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In the meantime, in the world beyond high school, tension is building between the Talented population and the mainstream. Perceived slights against the alleged personal rights of individuals with superpowers are adding up quickly, and the injured parties are powerful, increasingly vocal, and determined to “fix” society. Suspicions and emotions run hot, and Sebastian must decide where he stands and how much he is willing to risk for his principles.
After Dark by Michael A. DiBaggio and Shell “Presto” DiBaggio is the first book in the East End Irregulars series. In this book, the reader not only meets a cast of compelling characters but also encounters a futuristic dystopia complete with hovercraft, the future’s smartphone, and variant political divisions across the present United States. It is a sufficiently familiar landscape that it is completely relatable with only minor additions slipped casually into the story and often explained in the accompanying glossary. That said, the changes to the world as we know it allow for a more engrossing suspension of disbelief - an incredibly useful tool when supernatural abilities abound.
The story-telling itself is charming. Told in the voices of two teenagers, the reader is allowed to feel their struggles and listen to their thoughts, but the story isn't eclipsed by teenage angst. The primary narrator, Sebastian, is both earnest and humorous, which makes for an enjoyable and entertaining story. On the whole, it is fast-paced and definitely leaves the reader wondering what will happen in the next installment.
I’m happy to give this book 3 out of 4 stars. Think X-Men meets The Incredibles, but in a book. It was quick and entertaining, but I think there is enormous potential for a powerful societal critique coming, in which the characters will have to deeply examine right and wrong, who they are, and how they fit into their society. This is clearly a promising start to what will surely be an excellent adventure.
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