Summary: Magneto and Professor X. Superman and Lex Luthor. Victor Vale and Eli Ever. Sydney and Serena Clarke. Great partnerships, now soured on the vine.
But Marcella Riggins needs no one. Flush from her brush with death, she’s finally gained the control she’s always sought — and will use her new-found power to bring the city of Merit to its knees. She’ll do whatever it takes, collecting her own sidekicks, and leveraging the two most infamous EOs, Victor Vale and Eli Ever, against each other.
With Marcella’s rise, new enmities create opportunity — and the stage of Merit City will once again be set for a final, terrible reckoning.
Genre(s): Adult, Sci-fi, Superheroes
Representation: strong female leads
Content warnings: death, blood, torture, threatened & actual graphic violence, mention of rape, mild sexual content (consensual)
*These include affiliate links, which means that if you click through and buy a book I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. [Full disclaimers here.]
I can’t remember the last time I thought a sequel really lived up to a solid first book, let alone surpassed it, but this one did.
Although quite a number of new primary characters are introduced — June and Marcella are awesome: kickass, female, and just as morally dubious as Victor and Eli — we still get to spend lots of time with the originals, with bonus Eli backstory and Sydney’s independent development/arc. So it’s very much still about Eli and Victor, but it’s also very much about Marcella and June and Sydney.
The various plotlines are intertwined just as the characters and their motives are: each affects the others, and all are important. It’s not at all hard to keep up with all the different schemes and quests and endgames floating around because the world and characters are so thoroughly developed that they just make sense, as if it couldn’t be any other way.
One aspect that really got to me was the allusion to toxic, bordering on abusive, relationships. It’s so tempting to write these incidents off as extenuating circumstances and unique context, but fiction doesn’t exist in a vacuum and the connection is too strong to ignore.
All in all, this is a nuanced novel with larger-than-life characters in a fascinating setting, and a very well-told story.