Despite Orbit putting it directly in the email I was sent, I didn’t realize this was book two in a series. Thankfully, in the end, it didn’t matter. It feels like it was deliberately written so you can just waltz into book two and understand what’s going on. That said, there are a ton of spoilers for book one, including major plot points, character deaths, and other things that might ruin your enjoyment if you intend on reading the first one. I personally don’t give a shit about spoilers, so all it did was intrigue me about perhaps going backward and reading The Girl Who Can Move Sh*t With Her Mind.
This is a story about a woman living in LA who happens to have psychokinetic powers, works for a secret government agency, and has to try and save the world.
Teagan is able to move inorganic matter with her mind like metal and plastic, but she has no grip on organic things like trees or the earth. It turns out there’s a four-year-old kid who is her opposite, he can move organic shit with his mind. He’s also cruel and psychotic. That sounds strange to say about a toddler, but he definitely is one of the least likable POVs I’ve read in a long time. He enjoys watching people hurt, he wants to hear them scream and cry. He likes burying people and killing them via suffocation, he pummels dirt into people’s mouths choking them to death. He’s evil. He has no attachment to his mother, he uses and abuses her to get what he wants. He sets off earthquakes on purpose just to watch the world burn. He’s also a super-genius, he’s not a regular four-year-old which made him even less relatable and unsympathetic as a character.
It’s up to Teagan and her team to find this kid before he sets off an earthquake that could be “The Big One” and cause untold destruction all across California, Oregon, and Washington.
I had a hard time liking Teagan, she wasn’t a bad person but she’s definitely self-centered and a little rough around the edges. I would absolutely love doing all the things that the people around her suggested she do – go up in space and mess around with probes and space station stuff. Help people after natural disasters by finding those buried under rubble. There are lots of ways Teagan could help out humanity, but what she wants to do is cook good food. She wants to be a professional chef and doesn’t have much interest at all with using her powers in any paradigm-shifting way. The thing of it is, if the government had it their way, Teagan would be locked away and subjected to intense, involuntary experimentation. The one thing standing in the way of that is the little group she works for keeping her busy helping out the government take down bad guys. Without their protection, she would have to go on the run. This little group that’s protecting her needs her undivided attention to bring down the bad guys, so opening up a cafe is out of the question for Teagan, and she’s a little bitter about it all.
This is a very light and breezy book, I got through it almost in a day, and if I wasn’t so busy it would have been a read-in-one-sitting kind of book. I’m not sure how well some of these jokes and references will age. There are references to things like the last season of Game of Thrones and how everyone hates it, current tv shows and music, and also mentions Donald Trump. I don’t tend to enjoy references when there are too many of them, but that’s a personal taste kind of thing. This has a readability quality to it that makes it super accessible. It doesn’t require learning about a whole fantasy culture’s government, or religion, or magic systems. The magic system here is familiar, as is the world. You can fall right into it and plow through until the end.
This won’t be for people who don’t like crude jokes, language, or references, either. Honestly, some of this felt like it was just said for the shock value. One of the characters threatened to blackmail another character with the fact he was watching bukkake porn in the cafeteria. It just felt a little shoehorned in made to raise the eyebrows of the reader. In this scenario the world was tearing itself apart, there are hundreds of thousands dead after an earthquake, the survivors are all scrabbling to try and make sense of what happened… who cares that some dude was watching porn and where? I’m not offended, it just felt like things like that were too random to make sense and it didn’t strike me as compelling blackmail material.
This was a fast-paced, action-packed, crude, wild ride of urban fantasy adventure. I think this could have a lot of appeal to the right audience, but I’m not sure if I was the target audience or not. On paper, it sounds like it would work well for me, but I think the fact that I never warmed up to Teagan made this difficult for me to enjoy fully. This was a well-written book that just wasn’t for me.
- Plot: 12/15
- Characters: 13/15
- World Building: 12/15
- Writing: 13/15
- Pacing: 13/15
- Originality: 11/15
- Personal Enjoyment: 6/10
Final Score: 80/100 or 4/5 stars on Goodreads.