Thanks to NetGalley and Tor Teen for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
Release Date: July 13th, 2021
Synopsis: 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.
One thing I need to address before starting my review for Flash Fire is the controversy regarding the decided pro-police slant in the previous book, which many readers understandably took issue with. The most glaring example of this was Nick’s father, Aaron, who’s a police detective. He also punches a witness who was provoking him. You would expect him to be fired, but instead, he’s demoted, and by the end of the book he’s not only promoted, but it’s to a higher position. To be fair, The Extraordinaries was written before the murder of George Floyd, however there had already been numerous instances of well-publicized police misconduct and brutality. After many readers expressed their dismay, Klune addressed this in a letter: https://www.tjklunebooks.com/new-blog/2020/7/29/a-message-about-the-extraordinaries
As you can see, it’s a thoughtful message from an author who obviously cares about his fans. I’ll be honest and say I personally didn’t have a huge issue Aaron, because there were extenuating circumstances concerning the altercation in question, but I can understand why others did. The important thing is that Klune not only personally addressed this, but also portrays the police in this sequel, much more realistically, and not just through Nick’s sixteen-year-old hero-worshipping eyes. Just like in real life, there are good cops, and ones who abuse the power that comes with their badge.
As for the rest of the book, it’s filled with the laugh-out-loud humor, embarrassing yet somehow endearing sexual conversations between Nick and Aaron, and witty dialogue that was found in the previous book. Due to the backdrop of the police, as well as Nick’s discovery of a long hidden family secret regarding himself and his deceased mother, the story also takes a more serious tone. Nick continues to struggle with his ADHD and panic attacks, but with the support of his father, friends, and boyfriend Seth, shows a lot of character growth in this sequel. There are some new Extraordinaries in Nova City, which adds a new layer of excitement and mystery, and Klune skillfully juggles these with a very realistic exploration of four diverse gay teens coming-of-age, in today’s world.The ending is a whopper of a cliffhanger, and has me eagerly awaiting the conclusion to this trilogy.
With Flash Fire, once again Klune has crafted a thoroughly enjoyable tale filled with humor, heartbreak, witty dialogue, and memorable characters. I can’t recommend it or its predecessor highly enough for older teens and adults who are looking for an science fiction read.