Bona Fides (MI-X Series 1) by Ash B. Whitley

Stars: 2 out of 5.

DNF at 50%.

The blurb for this book sounded very interesting: a child prodigy stuck in a sort of parallel dimension where she can see and hear what’s going on on our plane of existence, but not interact with anything. Her fight to get back into our world and prove that her father is innocent of her murder. Sounds like a wonderful story, doesn’t it? That’s why I picked that book up. 

Unfortunately, the blurb is misleading. Oh, Rowyn is stuck in a parallel dimension, alright, watching helplessly as her father is convicted of her murder. However, this situation is resolved within the first four chapters of the book, and without much effort on her part, I must add. What happens after that is a story about a group of super-powered young adults who are trying to save the world against a big bad with super powers. Some reviewers drew a parallel with X-Men, and I can see where they come from. 

And I would have stayed for this X-Men like adventure, even if that was not what I was expecting when I picked up the book, but the characters were simply not interesting enough. Their POVs feel “rough”, like the author tried too hard to give them distinctive quirks to make them more memorable. Well, their “voices” sound stilled and unnatural instead. I saw their individual powers, but I never saw the actuals individuals behind those powers.  I think it was also party because the author chose to tell us a lot of things instead of showing them. So we are told that Alexia hates her powers and that they make her toxic to everyone around them, but I don’t see that turmoil in her POVs. 

The problem also lies in the story itself, or, more precisely, it’s execution. There are way to many plot holes and deus ex machina moments. The whole team seems rather ineffective and bumbling through their missions on sheer luck and because the author needs them to succeed. I mean, just because Hakim has a brain that is better than a super computer, it doesn’t make him a good leader. There is a lot more to leading a team of troubled super-powered people than smarts. Empathy goes a long way as well. 

And that’s what this book lacks – empathy. Horrible things happen to characters, but it’s never addressed afterwards. We never see the emotional fallout of Rowyn’s father suicide, for example. It’s just assumed that these people will brush this off an continue like nothing happened. As if having a super power makes them immune to psychological trauma. 

So I left this book disappointed, even though I might have enjoyed it better if the blurb had prepared me for what it really was – a thriller with superheroes, instead of a mystery about a girl stuck out of sync with our plane of existence and desperately trying to get back to it.

PS: I received and advanced copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

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