Superhero Syndrome by Caryn Larrinaga
Tess McBray was dying. The Solstice Syndrome had no cure, and she resigned herself to an early grave. But just when she gave up on survival, all her symptoms mysteriously disappeared.
All but one symptom, anyway. Something is wrong with Tess’s hands. They absorb any material they touch, and her skin turns to wood, or steel, or concrete. It doesn’t take this comic-book obsessed 21-year-old long to figure out what’s going on: somehow, she’s developed super powers. And she’s not the only one; across the country, people are coming forward and sharing their gifts with the world. In her own city, where the police are battling a human trafficking operation, a masked vigilante called The Fox is saving lives and stopping criminals.
Tess doesn’t know where she fits into this new, super-powered world. But when people around her start disappearing, she can’t just sit on the sidelines. Teaming up with The Fox to create the world’s first superhero duo might be the only way to rid her city of evil and save the people she loves most.
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Just for the record, I’m a slow reader. However, I literally flew through these pages. And, that, my friends, made me feel like a superhero.
I absolutely dig the premise of this story and agree that the set-up is ripe for a series. Regular folks embolden with superpowers? And both good and evil people are blessed with them? Oof! Talk about a recipe for chaos. One of the things I enjoyed is Tess’ particular ability. It made me want to read on just to find out what it entailed and how she was going to use it.
Larrinaga teases us along throughout. We have to sleuth together tidbits, often wondering how they will all fit together. Some of these are surprising as we plunge deeper into the story. And there’s tons more to keep our interest—a possible romance brewing is just one example. Also, Tess’ narrative is likeable and witty, yet she’s flawed, which I like. She can be a tad judgmental, but she’s self-deprecating and has a kind heart—which is one of the driving forces compelling her into action throughout. Another of Larrinaga’s writing superpowers: her ability to leave chapters on cliff hangers. I often didn’t want to put the novel down because I had to know what happened next.
The overall feel of this book is one of girl-power, and one that should encourage both genders to stand up and participate in social change, even if we aren’t ‘suffering’ from Superhero Syndrome. The author also asks us to consider accepting others who are different. (I hope to see an expansion on that idea in the sequel!). Issues of domestic violence and human trafficking are also tackled with empathy.
If you’re up for an adventure with a feel-good ending, add this one to your TBR. I, for one, look forward to what Larrinaga does with the next installment.
My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Available on Amazon!