Rating: 5 stars out of 5 ★★★★★
Panopolis is a city of stark colors, folks. Right or wrong, black or white, no shades of gray here. Panopolis is epic battles and soaring rhetoric on both sides, and dirty secrets buried so deep beneath layers of lies that you’d need a map to know where to start digging. Moral ambiguity is for stories, not real life. At least, that’s what we’re told.
But the best stories, I’ve found, are the ones that aren’t so clear-cut. No spoon feeding you Truth, Justice, and the Heroic Way, or telling you that every Villain was born flawed from the start, not made into that. The best stories are the ones that make you think and leave you wondering. I think Panopolis needs a new caliber of storytellers, folks. Maybe it’s time to find those maps and ready those shovels.
Maybe it’s finally time for a change in the narrative.
Edward Dinges was once a normal guy in a city of Supers. He worked at a bank, had a plain life… then he fell in love with a Villain and found himself imprisoned. Soon, normal was a thing of the past.
Though he’s been working to harness his new powers, Edward is still trying to gain control over his life. It helps that Raul is always at his side, but it’s time to step out by himself for his first real job as a villain.
But nothing ever really goes as planned. Soon, Edward finds himself needing to fight for Raul’s life and free him from the hands of a true Super Villain. Whether they make it out alive or not, Panopolis will never be the same.
“You made it back. Not a lot of people do. That makes you interesting, maybe worth forming an alliance with. You need to work on making connections, especially if you don’t love to fight for fighting’s sake.” Vibro sounded tired.
“You don’t like fighting either.”
“I like living,” she corrected me.
So, first off, I want to put it out there that I absolutely loved this. The series is set in such an interesting world that it really pulled me right in from the get-go and I continued to be incredibly interested in it even months after reading the first book. Cari does a brilliant job of building a world that is so unique, but in this book, I really felt it resonated with reality.
I’m not sure if it’s that social justice has been on my mind a lot recently or what, but the way Cari writes about the dichotomy in the city, pitting two sides against each other, having this large body of power that rules over everyone and manages to cast aside the undesirables… the book takes massive and frustrating issues and puts it into an abstract and easily digestible manner. What do I mean with that? I mean people can turn their face to the real world and it’s social justice, but if you really read this, you’ll find yourself feeling everything the SuperTruther conveys and not even realizing how much Panopolis resembles the world just outside your door.
Now, onto the characters. Edward continues to grow on me. At first, I felt like he was just as boring as he projected himself to be, but in the first book we got to see his evolution when it came to morals. Now he’s crossed that line and is trying to find himself within his new powers.
Raul was a lot less present in this, but I didn’t really mind that, as I think this story is so much more than a romance. Sure, the romance is there, but the story is just front and center, adorned with action and alliances and… okay, just, really great story telling.
And new characters – Vibro is just freaking fantastic. I mean, she has purple hair! On top of that, she seems to have such an interesting personality and I would love to learn more about her and her brother.
I can’t wait for the next book in the series. Cari set us up for a great sequel.
The cover by L.C. Chase is very nice. It fits the previous book well and has a nice punch of color. Additionally, getting to see Edward is a nice treat. Great job.