Title: Hidden Powers
Series: Superordinary Society #1
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Reese Dante
Publication Date: March 12, 2019
Length: 278 pages
Reviewed by Sammy
Jazz Vanessen is weird—and not just because he’s a werewolf. For most of his life, he’s felt different from his alpha male brothers and friends. Since he’s adopted, he can’t even blame it on family.
Now eighteen, Jazz meets his idol, the social activist Lysandra Mason, and her breathtaking nephew, Dash Mercury. When Dash is around, even stranger things start to happen, including Jazz falling hopelessly in lust. Not only is Jazz having visions, making people disappear, and somehow turning invisible, but somebody’s following him and threatening to reveal his pack’s secrets to the world.
Together with Dash and Jazz’s equally amazing friends—Carla, BeBop, Khadija, and Fatima—they discover the danger is even more lethal than they thought, and Jazz’s weirdness may save all their lives.
Jazz is on the cusp of adulthood in more ways than one. It’s the summer before he starts university and an internship at his grandfather’s company brings both new friends and a dangerous enemy who is set on bringing Jazz into his nefarious world. But Jazz has more than that to contend with when he begins to realize that the weirdness he has felt for some time now brings with it powers most alpha wolves would never have. Now he and friends must not only fight the enemy who is threatening to bring down the wolf community but try and discover just how powerful Jazz can really be.
Hidden Powers by Tara Lain follows a group of unusual teens as they find kinship with each other while trying to keep their secrets hidden. There is some real power lurking in this small group and they are determined to use it to promote good and bring down whoever it is that wants to hurt Jazz’s family. The story here is actually incredibly well crafted. After a bit of an information dump in the first few chapters that left me a bit confused, I realized that this story was using another series by Tara Lain as the basis from which to create this YA one. I will tell you that more than once the author tended to give a huge amount of backstory on several family members in just a few pages which meant if you hadn’t read the other series you were pretty much at a loss to understand what she was talking about. However, once we moved past the first ten to fourteen percent of this novel it was as if a whole other story started to unfold and it was a really fascinating one.
I loved Jazz and all the rest of the superordinary team as they dubbed themselves. They each had their own bit of backstory that we got just a hint of in this first book. I am very interested in learning more about Khadija and BeBop, in particular, as they seem to be the most secretive of the group as regards their powers and their backgrounds. I felt the author gave some very authentic voices to these young adults and I thought their interactions with each other felt genuine. That’s not easy to do particularly when writing older teen-aged heroes. But their moments together felt so easy and fresh that I have to give credit to this author for creating such wonderfully realistic characters despite them all having some pretty special powers.
The underlying menace that turned out to be a really nasty bad guy in this story was also spot on and I loved how Jazz’s inner wolf gives us a potential bit of foreshadowing for subsequent books after Jazz and the team managed to take the enemy out of the picture. It was as if the author was reminding us that while this guy may seem down he was not necessarily out of the picture for good. Given that the end of this novel is not necessarily a happy ever after but more of a happy for now one can expect more troubles ahead for this dynamic group.
I do think the author could have forgone all the backstory as to how Jazz’s pack came to be at the beginning of this novel, particularly since we had to learn who each member was and how they either were mated to each other or fit into the family. It really didn’t add to the novel overall nor did I feel it was necessary to our enjoying or understanding the story. Instead I wish there had been a bit more backstory on how Jazz and Carla had essentially grown up together and how they got to be so close as friends. Since the kids were the focus of the bulk of this novel I think more time invested in their relationship and how it evolved would have been beneficial to the story overall.
Hidden Powers was a solid start to what could turn out to be a great young adult superhero series. With different types of supernatural beings on the team, as well as a few humans, this story arc has great potential to see this gang taking on all kinds of baddies. I look forward to seeing this series develop and will be eagerly awaiting the next book.
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