*****Please Note***** This blurb is for the third book in the series, even though I am reviewing the series as a whole. The price listed is for the series, not individual books. The first two books ‘Where There’s Smoke’ and ‘Where There’s Fire’ are available in a combined story.
Being a Hero in Panopolis means living the high life: parties, money, influence, even reality television. And I’m one of the most powerful Heroes in the city. I have plenty of fans, a manager who looks out for me (after himself), and a job that pays the bills. I should be enjoying myself.
Unfortunately, the downside of my superpower means I can’t touch anyone, which tends to put a damper on things. I probably don’t deserve all those perks anyway, since I’m working in secret with two of Panopolis’s biggest Villains to undermine GenCorp—my main sponsor and the company that controls what gets through my force field.
I obviously don’t trust my corporate overseers, but they’ve hired a new scientist who actually seems interested in helping me. Dr. Mansourian might have the answers to all my questions—not to mention a starring role in most of my dreams—but he’s hiding something big. If I let him have what he wants, I might not live to regret it.
Then again, the way things are going in Panopolis these days, I might not live either way.
When I was a kid growing up in Cudahy, Wisconsin, I had a passion for comic books. I learned things, was entertained by, and in some cases titillated from the stories in those pages.As I got older, the comics got more grown-up, too. On page violence became more graphic, the stories sometimes delved into topics that might be considered questionable for kids, but still I loved them.
This series by Cari Zee harkens back to those days. The storytelling is tight. The characters are well fleshed out. But….
In the first two books, the protagonists are…wait for it…villains. Yep, that’s right. They’re the ‘bad’ guys. (And I do mean it when I use the quotes, because the lines aren’t always clear.)
We start out with Edward, a mild mannered bank teller who lives in a city filled with good and evil. He’s never really witnessed a super up close, until the day The Mad Bombardier walks into his bank to rob it. Things happen, including the arrival of the greatest hero of the city, Freight Train. When it seems that Freight Train may save the day, Edward makes a decision which will change his life forever, and set him on a path he never thought he would find himself on.
I loved Edward and Raul. I know they’re bad guys, but they’re good bad guys. When an associate of Raul’s tries to hurt Edward, Raul shows him his errors in a rather permanent way. The relationship that develops between these two men is caring and sweet.
Now, in all honesty, I really didn’t like Freight Train in this book. He came across as an obnoxious ass, and I wanted someone to slap the stuffing out of him. And this leads us to book three, ‘Where There’s A Will’.
I bought the series because of the cover for this book. The hero looking skyward, ready to do whatever it takes to save his city. And that’s exactly what Freight Train is. He is the consummate hero, willing to risk it all to keep people safe. He even admits to being a dick about Edward, but he has a good reason. See, Freight Train’s power is he’s got a force field that keeps things from touching him. Including people. He hasn’t felt anyone touch him for seven years. He’s desperate and lonely. And this book puts that on full display. I cannot believe how quickly I came around to realizing he wasn’t the ass I thought he was, but someone who just needed a hug that he wouldn’t even be able to feel.
Cari Z. did a remarkable job with this book. She made me laugh at several points, but then when a tragedy strikes, and Freight Train can’t stop it, she also made me shed a tear for his loss, as well as the fire that is forever extinguished.
If you like superheroes or super villains, pick up this series. It’s a very enjoyable read, and you may even come to regard Freight Train as the greatest hero, willing to give his all, even if he can’t feel the love in return.