Hearts of Darkness

Author: Andrea Speed

Publisher: DSP Publications

Rating:  5 stars

Buy Links: DSPP & Amazon

Type: Novel

Received from Publisher

 

Blurb:  Kaede Hiyashi is sick and tired of living in the shadow of his father, supervillain Doctor Terror. Brilliant but crazy, Doctor Terror sends his son to Corwyn, California, for reasons Kaede can’t imagine. Sent to accompany and protect him is Ash, a genetically modified supersoldier raised and trained by an infamous death cult.

Corwyn is lousy with superheroes, led by the obnoxious Dark Justice. Kaede finds himself dancing around Dark Justice as he digs into his father’s mysterious business and teaches his socially awkward—but physically lethal—bodyguard to acclimate to “normal” life. Can these two wacky supervillains figure out what Doctor Terror wants them to do, solve the riddle of the villain known as Black Hand, and keep Dark Justice from raining on their bloody parade? The course of love—and world domination—never did run smooth.

 

Review:  Kaede Hiyashi gets a bodyguard, Ash Han. Kaede didn’t really think he needed a bodyguard, but being the son of Doctor Terror, a brilliant but crazy supervillain, can be dangerous. Kaede and Ash end up in Corwyn, CA. Corwyn seems to have a large population of both superheroes and super-villains. They’re everywhere, and they’re interested in Kaede. Kaede realizes he’s attracted to Ash very quickly, but he also knows for all his lethality, Ash is surprisingly innocent and doesn’t always understand interpersonal relationships. As Kaede and Ash get to know each other, they also get to know the heroes and villains of Corwyn.

This book is sweet and funny and full of death. Kaede and Ash are supervillains, there is a lot of death. In between the battles with heroes and other villains, Kaede and Ash are trying to figure out who they are. In some ways this book feels a little New Adult, but mostly these guys are on a journey of self discovery as they find themselves in a battle to the death with over the top and clichéd adversaries. Kaede wrestles with his reason for existence. Is he more than the son of Doctor Terror? Is he more than his father’s creation? For Kaede this question is quite literal. How can you be your own man if you might be a clone?

Moral ambiguity is a large part of this book. Dark Justice is a hero, but he’s a douche-bag. He engages repeatedly in physical intimidation and makes threats against Kaede. Despite being a villain, all Kaede did was move to town. What makes someone a hero or a villain? Is it just a refusal to kill or refusal to steal? Neil Miller has stolen technology despite being a hero. Neil tries to save his sister’s life. Other than Kaede and Ash’s hair, nothing in this book is black and white.

Everyone is the hero of their own story, even when they’re a supervillain. This is definitely a sweet tale of budding romance amidst a personal journey of self discovery and mayhem. I loved every minute of it and want more. Bring on the bad good guys and the good bad guys! I have so many thinky thoughts about this book and want to go on and on, but really I think you should read it. This book is just plain good.

 

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