In a world where everyone wears a mask, you can't trust anyone… not even yourself.
Verity Fortune was once Sapphire City’s top crime-fighter, wielding her powers of telekinesis to battle the city’s most despicable villains. Now, she’s consumed by a single burning desire: revenge. Against those who took away her mask, her memory, and nearly her life.
Having escaped from the asylum they left her to rot in, Verity dons her mask once again and becomes the Seeker, a vigilante warrior for truth.
But when she unwittingly uncovers an evil conspiracy deep within her own family, she’s suddenly on the run, alone and hunted by those she thought were on her side…
SCORCHED by Erica Hayes: wherein a young woman by the name of Verity Fortune is a telekinetic Batgirl in a city with a rogues’ gallery to rival Gotham’s. Appropriately nicknamed the Gallery – part mafia, part supervillain cabal – its members wage a never-ending war against the ‘augmented’ Fortunes, who run the multinational Fortune Corp by day, and masquerade at night in various superhero guises. It's Verity who gives this novel its Christopher Nolan-esque grit right from the start, after she escapes an asylum where she was held and tortured for nine months, with a shattered memory and little control over her powers.
What I particularly enjoyed about SCORCHED is that for most of the book, Verity isn’t a hero. She’s not a nice person, driven by a thirst for revenge rather than a sense of duty. Yet, her reasons for being this way are perfectly justified (at least in her mind), rather than simply there as part of an Anti-Hero character trope. She’s not necessarily likeable, but she’s understandable. She’s been brutalized and disfigured, and comes out of the asylum with only one mantra: I’m not a bad person. But as she continually compares herself to her new friend and righteous do-gooder Glimmer, she starts to have her doubts. It doesn't help that she's convinced a member of her family sold her out and went over to the dark side.
Of course, the deep glimpse we get into Verity’s fractured psyche does make it a little hard to believe that certain characters would try so hard to help her, or find themselves so attracted to her. There’s one character in particular who seems to come out of nowhere to form an intense bond with Verity, behind the mask, as it were – but the reveal on that is very good, and very twisted. I did see the biggest twist of the book coming, but I was still eager to get there with Verity – even if she was putting the pieces together a bit slowly. Whether you figure it out or not, there's plenty of adrenaline, which is only a slight problem when the book ends abruptly. It might as well have had the words ‘to be continued,’ printed on the last page, so I doubt this is the last we'll hear of Sapphire City and its heroes.
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