TO THE FIFTH POWER by Shirin Dubbin
Creating a brand new superhero universe in prose form has got to be tough, but Shirin Dubbin gives it a go in To The Fifth Power. Instead of starting with an origin story, which seems like a given, the author instead focuses on a character who is, presumably, on the other side of her career in self-imposed retirement.
Zola Noite’s sidekick was killed in a battle and she elected to lay down the mask. That event isn’t relayed very well in the novel and I had to work at figuring out what was going on.
The main point of view character is Dr. Arturo Forte, a psychologist for the superheroes. I went along with that, but totally chucked it when it was revealed that Forte is in love with his patient. Not cool. Plus, I would have liked to be inside Zola’s head while she was struggling with everything that was going on. To me, that’s where the story was.
The book also turns out to be more romance than adventure as well, which would have worked better for me if I’d gotten to see that history develop somewhere along the way as well. For a novella, too much was actually going on and things had to get compressed.
The universe seems fun and well developed, so I’m interested in seeing other stories about these characters or new superheroes.