“Ten years after every superhuman vanished from the face of the Earth, a new generation of heroes has emerged. Endowed with unimaginable powers, these young crime fighters are suiting up and taking on London’s worst. But heroes become targets when the secret identities of Colin, Renata, and Danny are mysteriously leaked to the press. With their names and faces on every TV channel and newspaper around the world, the trio takes refuge at a secret military installation that houses and trains a new crop of superhumans. Together, the three friends join the team as a new threat surfaces in America’s heartland–one that will pit heroes against the innocents they’re trying to protect, and every action will bring Quantum’s dark prophecy closer to fulfillment…“
I’ve come to terms with the first book. It was mentioned by Stephanie (of Read in a Single Sitting) in the comments that, and I quote, “there really needs to be a strong differentiator–or at least a great villain.” And that’s exactly what I had a problem with in the first book: the lack of a great villain.
My guess is, that the idea of a villain was kept vague to protect the twist at the end of the first story. And that’s why it was hard to feel the tension, the fear for our superpowered protagonists. Because even without any knowledge of what they’re up against, in a world without supervillains, there really wasn’t anything to fear. And I don’t subscribe to the idea that something kept vaguely powerful can be scary. . . Well, I can. But you have to at least show glimpses of this powerful and scary thing. For proof.
But we’re done talking about Quantum Prophecy: The Awakening. And I’m thankful that my main problem with the first story was no longer present in The Gathering, the second book in the series.
Things start happening at breakneck speed in the first part of the book. We are quickly introduced to the new threat: the Trutopians. We are presented a new dynamic in the form of new superhumans–and the leaked identities that forces our protagonists into hiding. And, we have a great character dilemma for Danny, the depowered superhuman, when he realizes that the vision he had in the first story coincides perfectly with the prophecy Quantum gave.
If the first book held back for the sake of the twists, the second book had no qualms about making revelations–and effectively upping the stakes for our protagonists, because we are made aware of what they are up against. And we know that they might not survive a confrontation with their enemy.
Also, I love smart villains. Especially when our heroes are no couch potatoes either. You can see the gears moving on both sides, and as a reader, you are made to expect that when things come to a head, it will not disappoint. And it doesn’t.
One other thing I liked about The Gathering? The way it handles the repercussions of the characters’ actions. Or inaction, as the case is for a certain returning villain. I’m not claiming to be a well-read person, but I have read quite a number of books. And most of the books I read gloss over the cause-and-effects when they no longer need a certain plot point. I like how in the Quantum Prophecy, these actions actually come back to bite them in the … backside.
The book’s not perfect though. Equalling the number of good uses of foreshadowing, we also have cases of getting results before flashing back to what spurned on an action. But I’ll delve deeper into that in my reaction for the third book: The Reckoning.