Panopolis

Where There's Smoke - Cari Z.

Boy do I get sucked in by a good cover. I was just flipping casually through Negalley’s catalog when I came across that fierce cover of Where There’s Fire. I mean, isn’t it so awesome? The color of the title, the guy in the hoodie, the blue aura around his head…

Then the synopsis is about two Villains who couple up to cause mayhem and madness in Panopolis. I mean, clearly I’m a sucker for Superhero stories, but this just seemed like something that was exactly my thing. Superhero, romance, supernatural powers… Doesn’t it sound spectacular?

First, I didn’t realize when I requested that it was a sequel. I remedied that really fast by grabbing Where There’s Smoke, to get caught up. Second, I didn’t realize that they were novellas. I don’t actually read a lot of novellas. I tend to find that they go too fast for me. I like a little more substance to my books. I perfer when the romance is drawn out a bit, tantalizing me on things to come. I enjoy reading all the clues and the build up to the climax of the story. With novellas everything feels so rushed.

Frankly, both of those reasons for why I’m not normally a short story reader are exactly why these got only 3 stars from me.

In Where There’s Smoke I felt like I didn’t even get to read Raul and Edward’s romance. In chapter 1 they first met, in chapter 2 they had their first date, and by chapter 3 they were already practically living together. I know why it was written this way. It was only 90ish pages, and the author wanted to devote that time to the superhero/villain portion of the story. Except even that felt rushed too, because there just wasn’t enough time.

Where There’s Fire was only marginally better at 115ish pages. At this point Raul and Edward are already romantically established and the word count was mostly devoted to the plot, and it did make the read feel less rushed, but I was still a bit disgruntled by the figurative whiplash from the former installment.

The plot is intriguing. The characters are interesting. The heroes/villains are unique. I will definitely continue with the series, but I hope that each subsequent book gets a little longer so that we get to enjoy the intrigue, characters, and unique heroes/villains.

(Personally, I’m very curious about what is going to happen with Freight Train! I’m really sad for him!)

Thank you to Riptide Publishing and Netgalley for providing a copy Where There’s Fire in exchange for an honest review.

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