Where There’s a Will, by Cari Z
Series: Panopolis, Book 3 (Stand-alone)
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Release Date: May 2, 2016
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Being a Hero in Panopolis means living the high life: parties, money, influence, even reality television. And I’m one of the most powerful Heroes in the city. I have plenty of fans, a manager who looks out for me (after himself), and a job that pays the bills. I should be enjoying myself.
Unfortunately, the downside of my superpower means I can’t touch anyone, which tends to put a damper on things. I probably don’t deserve all those perks anyway, since I’m working in secret with two of Panopolis’s biggest Villains to undermine GenCorp—my main sponsor and the company that controls what gets through my force field.
I obviously don’t trust my corporate overseers, but they’ve hired a new scientist who actually seems interested in helping me. Dr. Mansourian might have the answers to all my questions—not to mention a starring role in most of my dreams—but he’s hiding something big. If I let him have what he wants, I might not live to regret it.
Then again, the way things are going in Panopolis these days, I might not live either way.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book as a gift from my friend Cari (the author), with no expectation of a review. But after devouring it on the three hour flight home from RT16, I realized that I really wanted to share with everyone how much I enjoyed it!
I love superheroes. More than that, I love flawed superheroes who don’t slip into angsty-and-emo territory (I’m lookin’ at you, Batman). Where There’s a Will definitely delivers on that front… I absolutely freaking loved Craig, aka the hero Freight Train. He’s handsome, charming, and literally untouchable, but he’s also so utterly human that I fell in love instantly.
“I’m fine,” I insisted. “I’m not fragile.”
“You’ve been locked away from the world in your force field for almost seven years. I don’t think your reaction was one of fragility; I think it was the most natural, human way you could respond to such a stimulus.”
It’s rare for me to really connect with a first-person narrative. I think that’s because looking inside a character’s head like that either reveals too much (a la exposition for miles) or too little (tell us more about the other characters!). This book strikes the perfect balance, and Craig’s head is a fantastic place to be as a reader.
I did really love the side characters (some of whom appear in the previous books, and whose stories are referenced in this one), but Craig stole my heart. He’s such a brilliant study of contrasts: the selfless hero who selfishly wants to be normal; the good guy who works with the bad guys. And his relationship deepens those contrasts, makes him more three-dimensional.
My only regret is that Craig’s relationship with Dr. Mansourian felt incomplete at the end. I think I would have liked more emotional bonding between them, or maybe something additional to really show the relationship thriving in their HEA. But the way Ari treats Craig throughout the novel, the fact that he’s one of the few people to see Craig as a normal person worthy of love… holy crap, just floored me. Beautiful!
This book is highly recommended, for anyone who loves superheroes, mysteries, shadowy government organizations, or good guys who are truly good guys. (Also, that cover OMG!)
Cari enjoys a wide range of literary genres, from the classics (get ‘im, Ahab) to science fiction and fantasy of all types, to historical fiction and reference materials (no, seriously, there are so many great encyclopedias out there). She writes in a wide range of genres as well, but somehow 90% of what she produces ends up falling into the broad and exciting category of m/m erotica. There’s a sprinkling of f/m and f/f and even m/f/m in her repertoire, but her true love is man love. And there’s a lot of love to go around.
Cari has published short stories, novellas, and novels with numerous print and e-presses, and she also offers up a tremendous amount of free content on Literotica.com, under the name Carizabeth.
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