All but one symptom, anyway. Something is wrong with Tess’s hands. They absorb any material they touch, and her skin turns to wood, or steel, or concrete. It doesn’t take this comic-book obsessed 21-year-old long to figure out what’s going on: somehow, she’s developed super powers. And she’s not the only one; across the country, people are coming forward and sharing their gifts with the world. In her own city, where the police are battling a human trafficking operation, a masked vigilante called The Fox is saving lives and stopping criminals.
Tess doesn’t know where she fits into this new, super-powered world. But when people around her start disappearing, she can’t just sit on the sidelines. Teaming up with The Fox to create the world’s first superhero duo might be the only way to rid her city of evil and save the people she loves most.
Are you ready for some fun? If so, Caryn Larrinaga’s Superhero Syndrome, the first book in her Solstice Survivors series, is the book for you. This new sci-fi/fantasy novel takes everything people love about comic books and gives readers a brand-new heroine that’s flawed, overly dramatic, and completely relatable. I couldn’t put it down.
Tess McBray is dying when we meet her. She’s also a drama queen. Suffering from a mysterious illness that’s affected a small population of people across the world, she’s been hospitalized for a month and knows she’s on death’s door. When the day of an unheard of winter meteor shower arrives, she checks herself out of the hospital, determined to die out in the open as dozens of stars meet their end in the Earth’s atmosphere. This melodramatic behavior sets the tone for the rest of the book as Tess discovers that the Solstice Syndrome she suffered from and the meteor shower were some sort of catalyst that left her and thousands of others with superhero powers.
I loved how much I could see my 21 year-old self in Tess. She’s impulsive (deciding on a whim to leave her home of 5 years and return home), she’s loyal (she’ll do anything to save her older sister who’s married to a jerk), and have I mentioned she’s dramatic (she’s convinced someone is following her and practically falls on her face in front of a restaurant full of people when she turns to look for him). She impulsively puts herself in danger and doesn’t hesitate to call an asshole an “asshole” when the asshole in question deserves it. And, as she discovers that she’s got a very strange superpower, she slowly works to develop it, even as she starts to mature into a person worthy of wielding it. She’s a great heroine for girls!
Superhero Syndrome is filled with action and excitement as Tess sets her sights on taken down a human trafficking ring. The book had a “film noir” feel to it, the tone reminiscent of Batman’s Gotham City. It’s also easy to see similarities of DC Comics’ The Flash. This is definitely the beginning of a great series that I think will appeal to lovers of comic books and YA fantasy.
4.5 Stars for Superhero Syndrome.
I received a copy of this book in exchange for honest feedback.
Superhero Syndrome was published in September 2017 by Twisted Tree Press.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Caryn Larrinaga is a Basque-American mystery, horror, and urban fantasy writer living in Utah with her husband and cats. Her debut novel Donn’s Hill (March 2017, Immortal Works Press) garnered rave reviews from fans of the cozy mystery and paranormal genres, and her new urban fantasy Superhero Syndrome (September 2017, Twisted Tree Press) will be out this fall. Watching scary movies through split fingers terrified Caryn as a child, and those nightmares inspire her to write now. She lives in a 90-year-old house with a colorful history, and the creaking walls and narrow hallways send her running (never walking) up the stairs from her basement. Exploring her fears through writing makes Caryn feel a little less foolish for wanting a buddy to accompany her into the tool shed.
When her fingers aren’t glued to her laptop keyboard, Caryn also enjoys binge-watching Netflix with her husband, reading, playing video games, and filling up her phone’s flash memory with pictures of her cats. She loves music and plays the bass guitar. Caryn is an active member of the League of Utah Writers and the Utah Chapter of the Horror Writers Association.