Shades of Night

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.

Rating: ★★★½☆ 

Book Information
  • Author: Jackie Kessler, Caitlin Kittredge
  • Buy from Amazon (UK)

Black and White Giveaway – Results

The Giveaway is now closed and 59 names were placed into a bowl (didn’t have a hat big enough!) My lovely cat Fizz also wanted to ‘help’ but since she has a tendency to run off with scraps of paper, she had to be content with a spare piece.  The Following 7 names were the first to be randomly drawn.

*drum roll*

The winners of Black and White by Jackie Kessler and Caitlin Kittredge are :

Georgina Ball who wants to stop time so she can take a break at work.
Ruth Tesdale who would like to be able to communicate with animals.
Paul Hewison who would like to stop time so he can stop being late.
Jason Bateman who would like to bound continents in a single hop so he can surf.
Allan who wants to fly.
Vanessa who would also like to fly.
Heather Shaw who would love to be a witch.. and zap people!

Congratulations to you all, you have been notified by email and if you could reply to them with your postal addresses, I can get your books sent out.

Thanks to everyone who entered and sorry you didn’t win this time, check back soon as there will be more giveaways coming up!

Thanks to Piatkus who made this one possible!

Black and White by Jackie Kessler & Caitlin Kittredge Book Give-away!

With thanks to Piatkus, I have seven copies of Black and White by Jackie Kessler & Caitlin Kittredge to give away!

You can read my review of this great Superhero book here.

All you have to do to be in with a chance to recieve a copy is post a comment telling me what you would want your superhero power to be!

Winners will be put into a hat and drawn randomly and closing date for this give-away will be 31st March.

I’m afraid due to posting costs, I have to restrict this to UK residents only.

Good luck and hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Black and White

Callie Bradford and Joannie Greene live in a world where Extrahumans not only exist but are sponsored, marketed Superheroes dedicated to saving the world from Supervillains.  Trained from a young age by the Extrahuman Corps they are taught to believe in justice, peace and naturally the Corps way of life.  ‘Iridium’ (aka Callie) and ‘Jet’ (aka Joannie) forge a friendship early on in their training despite having opposite powers of light and shadow.  When Iridium goes rogue and Jet vows to do her duty and bring her in, Jet’s illusions of the Corps are shattered and the truth starts to come out.  Jet and Iridium must decide if friendship will ultimately save or destroy them, and along with them, the rest of the world.

I’ve never really read comics, either as a kid or adult, certainly not the myriad superhero ones out there.  I was aware of Superman, Batman etc but that was mainly through films and media.  Black and White was a truly unique experience for me, a superhero urban fantasy novel that could easily have been a comic book.  The sad thing is, if it had been in comic form,  I would probably never have picked it up and I would have missed out on a great story.  For me in a book, a lot more can be said and allows me to create my own vision of the characters without having the artwork force me down a particular visual path.

I was a little frustrated in the beginning that the perspective changed between characters a lot, and also jumped between time periods.  As a result, I found it jerked me out of the story and hence didn’t engage me at first.  As the book progressed, I realised it was actually very cleverly done, making you re-evaluate the characters constantly as each little piece of their past and present was revealed.

The superheroes and their powers were nicely written; some of the names must have been tongue in cheek, they certainly made me chuckle.  The two main characters of Iridium and Jet were really well done with such different personalities yet also complementing each other.

As a collaboration, I felt it worked well. I couldn’t detect two different styles in the writing and at no point felt that there wasn’t just one voice.

All in all it was an entertaining and enjoyable story about superheroes, their world and two special people within it who are as different as night and day.

This is the first book in the Icarus Project series and it’s certainly left me looking forward to the next one.

Rating: ★★★½☆ 

Book Information
  • Author: Jackie Kessler, Caitlin Kittredge
  • Buy from Amazon (UK)