Flash Fire (The Extraordinaries #2) by TJ Klune Book Review

Author Information

TJ KLUNE is a Lambda Literary Award-winning author (Into This River I Drown) and an ex-claims examiner for an insurance company. His novels include The House in the Cerulean Sea and The Extraordinaries. Being queer himself, TJ believes it’s important—now more than ever—to have accurate, positive, queer representation in stories. 

Book Description

Flash Fire is the explosive sequel to The Extraordinaries by USA Today bestselling author TJ Klune!

Nick landed himself the superhero boyfriend of his dreams, but with new heroes arriving in Nova City it’s up to Nick and his friends to determine who is virtuous and who is villainous. Which is a lot to handle for a guy who just wants to finish his self-insert bakery AU fanfic.

Review

Thank you to Netgalley, Macmillan, and Tor-Forge for an advanced reader’s copy of the book in exchange for my review.

Thoughts and Themes: I really enjoyed book 1 so I was so happy to get a chance to read this one and this book did not disappoint. I rarely read series as they come out because I don’t feel the need to read the next book as soon as it comes out but this was one of those that I had to know what happens now.

It is quite difficult to provide you all with a review without ruining book 1 so if you haven’t read that book yet, go do that before you continue reading this review.

I love the way Nick finds out about certain things in this book, I also like the way he responds to the things that he finds out. It’s like his whole life is unraveling before his eyes and as he thinks he has it all together it only unravels some more. The way this is done kept me reading even when I guessed where the story was going.

Something that I was really hoping was going to change with this book or at least be brought up was the amount of police admiring went on in the first book. I am glad that this book did begin the conversation about police brutality especially as Nick’s dad did beat up a man. While I was quite upset that Gibby and her family were the ones to bring up the conversation, I am glad that it did happen. I also liked how we do see Nick struggle with what it means for his dad to be a cop and begin to ask questions rather than just having it be fact.

Characters: The characters in this book, Nick, Seth, Gibby, and Jazz are just as great as they were in book 1. I just love how they formed a found family and watching as how their relationships develop through the course of this book. I really like how we get brief glimpses of each of their parents and see how those relationships are developed as well.

I liked getting to see Nick and his dad’s relationship develop throughout the course of this book, both as he questions his dad being a cop and also questions his dad keeping things from him. I liked getting to see how their relationship changed throughout time and I just like how casual they are with each other. It very much is a teenage child and parental relationship which is funny at times.

Writing Style: This story is written in third person through the perspective of the main character, Nick. I like that the story is told in third person because you get a glimpse at what the others are doing but you don’t know what’s going on unless Nick is around. I like getting things through Nick’s perspective because it feels like things are all over the place the whole time so you are for sure inside his head.

A Neon Darkness Book Review

Thank you to Netgalley and Tor Teen for an advanced copy of this book in exchange for my review.

Author Information

Lauren Shippen is a writer most known for her work in fiction podcasts. She was the creator and sole writer of the popular audio drama The Bright Sessions, which ran from 2015 to 2018. She went on to executive produce The AM Archives and co-produce Passenger List before founding Atypical Artists, a company dedicated to audio storytelling. Most recently, she wrote MARVELS, an audio adaptation of the popular comic, set for release later this year by Marvel and Stitcher.

Lauren was named one of Forbes 2018 30 Under 30 in Media and one of MovieMaker Magazine and Austin Film Festival’s 25 Screenwriters to Watch. Her first novel, The Infinite Noise, will be released through Tor Teen in September 2019. Shippen grew up in New York, where she spent most of her youth reading and going to Panic! at the Disco shows. She now lives in Los Angeles, where she does the same thing.

Book Description

The second Bright Sessions novel from creator Lauren Shippen that asks: “What if the X-Men, instead of becoming superheroes, decided to spend some time in therapy?”

Los Angeles, 2006. Eighteen-year-old Robert Gorham arrives in L.A. amid the desert heat and the soft buzz of neon. He came alone with one goal: he wants to see the ocean. And Robert always gets what he wants.

At a very young age, Robert discovered he had the unusual ability to make those close to him want whatever he wants. He wanted dessert instead of dinner? His mother served it. He wanted his Frisbee back? His father walked off the roof to bring it to him faster. He wanted to be alone? They both disappeared. Forever.

But things will be different in L.A. He meets a group of strange friends who could help him. Friends who can do things like produce flames without flint, conduct electricity with their hands, and see visions of the past. They call themselves Unusuals and finally, finally, Robert belongs.

When a tall figure, immune to their powers, discovers them, the first family that Robert has ever wanted is at risk of being destroyed. The only way to keep them
all together is to get his powers under control.

But control is a sacrifice he might not be willing to make.

A Neon Darkness is the origin story of Damien and the second stand-alone story
in the Bright Sessions Novels.

Review

Thoughts and Themes: There are so many things that I love about this book and the main thing is the narrator of the story. The narrator makes the story really easy to follow and makes it so easy to get caught into the story. I listened to this one while following along with the e-book because I find that this way of listening to audiobooks worst best for me.

I have so much notes on this book that I ran out of space for notes in the page that I was using. Most of these notes are focused on the characters so that I could tell them apart but there is also a lot of notes about the world building. I really enjoyed the back story that you get for each of the characters and how things are slowly elaborated on.

I really like how often they point out to Robert that he is an adult and responsible for his actions. I love how they point out that Robert is a White guy who has power of persuasion and what that means for his friends and everyone else. I really like how Robert just doesn’t get what his powers mean for others and only focuses on how his powers affect him. This is such a frustrating thing but such an important part to this story.

Characters: There are several characters that you get introduced to throughout this book and I actually liked each one of them. I even managed to like Marley who seems to be the character not everyone would like. I was confused about their ages and wondered if they were all within the same age range or not.

I liked the mystery of the bad guy and how we don’t know much about him. I also like how the mystery of each character is kept until the ending chapters. We get a little bit of each person revealed to us through their conversations with each other and as they learn more about themselves and each other.

I was so glad that we got several queer characters in this story and that their queerness is spoken about. I also like the relationships that we are shown throughout this book and the ones that are developed or restored. I liked that we get to see Indah and Neon struggle through establishing their relationship and what they mean to each other. I also like how different each of the characters are from each other and then also seeing their similarities.

“Understanding is like love, you can’t tell someone how to do it” There are so many things in the last few chapters of this book that I really enjoy. I love watching Robert develop and go back and forth with who he is. He makes me so angry because he doesn’t understand how his influence is affecting anyone because he hasn’t used it for bad. He doesn’t understand the problem with using his influence on anyone and it’s so frustrating but I love when his friends speak out against what he’s done to them.

Writing Style: This story is written in first person and told through Robert’s perspective, though there are times when it switches to third person with Indah’s view point or Blaze’s view point. I also listened to this story as an audio book so I’ll also be commenting on the narrator in this section. I thought the narrator was great and easy to listen to. This is one that the voice could’ve changed with each character that was speaking but I was glad that the voices were all similar. It made it so the story flowed better and there were no breaks between characters changing.