Tre Derringer got in trouble with the law in college and ended up in super max prison. His crime was mild enough that if Tre had been an everyday person, he would likely have received a slap on the wrist. But as one of the awakened, a person with superpowers, he was considered too dangerous and got a much harsher sentence. It didn’t matter that Tre’s hot-thermal powers are spotty and unreliable. It only mattered that he has them.
When Tre gets out of prison, he isn’t sure what to do next. But he is barely out the door when he is picked up by a recruiter for New Dawn, New Day (ND2), a self-proclaimed “activist group” for the rights of the awakened. Amy brings Tre to the Farmhouse, a communal home for a group of awakened who follow the writings of their leader, Vic. Vic believes that the awakened will never have rights until they out themselves to the rest of the world (aka “sleepers”), and while that may lead to violence and the subjugation of sleepers, it is a necessary evil in order to gain freedom for the awakened.
Months later, Tre is committed to the ND2 mission and willing to do whatever is needed to see them succeed. He joins Amy on the work crew for a music festival where the group has something big planned, though Tre isn’t high enough up in the organization to know what that is. When he arrives at the festival grounds, Tre runs into Dorian Archer, an old crush growing up. It turns out Dorian remembers Tre just as fondly, and the two begin to hang out and hook up. As Dorian is an awakened with electrical powers, ND2 hopes that Tre might be able to recruit him to their cause. But while Tre knows that he should be working to convince Dorian to join up, he really just wants to spend time with the man who makes him happier than he has been in a long time.
As the weeks go by, Dorian and Tre continue to grow close and both can imagine building something long term together. But Tre knows he has a mission to accomplish with ND2, and it is one that Dorian doesn’t seem to want to share. Yet the more time he spends with Dorian, the more Tre begins to question ND2 and their plans. But something big is brewing and Tre is right in the middle of it all. Now that he has gotten this far, it may be too late to stop a disaster.
A New Beginning is the tenth and final book in Katey Hawthorne’s Superpowered Love series. I have really loved these books and this story is a great wrap up for the series. In general, these books stand alone, as they mostly take place in a shared world and can be read in any order. However, A New Beginning ties in with some characters and storyline from Riot Boy and Re-Entry Burn, so being familiar with those books will help here. This story also has less general world building than some of the others, and you will do better with some familiarity with both the types of awakened, and the conflict between awakened and sleepers. If you are new to the series, I’d tell you that you can’t go wrong reading Riot Boy and Re-Entry Burn before this one, as they are two of the best books in the series (and I adore Brady and Etienne from Riot Boy beyond reason).
This is a shorter novel, but Hawthorne really does a great job with the pacing. We get enough of a set up here to understand Tre and what draws him to ND2 and why this group’s message resonates with him. They offer him a sense of family and acceptance he hasn’t had, validate the injustice done against him by the harsh jail time, and isolate him from anyone who could be a voice of reason or dissent. We start out the book just as Tre is getting out of prison and see a bit of the early days as he gets settled at the Farmhouse, then jump ahead five months, at which point Tre is well and truly indoctrinated into this cult-like group. There is a tricky balance here as we are in Tre’s POV. So on one hand, the story needs to convey to us as readers that Tre is basically being brainwashed by a cult, but at the same time, in Tre’s viewpoint, he is unaware of what is really happening. Getting both of those perspectives across at once is not an easy task and Hawthorne really handles it well.
Once Tre and Amy get to the festival, Tre spends weeks with Dorian as the two fall hard for one another. The men knew each other as teens (and had a hot “Seven Minutes in Heaven’ hookup way back when), so there is a bit of a lovers reunited feel here as the two reconnect. They both definitely haven’t forgotten each other and things are intense almost right away. There is such a great dynamic here as Dorian is so gentle and understanding and sweet (but also sexy and a great dirty talker), so he is able to reach Tre in a way someone else might not. Of course, the question is whether Tre will come to realize what he is involved with before it is too late and if there is a way to salvage things between the men in the midst of it all.
The story brings together some themes (and characters) from across the series to give some resolution to the long-standing debate as to whether the awakened should come out. I do feel like that issue and the aftermath gets handled a little quickly, both in terms of the pacing of this book, as well as given this is the culmination of the series. I would have liked to see things tied up a little neater and with more detail, but that may be personal preference and others might appreciate the slightly more open-ended style.
Overall, I really enjoyed this story. Dorian and Tre are so great together. They are sexy, but also so sweet and tender together. It is really rewarding to see Tre find what he truly needs with Dorian. And getting a chance to see the guys from past books was a great way to pull this all together. As I said, this is a great series and definitely worth reading for fans of super powered stories and a shared world.