The sequel to 2017’s ARSENAL helps to grow the character as well as the world she inhabits, adding complicated layers to her quest to find her missing parents. Read my review of book one here.
At the end of ARSENAL, Amelia had pulled off her mission of joining the Diamondbacks, the official superhero militia of Arizona. Now that she has access to their resources she can start digging through government files on her mission mom and dad.
Right out of the gate, we get big advancements in Amelia’s saga. I think Harry Potter kind of reprogrammed readers to expect a lack of payoff in series books. I kind of figured it would take several volumes to get to this point, but nope, Amelia’s got their location and she goes off half-cocked to find them.
But hey, it can’t be that simple, can it? Of course not! When she rescues them from Evil Science Labs Inc (not its actual name) their memories have been wiped. They don’t even remember that they had a daughter. They’re just doing science slavery for someone super shady.
To add an extra degree of difficulty (and a new element of this world) we find out the Oracle of Delphi is in fact real, and she’s been watching all of the possible outcomes for the world. Thus far the outcomes have been infinite in number, but once Amelia joined the Diamondbacks, the possible outcomes started to reduce. Now there are just two: Amelia succeeds and the world ends, or she quits and everything’s fine.
I dig the stakes. She’s not necessarily a prophesied hero, but she has to quarrel with herself and what she wants, against the fate of the entire world. We all know what the right thing would be on paper, but we’re saying that as readers who have to assess someone else making the choice. The way Haskell writes it, you feel the weight. He takes it seriously. That makes all the difference.
Amelia still has limits despite her accelerated intelligence, and she’s conscious of them. Not only is she navigating the fame of being a Diamondback, she’s also dating Major Force, and she’s never really had a boyfriend before. She’s also never had a friend like Karen “Domino” Petrinelli, another super who feels betrayed when she finds out Amelia didn’t include her in her rescue plans.
The relationships have real considerations behind them. You’re not getting Drunk Genius Tony Stark but you’re also not getting Minority Super-Awesome-You-Go-Girl Riri Williams.
Ours, only the Wardenclyffe Incident in the early 1900s (Tesla) broke the laws of physics and allowed for people to get superpowers.
Not really an issue, there are only legal questions that arise that make the story more interesting.
Mild PG-13, even more mild than an Avengers movie.
Who’s it for?
People who didn’t see Ant-Man 3 because they knew it would suck. Those people were saving their money for Full Metal Superhero and didn’t know it.
Why read it?
Because in the first book, Amelia stated a goal and hadn’t reached it yet. Here, she reaches it, and now she has to deal with new responsibilities leading into the next one. I personally enjoy having a big (finished) series to move through. The books are also very “consumable” in terms of length—you’re not picking up a 500-page monster every time. They’re a nice light treat to consume.
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These reviews have convinced me to get the first book and try it out!