A mark to determine it all: a Hero, a Villain, or nothing–like Kenna, daughter of the late head of the superhero league. Kenna is sick of living life as an extra, and as the only child of Dr. Swift, the superhero league’s most loyal scientist, she has the resources to work on her project–even if it’s not technically approved. She’s determined to make her own place in the world, come hell or high water, or (hot) Villians, or shadowy conspiracies from the Heroes she reveres, or kidnapped teenagers, or friends dating on the dark side, or missing mother, or… you get the idea.
The book is good, and has great potential as part of a series, however, as a standalone, it feels like it could use some work. While Powerless‘s exposition is folded seamlessly into the storytelling, there isn’t quite enough worldbuilding. At the end of the novel, a snippet of the next book in the series reveals some crucial details that the main character would have known (and should have thought of) during her long periods of questioning everything in the first book.
The requisite YA romance is impulsive in a way that is rather out of character for Kenna. It also suffers a bit from the “guy can ignore boundaries if it is to protect the girl, because it is romantic” trope. If the main couple’s relationship is ignored, however, Powerless is an excellent story with a realistic main character (even if the others are somewhat flat), an intriguing (if somewhat rushed) plot, and strong friendships. – Anya W. ’20