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Review: Aether – Molly J. Bragg

Aether - Molly J. Bragg

Genre: Superhero

Reviewer: Lucy

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About The Book

When Maggie Bennett agreed to take a break from her own research to be the test subject in an experiment, all she wanted to do was help her best friend Sierra secure grant funding for the new medical imaging machine she was developing. But when Sierra’s ex-boyfriend Garrett causes an explosion in the lab next door, Maggie finds herself gifted with Superpowers and in the custody of the High Guard, Sun City’s most prominent Superhero Team.

At first, it isn’t bad. The High Guard is helping her learn to use her powers while also working to keep her and Sierra from getting blamed for the explosion. And there’s Varsha, the cute speedster that keeps showing up at her room with homemade ice cream and staying for lesbian movie marathons. But when another series of explosions at the school where Maggie and Sierra work reveal that Garrett didn’t die in the accident that gave Maggie her powers and is part of a plot to reverse engineer banned alien technology with ties to her past, she finds herself pushed into the role of a reluctant Superhero.

Caught in a race against time, Maggie must master her new abilities, and use her skills as a scientist to figure out why Garrett and his accomplices want the technology – and who they intend to sell it to.

The Review

Aether by Molly J. Bragg has pretty much everything I love in a book: romance, great action scenes, a strong sci-fi/fantasy element, topped with the whipped cream and cherry of superheroes. Give me a good origin story, and I am all in. And Molly J. Bragg delivers another excellent superhero story with fabulous characters, a slow burn romance, and bad guys that are just awful enough to hate but not so bad you’ll need therapy afterward. 

Aether begins with Maggie Bennett trudging along, not unhappy, but not really where she wants to be in life. But it’s where she thinks she has to be since being injured during an alien invasion which killed her family and ruined her dreams of being an astronaut. Left with scars, pins in her bones and joints, and a general dislike of superheroes, Maggie is stunned when an explosion in the lab leaves her with superhero-level skills. 

One of the things I love about this author’s work is that her characters are so very realistic, if you totally ignore the superhero powers, of course. They’re flawed, they’re grumpy, and they’ve got lots of issues to work through. But the character growth is one of the best parts of these stories. And there are so many layers to the relationships. There are friends, lovers, coworkers, rivals; these stories have a real plethora of found family relationships. And while there may be insta-attraction, the author makes her characters work for their happily ever after. 

Aether grabbed me from the very first sentence and carried me along to the very end. There were excellent, well-developed characters, a cohesive, fast-moving story, and a very satisfying ending. The third in the Heart of Heroes series, Aether could be read as a standalone. There are enough context clues and references to previous events that a reader could skip the previous books and still enjoy this one. But, it’s a fabulous series and it’s always best to have as much backstory as possible. 

The Reviewer

I’m an avid reader who loves pretty much all genres except math textbooks. As a kid, my parents exposed me to everything from fairies, hobbits, and dragons to the biographies of interesting people around the world, interspersed with poetry, plays, and music. Into adulthood, I spent a lot of years with my nose buried in various textbooks. Now, I read whatever grabs my fancy.

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