In a sequel to his first novel (The Liminal People, 2012), Jama-Everett offers a story about a scrappy group of people with superpowers who careen through a criminal underground, the space-time continuum, and frequently outrageous battles to rescue a young woman who's gone missing.
Taggert, a former criminal, can “read bodies” and manipulate them on a molecular level. He's lying low in London, working a shadowy business of healing people with terminal diseases and keeping an eye on his teenage daughter, Tamara, and adopted daughter, Prentis. Both Tamara and Prentis are also “liminals”—people with supernatural abilities—and survivors of Taggert’s criminal past. When Prentis vanishes from the planet, invisible even to Tamara’s powerful telepathy, Taggert and Tamara set out to look for her. They find themselves thrown into alliances with legendary musicians and the worshipers of a strange god and pitted against viciously ruthless nonhuman entities called “alters.” The plot moves swiftly, cramming incident after incident into a novel that seems surprisingly slim for this breed of action-adventure, and while the speed and lack of cumbersome worldbuilding is refreshing, certain elements (including giant praying mantises, a ghost ship, and time travel) feel like sketches that would have benefited from more generous exploration. The characters are refreshingly diverse, however, and the novel digs into the perspectives of the members of its multiracial cast in a way that encourages the reader to question the homogeneity of many stories that give characters the world-altering gift of superpowers.
An engaging sequel that sets its likable cast of characters against a fast-paced sequence of dangers while making an admirable effort to offer a more diverse vision of the superpower narrative.