Tuesday, September 2, 2014

His Secret Superheroine by Patricia Eimer

The Basics:
His Secret Superheroine by Patricia Eimer
Entangled: Covet
Book One in the St. Louis Superheroes series
Paranormal Romance
Published August 25, 2014
Source: Received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Why I picked up this book:

It looked like fun! Superheroes! Love!  


All kindergarten teacher Peyton Pearson wants is a nice, quiet life. Unfortunately, quiet isn't something she's had a lot of after tainted medicine turns her into a superhero. She's single, and saving the city from criminals—which is increasingly dangerous as the anti-superhero movement in St. Louis gains traction. Then there's her hot next door neighbor who makes her think super-dirty thoughts, and has no idea who she really is. 

Police officer Dylan Wilson is trying to make the world safe by working to unmask all superheroes. When his sexy neighbor, Peyton, is evicted, Dylan offers her his spare room, unknowingly opening his home—and his heart—to the city's most reluctant superhero.
Can love survive when the masks come off?

My thoughts:

His Secret Superheroine was a quick read, and an entertaining one. There's not many superhero/mutant books other there yet, so this felt like a genre (or maybe a niche of urban fantasy?) that's pretty wide open.

There's a slight comic-book feel to the way that the superhero/supervillain concept is played out. I was amused by the idea of boxing people into these roles - it seemed to be done based on their powers? And then they became responsible to separate Councils to justify their actions and be monitored for performance and adherence to the codes of the appropriate group.

The problem that I had here was that the book didn't always embrace the slightly goofy approach. In fact, quite a lot of it treated things in a much more serious and realistic way. The threats to civilians were very real, the potential for impact on, for example, main character Dylan's daughter was very real, the relationship stuff was handled in a not-larger-than-life way. I liked the book when it was goofy, and I loved it when it was serious, but I found that where these two tones lined up was very jarring and awkward. I wish the book had either gone for it and been more, perhaps, chick-lit/rom-com OR had taken a grittier tone overall and made the superheroes and supervillains less comic-book-like.

Also, it must have been 'neighbours with secrets' month at Covet because I read another book immediately before this one that had that same theme. It definitely worked here - I found the romance and sexual chemistry between Dylan and Peyton to be pretty believable. I thought her reasons for keeping the secret of her superpowers were also pretty reasonable.

I thought that the vigilante status of superheroes could have been played up a bit more to amp up the drama between Dylan and Peyton, but there was also this odd conflict there with the whole council and required patrols which seemed like the vigilante business was... kind of condoned? I don't know.

I loved that there are no easy outs when screw-ups happen in this book. Actions speaking louder than words really resonated here, and completely won me over. That the relationship material was all very realistic (more so than in many romances, I think) made me want the rest of the book to share this tone.

Bottom line:

Despite my desire for the book to either embrace goofy or realistic**, I really had a lot of fun reading His Secret Superheroine. I like the superpowers/mutants angle, and I'll be interested to see how it plays out in future St Louis Supheroes novels.

**As I wrote this, I decided that maybe the mix of goofy and realistic was deliberate, in which case that's cool but it didn't quite work for me in terms of a smooth read. Still fun... but... some jarring bits.

4 stars
For fans of superheroes, secrets, romance.

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