BooksOfTheMoon

Random Sh*t Flying Through The Air

By Jackson Ford

Rating: 2 stars

Warning: although I try to avoid spoilers in my reviews (or at least hide them), the stuff that is worth talking about in this book is all spoiler, from the second paragraph onwards. The executive summary is that it’s a fast-paced thriller with a likeable protagonist, but has Problems that mean that I’m done with the series.

The biggest problem for me in this book is that it made me want a child to die. Literally – I wanted a four-year old child to be killed. The child in this case is Matthew, the antagonist for our protagonist Teagan and her team, who can not only create earthquakes with his own telekinetic powers, but positively relishes doing so. He is lacking in any empathy whatsoever, has no self-control and hurts people (and kills them) for fun.

And what he wants to do is set off earthquakes. In California. He’s also a genius and after learning about tectonics, he deliberately triggers the San Andreas Fault, and then goes after an even bigger fault called Cascadia (which I’d never heard of, but Wiki says is A Thing). His mother is completely unable to control him – he’s never been told ‘no’ by anyone around him and has, as a result, learned to be sociopathic and compassionless.

Yes, a horrible person – but a four year child. And the author made me want him dead, and be disappointed when Teagan prevented this from happening. And I’m not sure I like that.

Also, is the moral of the series that unless you’re held in indentured servitude by the government, with the threat of vivisection hanging over you, any superpowered person will automatically be awful? Every powered person we’ve encountered so far in the series, other than Teagan (who just wants to be a chef), is a monster – an impression not lessened when we find out about the Director of the “school” that created Matthew right at the end.

Also, Teagan seems to be losing members of her team at the rate of one a book. While Carlos’s betrayal and demise in the first book was well-done, and a good twist, Paul was killed off just to show that Matthew is a Bad Person.

The book was well-written and is a good thriller, in that it keeps you engaged and keeps you turning the page. But I’m not engaged in the world any more at all.

Book details

ISBN: 9780356510460

The Girl Who Could Move Sh*t with Her Mind

By Jackson Ford

Rating: 4 stars

Unlike a lot of reviewers here, I didn’t pick up this book because of the (admittedly rather eye-catching) title. I’d seen a positive review of it in a magazine and was browsing a bookshop looking for something to cheer me up after a visit to the dentist. This caught my eye and I picked it up, and I’m rather glad that I did. It’s a lot of fun. Our protagonist, Teagan Frost, is the eponymous girl, and she’s working for a shady government agency as the only alternative to being vivisected by said government. She’s got a team around her, but as the story goes on, it becomes apparent that everybody in that team has their own secret. She has to navigate that whilst also being framed for a murder that could only be done by someone with her powers. And she’s the only one who can do that… isn’t she?

This book rarely lets up the pace, with almost every one of the (very short) chapters ending on a cliffhanger, urging you on to see what ridiculous situation Teagan has found herself in now. Teagan’s chapters are narrated in the first person, but there is another viewpoint as well, that of Jake – the other psychokinetic[1]. You start off being sympathetic to Jake, who’s had a rough life and doesn’t know where he came from. But you very quickly see him doing horrible things, all to find out more about his history. He displays a complete lack of any empathy and has no self-awareness. I’m very glad that his chapters are in the third person. I don’t think I could bear to spend time closer to him than that.

The team around Teagan get more characterisation than I was expecting in a novel of this nature, although her love-interest doesn’t fare quite as well. Teagan herself has a fun narrative voice and is enjoyable to spend time with. I look forward to reading more of her adventures.

[1] the book always calls it psychokinesis, not telekinesis, even correcting someone who uses the latter term, but never explains the difference; and the Wikipedia article suggests what Teagan does is closer to the latter than the former

Book details

ISBN: 9780356510446
Publisher: Orbit
Year of publication: 2019

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