Superpowered teens screw up repeatedly in this crime-caper debut.
The Praevenir vaccine helped protect humanity against the MK plague, but it also left some people “immune”—endowed with one of seven superpowers. When the vaccine and its creator disappeared, those affected became pawns to cops or criminals, potential weapons in an international arms race. Seventeen-year-old Ciere Giba is an illusionist, able to blend in with her surroundings and hide from the human eye; even her name is a disguise, adopted after years spent hiding from the federal government and fleeing from memories of her mother’s tragic death. Ciere’s a low-level criminal, pulling heists for her Fagin-esque father figure, Kit Copperfield, and partying with her rich best friend, Devon Lyre. After two jobs go south, Ciere is on the run again, blackmailed by the Gyr Syndicate, associated with a terrorist organization, hunted by the government and in possession of the vaccine creator’s final secret. Besides bouncing between flashbacks and the present, Ciere shares the narrative with her missing confederate, Daniel Burkhart. Lloyd-Jones relishes the details of criminal undertakings and con jobs but also builds a believable world of haves and have-nots, unaffected and immune. Ciere is likable if not entirely trustworthy, and the outcomes of her slapdash schemes are both entertaining and unpredictable. Readers may also want to check out the Wild Card series edited by George R.R. Martin for a similar take on superpowers.
An action-packed adventure with a charming criminal crew. (Science fiction. 12 & up)