New Chicago is in chaos after Iridium’s actions led to the Corps brainwashing signal being turned off. Every Extrahuman linked to the corps by the seemingly innocuous earpiece was affected. Some felt free, some went mad and others used the opportunity for their own agendas. With former Superheroes battling humans and Extrahumans alike, it’s up to the few heroes who kept their sanity to try and save the city. With Jet leading the new group, it’s so few against so many, yet even without Corps influence, they are Heroes and still believe in their duty to protect humanity, to bring their former colleagues either to justice or back to the fledgling group forming outside of the Corps influence. Help comes from an unlikely source with Iridium but just as things seem to be getting back in control, one of the worst Supervillains in history somehow escapes from his cell in Blackbird Prison. Doctor Hypnotic, a mental power, turns everyone in his path to unmoving zombielike statues and he is only just getting started. Bitterness and rage at his core, it will test the powers and strengths of every remaining Superhero to bring him down. Will there be a new dawn for New Chicago or will it remain forever in the shadow of night.
Shades of Night is a worthy successor to Black and White. It was good to be back with my favourite characters Jet and Iridium again and see how they cope in such a desperate situation. They don’t disappoint and given how different their personalities are, their interactions understandably start off frosty. However, there is a lovely moment at the end where you learn how Iridium really feels which really touched me. The writing was really succinct and emotional and I really felt their bone weariness at what they were having to do, yet still having the courage and determination to see it through. They are after all, Superheroes.
As in Black and White, the book switches perspective at certain points and also with ‘Then’ and ‘Now’. It’s well done and never gets confusing as to where you are and who you are reading about. You learn a huge amount of history about the Corps and the Icarus Project and really, those sections are what provide the twists for the story.
Jet and Iridium’s backgrounds are fully explored and I really felt for the two main characters as children who really, had no chance of normal lives thanks to the machinations of the Corps and even their parents. I love that they turned out to be the Superheroes they are in spite of it all. After learning her past, it’s no surprise Iridium became as conflicted as she is but she doesn’t hesitate to do what she feels is right. Jet is the one who suffers most I think being less flexible and believing in the Squadron, the Corps and procedure. Admirably, she still managed to pick up the pieces and help save her city.
Just to touch on the Latent Network, I felt this was a great addition and explained much about the way powers work. Not everyone is powerful enough to be in the squadron but that doesn’t mean they don’t have their talents and I enjoyed seeing them get to work and what they were able to achieve.
All in all, a good, fast paced and exciting read about true Superheroes, Supervillains and those caught in between.