Release Date: 6/2/15
~ Kenna is tired of being “normal”. The only thing special about her is that she isn’t special at all. Which is frustrating in a world of absolutes. Villains, like the one who killed her father, are bad. Heroes, like her mother and best friend, are good. And Kenna, unlike everyone else around her, is completely ordinary—which she hates.
She’s secretly working on an experiment that will land her a place among the Heroes, but when a Villain saves her life during a break-in at her lab, Kenna discovers there’s a whole lot of grey area when it comes to good and evil and who she can trust…After all…not all strength comes from superpowers.
I’m a fan of both authors so I was quite happy when I was approved by NetGalley for this. Plus, being the superhero geek that I am, I was excited to see what the pairing of Childs and Deebs would create in this genre. While I wasn’t blown away by Powerless, I found it to be an enjoyable beginning to a new series.
As it says in the blurb, Kenna is a normal teen surrounded by people who have superpowers. Her scientist mother has been secretly giving her injections which make her immune to the powers of both heroes and villains. This has come in handy several times, but Kenna still feels disconnected without any real powers of her own. As she’s working in her mother’s lab one night she suddenly finds herself under attack by three Villains, that is until one of them saves her, and she finds out that a group of Heroes are hatching something pretty evil, and the Villains may not be as bad as she’s always been led to believe.
So, here’s what I liked. Kenna’s a great character who more than holds her own even without powers. She’s got a wonderful sense of humor and doesn’t spend a lot of time moping about everything that’s gone wrong in her life. She knows what she wants and isn’t afraid to do what it takes to achieve her goals. She also has no problem in setting aside those plans to do the right thing. Draven, her villainous love interest, opens her eyes to what’s really happening, and some of their interactions are quite explosive. They actually argue quite a bit, but you can still see the chemistry building between them. The secondary characters are fantastic as well, especially Kenna’s loyal best friend Rebel who definitely lives up to her name. This is an action packed story which grabs you from the very first page. The descriptions of everyone’s powers are fascinating which add to the intriguing plot. I also liked the exploration of what makes someone a hero and what makes a villain.
And here’s what didn’t work for me. I was really disappointed with the worldbuilding. It starts off well, but quickly flounders. For example, there’s no real explanation as to why the Villains are so bad. Beyond Kenna’s father being killed by one, there’s not very much information given about their evil deeds. Actually there’s not really any information given regarding either the Villains or the Heroes actions in the outside world. All the attention is spent on the characters and the central plot, but there’s a gaping hole where the background should have been. The whole thing just left me wanting more. I’m greedy like that.
Despite its flaws, I still think Powerless is a worthwhile read. The characters are great and provide quite a few laugh-out-loud moments, and the story is compelling. Hopefully the worldbuilding will be more fully developed in the next book.