Meet Megaera, Meg for short. She’s like Deadpool, except for funner.
For a girl with the power of fear the recruitment attempts from both sides are never-ending. A self-described not-a-hero, villain-leaning humanoid, Meg just wants to live her life, work her dead-end job and have everyone else (especially the heroes) leave her alone. But when a bigger fish who can turn superpowers back on their users enters the picture and threatens the person Meg loves the most (herself), she must turn to the last group of people she would admit she needs help from.
Forced to team up with the heroes she despises (but won’t murder, because let’s face it, orange is not the new black), Meg will have to face the choices from her past that she won’t get therapy for. Self-centered, snarky, sarcastic and a little bit dramatic, she’s going to have to save the world, even if that wasn’t her intention. And try not to get shot in the process. Because that shit hurts.
It’s hard to lead a normal life when villains and superheroes alike are constantly knocking on your door trying to recruit you. Meg doesn’t want anything to do with any of them, but her ability to control a person’s sense of fear makes her a liability or an asset for either side. But when Meg attracts the attention of a new villain who won’t take no for an answer, she grudgingly has to turn for help from the heroes that she has flipped off more times than she can count. This new villain can turn powers back on people, and it has plans for Meg that don’t require her to be alive.
FEAR AND FURY is an urban fantasy superhero adventure that blends action, romance, and a splash of darkness into a diverting bite-sized adventure. It’s set in a slightly adjacent world from our own, where powered people have existed from the time of Greek heroes, rising and falling in prevalence for no reason anybody can track. You’ll find some obvious analogues to superheroes you’re familiar with – Greg aka Fortress is for all intents and purposes Superman, (without the alien heritage), and Vigilante shares quite a bit personality-wise with Batman, though this particular iteration has powers of his own besides impressive deductive reasoning.
Beyond that, however, the author has set up her own version of powered existence. Most heroes work for various governments, for instance, with secure penthouses to keep them safe, at the cost of having to deal with governmental bureaucracy. We only get a peek at how this works in practice, but it was enough to make me curious to see it explored further in future installations. For now, FEAR AND FURY is a fairly small story in one corner of the universe, making it a more intimate adventure. I didn’t mind that at all, as it kept the stakes more personal and less world-ending.
What drew me in initially to the story was the voice of Meg, who is a thoroughly sarcastic individual with a healthy sense of self-preservation above all else. The story is first person and Meg frequently addresses the reader as she introduces them to this new world and walks through her thoughts. This POV is going to make or break whether this book is for you. Some may find Meg’s quip-a-minute banter grating, especially in the beginning of the book when Meg is mostly on her own and only has her internal monologue to work things through. But as the story progresses and Meg starts interacting more with other characters, the book finds a better rhythm, and the writing doesn’t feel quite so frenetic.
But what grounds the book is that underneath all the sarcasm, Meg is dealing with some real guilt over her past. Growing up, Meg had less than perfect control of her abilities, which had dire consequences for those around her. (Now is a good time to note that FEAR AND FURY has a dark streak that readers should be aware of going in. Meg’s powers have a tendency to drive people to desperate actions, and the shadow entities that protect her can be a bit…zealous in their defense. There’s occasional splashes of fairly violent imagery that might not be everyone’s cup of tea.) Meg generally doesn’t want to hurt people, but if her life is on the line, she has no problem letting loose. It’s a balance of “goodness” and ruthlessness (and occasionally selfishness) that was intriguing to watch.
Action isn’t the only thing keeping FEAR AND FURY going. There’s a romance subplot that I enjoyed watching slowly blossom over time. It’s not the easiest of relationships, as both parties involved have secrets they want to keep, but I appreciated it wasn’t a simple head-over-heels relationship. It’s also balanced by Meg continually demanding equality and respect in the relationship. She’s not going to be a damsel in distress and treated like a fragile thing.
Clocking in at under 200 pages, FEAR AND FURY is a great popcorn read, a complete story with plenty of hooks left open for a sequel. I thoroughly enjoyed my time with Meg and hope there’s more adventures in her future!
Note: I was provided a free review copy by the author in exchange for my fair and honest review.
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