Book two of YLVA Publishing’s Superheroine Collection, The Power of Mercy by Fiona Zedde continues in the vein of super-powered humanoid identity, but my original impression wasn’t correct. I was under the impression that this would be a continuation of the previous book I had reviewed, Shattered by Lee Winter’s, and that this would be a collaborative effort between the authors. This is not the case. Rather, these books are all superhero themed, without a continuation of worldview. With that out of the way, let’s get into this book.
Mai, the outcast of her family for being “less” super powered than they, finds herself hunting down the killer Absolution, named so for the notes they left at the scene of the crime, asking for pardon from the crimes they committed. When Absolution kills a fellow “Meta” (super-powered entity), Mai is tasked with tracking them down for the safety of all of them. The trick is that the victim is her uncle, a Senator and who has previously made her life miserable. Does she turn the killer over to her family or the Enforcers? That is the crux of this novel.
Now, I am all for shorter novels. I am for telling a story in the least amount of words for the most amount of impact. But while this story has romance and murder, the setup of a superhero world on earth, action, and adventure, there isn’t enough time to get to absorb any of it. It’s jarring to switch from the grit of the superhero world to the sweetness of romance that goes on for many more pages than the original set up. This could have been two 200-page novels, which could fully flesh out relationships, but instead, the novel makes you want more of it, simply so you can follow what is going on. It isn’t bad; it’s just bare.
Mai, who is tasked with finding who murdered her uncle and making the decision between handing the killer over to either the police of her family, hates the man she is tasked to seek justice for. And unfortunately, in culmination with recent news stories out of Alabama regarding certain Senate candidates, this story mirrors life in a way that has made my stomach turn. In another time, a story about the victim of child molestation being tasked with finding his abuser’s killer and balancing mercy, revenge, and family, could be compelling, but in this news cycle, at this very moment, it hurts my heart to read. I wanted to get more into this book. I wanted to find more in it, but at this very salient cultural moment, I wouldn’t have continued reading.
However, I do want to note the positives of this book. The world building isn’t complicated, allowing for the shortness of the novel to shine without being bogged down in fantastical detail. Mai’s relationship with her family is told in a few words but is understood and clear. The budding, fledgling romance between the lead and her love interest is a nice reprieve from the rawness of the criminal investigation.
There are positives to this book. I just wish I hadn’t chosen to review it at this particular point in time. A few months before the allegations came out, I think I would have enjoyed this much more. As readers and reviewer, I get to choose when I read a book. I don’t get to choose what the news is, or what news my friends share on social media. The saturation of stories about assault has made reading a story focused on this theme harder than usual. That isn’t a stain on this novel, but one on our society as a whole.
I hope you will give this book a shot, as it is an interesting view on superhero mythos, family dynamics, revenge and the difficult choice of loyalty to family and the pursuit of justice. I value this story for what it is telling, even though the moment I am reading it in isn’t the right time for me. This book is worth buying and reading if you can separate current reality from fiction.
You can purchase The Power of Mercy by clicking here.