash and Jazz develop a close romantic connection, but the Society is a new and important nexus for Jazz’s more unexpected powers. Once he starts to realize these powers aren’t simple flukes, Jazz turns his eyes to making demonstrable changes in his life and pack members. There is some great banter with all the teens and with Jazz and his brothers, though some of those phrases got repetitive.
I liked this one, even though it felt long and a bit slow paced for me. I would read on to see how this series evolves. I really enjoyed the mix of characters and unique magical and mundane talents. It gave the story a multicultural feel. Plus, the females in the story are vibrant and powerful, which was a pleasant change of pace from the usual shifter story. Jazz’s cadre of superordinary friends have been assembled, and I look forward to seeing them take further heroic action.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.