This book is the story of Jo's bottomless appetite and her insufferable relationship with the guy who spent most of the second book whining for sex. Oh yeah, and something about a rogue evil Agency fellow.
The real hero of this book isn't Jo anymore. It's Jessie, the normal guy hacker who comes up with a way to block the bad guy's access to the supers' plugs. The plugs, installed by the Agency back when the superhero stuff was all a big sham, allow Guardians to easily kill the supers if they don't do as told, and when the bad guy in this book is able to access anyone's plug he's pretty much unstoppable. Until Jessie makes a workaround and they can actually take the guy down without their heads exploding. Jessie barely gets any credit, though.
Lots of pages devoted to eating. LOTS. I like to eat too, but come on.
I found myself literally rolling my eyes every time the main character or her boyfriend/Guardian (and I don't know why he's called her Guardian, since they don't have those anymore... it felt like it was just a way to establish some kind of dominance over her) made yet another sexual innuendo. They are sleeping together. I get it. I don't need to be reminded on just about every page. I swear I have never read so many winks and references to quickies as I did in this book. If people acted like that in real life, the people around them would tell them to shut the hell up already, but everyone just winks and nudges right along with it. It got tedious fast, and became seriously distracting to the story (especially when it was happening during the often life-threatening action).
This book and the second book in this series should have had most of the obnoxious romance tossed out and been compressed into one book. The second book ended abruptly without resolution, and this one wrapped it all up.
There were a lot of issues that really needed to be explored more, like the world's reaction to the existence of aliens, how they would find and deal with new superpowered people, and what's going on with supers in the rest of the world. (And since many countries had similar fake superhero battles, you'd think someone somewhere would have spilled the beans that it was all staged, but apparently not.) There was a perfect opportunity to discuss the power dynamic in the Guardian/super relationship--and how this made Jo's relationship with Mike AND with Hunter seriously problematic (and Peter's referenced but unseen relationship with his former Guardian), but it's just kind of brushed aside and stated that most of them were good and the one in this book is just a bad egg. He wasn't so much a bad egg as he was the natural (if extreme) result of the power situation the Agency had created. You can't give one person the ability to pop another person's head off if they disobey and then say that ANYTHING between them is consensual. It's not. ALL of the supers were being exploited, and I would think that most of them were probably abused in some way, whether overt of subtle, and whether they took it for abuse or not.
And oh yeah, at the end Hunter's Guardian bracelet was released. If the Agency could do that then why didn't they deactivate and release the bad guy's bracelet?
They are still
playing the supers and the supers don't even realize it.
The first book got a pass for the problematicness because there wasn't any time, given what all was going on, to do much more than try to repel the aliens. Bigger fish to fry, fair enough. This book (and the second) don't get that luxury because the villain is a Guardian--a representative of the Agency that essentially enslaved the supers.
Very disappointing. I should have stopped after the first one.