Reviewed by May
“… I also happen to be a superhero fan. A true fan. One who knows her heroes and villains forwards and backwards. Which means that I never, ever go home with guys who don’t know their basic facts.”
Still broken-hearted over her break from Kyle Quicke (aka Swifte) Piper the super fan with no super powers of her own heads to the hero/villain themed Valentine’s dance to continue to try to move on with her life. The successful right hand of fashion designer/superhero Fiona Fine, Piper has a good life full of great friends.
She just doesn’t have the man who has her heart.
Things are about to change as the pair is once again thrust together and she must try to figure out who is trying to kill off and take super powers from the older heroes and villains of her city.
This is a story in Estep’s Big Time series, however like all those that came before it can stand alone. I really enjoyed seeing all of the characters again, and it was nice that Estep chose to have a heroine who is invested enough in the culture to just know who everybody is (so we don’t have to remember). It worked well to help this story stand alone and also for those of us who began reading her so many years ago (when Karma Girl, the first and still my favorite) came out!
The villain aspect is well done here too – what I love about the Big Time series is that Estep finds that sweet spot where there is some strong romance, but there is also good action and campy superhero humor. Those used to her other series – this is much lighter and really a lot of fun.
If I have one complaint it is that the relationship between Kyle and Piper is already done. They are in love, Kyle leaves her “because… reasons”, but then fickle Kyle comes back. The way it was set up all the falling in love is off the page and that always annoys the details and courtship fanatic in me. I want to see that first kiss, that first time holding hands, the tension! I wish that the story had been expanded to a longer format, and we had been given more of a second chance at love/seen the relationship better develop. Heck I would have loved them to break up and then reconcile during the story instead of prior to the start.
As a longtime admirer of the secretive Swifte character, I wanted to like him more in his own story instead of seeing him as a broody emo kind of guy. My complaint aside – I had a lot of fun reading this one and I will always pick up more from Estep when she visits Big Time! This is a feel-good favorite series I’ve read many times.