And so we embark on another journey into the strange world that is Drew Hayes’ imagination. How this guy can come up with so many different, yet complete universes boggles the mind. This one is similar, on paper at least, to his Super Powereds universe. But it’s very different in some very key ways.
Like in Super Powereds, we have people with abilities. These people are called metahumans, or metas. Metas can be formed in different ways. They can gain powers during an accident or by touching a magical object. They can be born during a special event called a Confluence, or they can just gain powers during one. Alien beings are also known as metas, as are sentient robots. (Robots can sue for their own freedom, which I think is kind of cool.) Or they can be magic users or mad scientists, and probably more I’m not thinking of. Powers are varied, and some can no longer pass as human. (Example – Arachno Bro, who has some spider parts. A literal Spiderman, if you will.) Metas can then be divided into three categories: people who mind their own business and live regular lives, superheros or capes, and villains. Our main character falls into the latter category. Yes, Tori Rivas is a villain, and aligns herself with the Guild of Villainous Reformation. She’s not a bad person, she just has a fluid interpretation of ownership. She actually wants to help people in the long run, but villains look out for themselves and their own first.
Tori Rivas, a young woman with the power of becoming living flame and a knack for building tech, tries to rob the wrong vault. She gets caught by Dr. Mechaniacal, one of the most notorious villains of all time. She is told she has a choice: she can try to join the Guild of Villains, or she can die. Tori is a smart girl, so she goes with option one. One does not simply become a Guild member, however, and so she has to be trained. But Tori is a bit of a shit, so the good Dr. has to convince one of his retired villainous friends to take her on as an apprentice. She eventually gets some fellow apprentices in her ‘class,’ each with their own mentor.
I don’t know what it is about this one, but I’m not completely in love with it like I am with all of Hayes’ other stuff. The story is good and the universe fleshed out, but I’m not automatically reaching for the audiobook first thing when I get in the car. It could be the narrator. I feel kind of bad saying it, but I don’t think I’m as fond of female narrators as I am of male ones. I feel like a man can imitate a female voice better than a female can imitate a male voice. And don’t get me wrong, Amy Landon is doing a great job! There are also some elements that, to me, were lifted from Super Powereds. But there is also a lot that is very different. But the one thing that is definitely the same is that as we get toward the end, Hayes brings the awesome! I do wonder if the whole series will focus on Tori or if it will change to one of the other four. I’m kind of curious to see what the boys are up to all the time…