Review: Holding Out for a Hero, A Superhero Anthology

holding out for a heroTitle: Holding Out for a Hero

Author: Christine Bell, Ella Dane, Tamara Morgan, Nicco Rosso, Adrien-Luc Sanders

Series: N/A

Genre: Scifi/Fantasy/Romance

Received for review from NetGalley

Summary (from Goodreads)

Scarlett Fever, by Christine Bell and Ella Dane

After five years in training, it’s finally time for Scarlett Fever and her fellow superheroes to leave the United Superhero Academy and test their powers out in the real world. There’s only one problem. She’s been assigned to partner with arrogant, by the book, and irritatingly hot, Blade of Justice.

Blade’s whole life has gone according to plan, and he’s more than ready to move on to the big time, protecting a metropolis of his own. But his perfectly ordered life is derailed when he’s teamed up with the fiery maverick, Scarlett Fever.

Sparks fly the moment they arrive in Plunketville, Oklahoma, as they each set out to force the other to request a transfer. They soon discover there’s more going on in this single stop-sign town than blowing up mailboxes and cow tipping. If Scarlett can get Blade to listen to his gut, and he can teach her to use her head, they just might have a fighting chance.

Ironheart, by Nico Rosso

Vince might be hard as steel, but he’s not invincible. Not when iron touches him, especially in the hands of an evil minion. Not when Kara ran away after a whirlwind affair, just when he thought he might be falling in love. And definitely not when she returns, looking for his help.

The archvillain TechHead is coming for Kara and her superhero teammates, and he’s determined to use their combined power to create the ultimate weapon. But Kara can’t fight him alone. She needs Vince’s brutal skill, though being with him means she risks losing her beloved secret identity, leaving her nowhere else to hide.

When TechHead makes a play to capture Kara, Vince has more to lose than just his heart. But he will do anything for the woman he loves, even if it means putting his heart on the line again.

Playing With Fire, by Tamara Morgan

Fiona Nelson has always been one hot ticket—even before she took the conversion serum that gave her superhuman abilities. Fiona’s powers come at a price: lack of human contact, or she won’t be the only thing burning. When she loses control of her emotions, her fire powers run rampant… and she’s hurt enough people already. Including herself.

But when the man behind her conversion returns to blackmail her into helping him gain power, the only person she can turn to is Ian Jones, the man who broke her teenage heart. The man determined to expose the criminal known as Fireball, whose explosive escapades are just a little too close to Fiona’s M.O.

Ian is convinced Fiona’s dangerous, convinced she’s Fireball, and convinced he’ll damn himself if he doesn’t resist a heat that’s always drawn him to Fiona like a moth to a flame—but Ian has his own secrets.

And he’ll learn far too soon what happens when you play with fire.

From the Ashes, by Adrien-Luc Sanders

Sociopath. Killer. Deviant. Monster, devoid of morals, incapable of human emotion. The villain known as Spark has been called that and more, and as a super-powered aberrant has masterminded countless crimes to build his father’s inhuman empire.

Yet to professor Sean Archer, this fearsome creature is only Tobias Rutherford–antisocial graduate researcher, quiet underachiever, and a fascinating puzzle Sean is determined to solve.

One kiss leads to an entanglement that challenges everything Tobias knows about himself, aberrants, and his own capacity to love. But when his father orders him to assassinate a senator, one misstep unravels a knot of political intrigue that places the fate of humans and aberrants alike in Tobias’s hands. As danger mounts and bodies pile deeper, will Tobias succumb to his dark nature and sacrifice Sean–or will he defy his father and rise from the ashes to become a hero in a world of villains?

Review

While this was an enjoyable read, it was really a bit of a mixed bag in terms of quality. Every story was enjoyable but, for me, the last was far and away the best of the bunch. The rating reflects an average, and I’ve given each story a separate rating.

I love a bit of ‘opposites attract’ and Scarlett Fever totally delivered on that front, and though it was fairly obvious who the enemy was, I could forgive that for the steamy chemistry between the major characters and the gradual realisation that they are exactly what each other need to be the best the can be. 3.5/5

Playing with Fire wasn’t a bad story, though as I said, not my favourite. The world set up here, I loved – the idea that people took a drug to give them superpowers, but mostly they turned out to be lame (killing fish etc) was great and love interest Ian was an interesting character. I just felt some of the scenes involving Fiona’s past were a bit cringy, and certain characters I couldn’t see getting along. 3/5

Ironheart was my least favourite of the bunch. It had a lot more explicit sex than the others, though that wasn’t my objection. My biggest problem with it was, unstoppable superhero Vince’s powers were negated by the presence of Iron… which would surely mean he never had superpowers, the amount of iron there is about? He gets shot at, attacked with saws etc and doesn’t notice, but one fire poker and he’s reduced to a regular human. Maybe I’m being overly picky here, but it just grated with me the whole way through. 2.5/5

From the Ashes was by far my favourite, despite my reservations with it being Gay romance. It’s not something I normally read – I read romance to swoon over the main bloke, and I like my main blokes straight. However, this didn’t feature the same levels of rampant, gratuitous sex as some of the other stories – instead portraying a much more tender and emotional love story (interesting, given one of the characters claims to have no emotions) where two men ultimately save each other and the world at the same time. It was a horrible vision of the future, with x-men style ‘superpowered weirdos as the dangerous “other”‘ style mythology, and plenty of interesting stuff going on in the background. But, at its heart it was a truly romantic romance and very enjoyable. 5/5

Rating: 3.5/5

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