Review: Where There's A Will (Panopolis #3) by Cari Z.

Being a Hero in Panopolis means living the high life: parties, money, influence, even reality television. And I’m one of the most powerful Heroes in the city. I have plenty of fans, a manager who looks out for me (after himself), and a job that pays the bills. I should be enjoying myself.

Unfortunately, the downside of my superpower means I can’t touch anyone, which tends to puts a damper on things. I probably don’t deserve all those perks anyway, since I’m working in secret with two of Panopolis’s biggest villains to undermine GenCorp—my main sponsor and the company that controls what gets through my force field.

I obviously don’t trust my corporate overseers, but they’ve hired a new scientist who actually seems interested in helping me. Dr. Mansourian might have the answers to all my questions—not to mention a starring role in most of my dreams—but he’s hiding something big. If I let him have what he wants, I might not live to regret it.

Then again, the way things are going in Panopolis these days, I might not live either way.

I’m very surprised by my rating, considering that I really enjoyed the first two books in the Panopolis series.

Also, I think this gif is appropriate in this context:

‘Where There’s A Will’ diverges from the preceding books by focusing on a Hero instead of a Villain. The Hero is Freight Train, or Craig Haney, whose special ability is that he has a thin forcefield around him which does not allow anything to touch him. Craig has dealt with the loneliness of his powers for years, but after discovering that his sponsor, GenCorp, is not as benevolent as it appears to be, Craig has become increasingly frustrated with his situation.

When GenCorp hires a new researcher, Dr. Ari Mansourian, to help their Heroes with their powers, Craig finds himself in a difficult situation. He likes Ari and is attracted to him, but trusting someone from GenCorp doesn’t seem like a good idea. But as the two begin spending time together and trying to find a solution for Craig, he finds himself putting his faith in Ari.

Craig has been a bit of a conundrum for me since the first book, Where There’s Smoke, when he was Edward’s clueless suitor. Craig was never a bad person, but he was instrumental in exposing Edward and Raul’s relationship to the authorities. And while he redeemed himself somewhat in the second book, I wasn’t sure whether I liked him.

Having read this book from his point of view, I could understand his previous actions. I liked getting into Craig’s head and discovering that he was more than just a pretty face and mindless robot for GenCorp.

The author continues building this world of Heroes and Villains in Panopolis. The additions to the history of the city and its residents were interesting and answered a few questions I had from the previous books.

We also get a front-row seat to how GenCorp and the other sponsors control and manipulate the Heroes, which was eye-opening. GenCorp is the epitome of the evil corporation theme.

So I enjoyed the worldbuilding, and how the plot moved forward. We’ve got the action scenes, the explosions, the back-stabbing, the twists and turns, and the politics that I’ve come to expect and enjoy from this series. But what really didn’t work me was the romance.

Craig and Ari’s relationship just came off as very bland. I didn’t feel any chemistry between them. It seemed like the main thing that the two had going for them was that they were the only two decent human beings in GenCorp’s employment. It probably also didn’t help that we get nothing from Ari’s POV, so he remains a bit of a mystery.

I couldn’t help but compare Ari and Craig to Edward and Raul. Edward and Raul have passion and a connection that goes far beyond their crappy situation. The two are bit messed up, but together they’re whole. Compared to that, Craig and Ari’s more cookie-cutter romance didn’t shine at all.

Despite the lacklustre romance in book 3 of the Panopolis series, these books are still very fun reads. If you’re looking for some gay superheroes or supervillains and an entertaining plot, I’d recommend this series.

P.S. Imagining Chris Evans as Freight Train makes things more interesting. Because oomph.

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