The year 2020 is halfway over. Or we still have halfway to go, depending on if you’re an optimist or a pessimist. I try to be an optimist, and while 2020 has been a dumpster fire in a lot of ways, I like to think that we can come out of this adversity as better people–and that superheroes can be an inspiration.
The superheroes we love can’t stand by and watch injustice. They’re driven to right wrongs and help people in need. While most of us aren’t faster than a speeding bullet and can’t leap tall buildings in a single bound, there’s plenty of things we can do. We can protest, donate, and petition for racial justice. We can believe survivors and hold abusers accountable. We can demand better protections for the LGBT community. We can listen, learn, and speak up for people who need help.
So whether you’re looking for inspiration or escapism, here’s a roundup of some recent superhero fiction releases that caught my eye. As usual, I haven’t read all of them personally, so please check the samples and reviews before purchasing. Stay safe out there, and happy reading!
The Prodigy: A Supernatural Superhero Academy Series (Aiden Cross: Academy Outcast Book 2)
by Alex Villavasso
I finally learned how to use my powers, and just when things were starting to look up, I was attacked and everything changed.
A student on a Dox-induced rampage ripped through the academy grounds in order to get to me. Dozens were hurt, myself included, but with the help of my friends, I was able to put an end to the chaos.
I barely escaped with my life, and I was happy that it was over, but something’s been different since the attack.
After I recovered, I noticed that my powers are no longer working like they should.
Dr. Kresnik and Mr. Hoover said that everything’s fine, but for some reason, it hurts to channel my energy, and when I summon my flames, it’s barely an ember.
Everyone thinks I’m a hero because of what I did to stop that attack, but I don’t feel like it. I feel a lot of things, but none of them are remotely heroic. If anything, I’m afraid.
Things are changing, and I’d feel a lot better about it if my powers were back in commission. Even at my strongest, I was too weak to win on my own. If something were to happen now when the academy is vulnerable, I wouldn’t stand a chance…and that’s just the thing.
Something is happening. The longer I stay here, the more I can see that things are beginning to shift.
A change is coming, and I need to be prepared for whatever comes my way. We all do, but first, I need to figure out what’s going on with my abilities.
Toga: Arca Book 5
by Karen Diem
Go home, myths , you’re drunk.
After a magical accident, part-time superhero Zita Garcia and her two closest friends wake up stranded in an ancient Greece that could only have existed if all the myths were real and somewhat inebriated.
Unfortunately, they can only leave with help from the locals, not all of whom are friendly. The dryads are downright deadly, and even the normally chatty centaurs aren’t talking. To convince them to assist, Zita and her friends will have to go questing, just like in all the classic fantasy novels. The ones Zita never bothered to read.
If they win, they’ll get the help they need.
If they don’t, they better get used to togas.
Toga is the fifth in the Arca superhero urban fantasy series and includes deliberate historical inaccuracies, immoderate language, lame sexual innuendo, and comic book violence.
Absolute Power: A Superhero Adventure (The Pantheon Saga Book 5)
by C.C Ekeke
Does power truly corrupt?
Or attract the already corrupted?
Three months since his debut, Aegis aka Hugo Malalou is becoming one of America’s most popular superheroes. But between protecting the city of San Miguel, surviving high school and maintaining some degree of a social life—he’s stretched very thin.
Worse, monstrous new threats and old enemies attack Aegis from all corners. Can he rise to the challenge? Or will the Shield of Justice be broken?
On the other side of the country, Greyson Hirsch remains committed to destroying this new generation of heroes. And his latest target, a young team of idealistic crusaders, is blind to the storm hurtling their way. All the while, Greyson’s obsession with a certain superhero from San Miguel deepens.
Aegis and Greyson’s paths are on a collision course that will alter the fate of the world. Choose your side in Absolute Power, Book 5 of the best-selling Pantheon Saga.
Magnificent: A Superhero Novella
by Novae Caelum
The world wants me to be a “normal” hero, but I’m genderqueer, and I’m never going to fit into their molds. So how do you save the world when you’re just trying to figure out who you are?
Having a superpowered family is hard. My dad’s a famous superhero and my mom used to be a villain. Toss in my older sister who loves showing off her powers almost as much as she loves boys and you basically have my life: far from ordinary.
All I ever wanted to do was fly with my family and help save the world. But I didn’t get my own powers until bullies cornered me for not acting like the girl they thought I was and I had to defend myself. Having a secret identity is hard, but there’s more than one kind of mask, and I can’t wear my masks much longer. I’ll soon find out if the world’s ready for a genderqueer hero.
Magnificent is a nonbinary transgender superhero novella with lots of heart, big issues, a bit of snark, and a happy, triumphant ending.
Storm Shattered (The Darkest Storm Book 3)
by Patrick Dugan
In a world where everyone is against you, is any place truly safe?
Against all odds, Tommy Ward survived the Darkest Storm and its aftermath but his biggest challenge announces itself with the blare of a siren. Now, the team is in a race against time to destroy the planet-threatening ray responsible for the deaths of billions of people before the Protectorate can use it to eliminate the Gifted once and for all.
To save humanity, Tommy and his team of outcasts must travel the Earth from Cairo to San Francisco, Boston to Tokyo, and fight the Brotherhood, the Syndicate, and the Reclaimers for control of the weapon that could end life on Earth.
Bonds will break, alliances will be tested, and secrets will be revealed as the fate of Tommy and everyone he loves hangs in the balance.
Storm Shattered is the explosive conclusion to The Darkest Storm trilogy that began with the award-winning Storm Forged.
Silver and Gold (Red and Black Book 3)
by Nancy O’Toole Meservier
Dawn doesn’t remember how she received her superpowers. She just knows enough to be scared. But with her brother in danger, Dawn will have to face her fears, reliving every single one of her forgotten memories.
As Dawn focuses on the past, Alex remains in the present. Accompanied by surprising allies, he pours through the facility where Dawn was held against her will. The results are disturbing, as are the changes taking place within him. Because Alex’s powers are evolving in ways that he cannot understand. Or control.
Dawn is done running away from her past, but will she and Alex be prepared for what the future holds?
Silver and Gold is the third book in the Red and Black series
Empowered: Hero (The Empowered Book 5)
by Dale Ivan Smith
What happens when millions of people suddenly possess superpowers?
Mathilda Brandt thought she’d protected her family and freed the world, instead she’s unleashed forces that threaten to destroy both. She rescued her Empowered mother from RAMPART, but now her mother wants Mat to choose sides– Empowered over normal humans.
Her sister Ava is missing. Governments begin rounding up the newly Empowered, while other Empowered want to end the threat from normals once and for all.
With her own power suddenly erratic, and her connection to Gaia in jeopardy, how can Mat save those she loves and prevent the world from destroying itself?
Empowered: Hero is the fifth and final book in Dale Ivan Smith’s The Empowered series.
Soldiers of Fortune (Just Cause Universe Book 19)
by Ian Thomas Healy
EVERYTHING HAS A PRICE
It was supposed to be a simple job for The Ghost, a 300-year-old unkillable mercenary: interrupt a prisoner transfer and deliver the prisoner to those footing the bill. Jingshen had done jobs like it thousands of times.
But this time, it all goes wrong.
TRUST NO ONE
He was supposed to deliver Zoe, a young woman with a devastating power. But after centuries of doing dirty work for money, he decides it’s time to regain his lost humanity. They go on the run, hunted by superpowered mercenaries, and The Ghost will need every shred of his experience to keep Zoe alive and safe from a life of medical experimentation.
The Good Will Tour: A Menopausal Superhero Novella
by Samantha Bryant
Hero life is not all fistfights and mad scientists. Even superheroes need good press, especially when the world hasn’t decided whether superpowers are a blessing or…something else.
Flygirl and Fuerte’s next stop on the Unusual Cases Unit’s Good Will Tour is Springfield Women’s Hospital, a place close to Flygirl’s heart and a place redefined for Fuerte by his change. Autographs and gladhanding ought to be a cakewalk.
But when Evelyn Mueller arrives, the PR tour gets quite a shake up. Pushed to the limit by her wife’s cancer diagnosis and denial of experimental treatment, Evelyn shoves back. Will Evelyn find the hero she needs, even if it’s not the one she expected?
This between-the novels episode takes place between Change of Life and Face the Change.
Have you read any of these novels? Know of any good new superhero fiction I missed? Let me know in the comments!
Wishing you all the best for the second half of 2020.