The magically endowed kids introduced in Powerless (2009) have a second go at their power-sucking nemesis in this overstuffed, if high-voltage sequel.
Six months after leaving Herman Plunkett, aka the Shroud, buried beneath a rock slide, ungifted Daniel and his five variously powered friends, self-styled the “Supers of Noble’s Green,” are thrown into a tizzy by the arrival of Theo Plunkett. He is a wealthy, smooth-talking teenager who could well share his mad uncle’s evil tendencies. Furthermore, amid multiple subplots and other complications, hints that the old man might still be alive emerge. These range from disturbing dreams to Daniel’s horrified realization that he can steal away his friends’ powers. More worrisome yet, the Supers have suddenly come under periodic attack by mysterious killer Shades. Readers who haven’t read the opener will flounder, and those who require even weak rationales for the MacGuffins in their thrillers will come away dissatisfied by the multiplicity of unexplained elements and apparent contradictions. Overall though, Cody delivers a series of escalating physical and relational conflicts that culminate in a pulptastic climactic battle and a resolution that hints at sequels set on a much broader stage.
Stronger on action than internal logic, but the central cast’s array of personal foibles and amusingly arbitrary superpowers, along with some eerie adversaries, carry the load. (Fantasy. 11-13)