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It’s Summertime – let’s binge!

I’m a greedy reader.  If I like a book, I tell every person on earth (who will listen) about it and insist they read it right away, regardless of the types of book they tell me they like, or even if they (god forbid) tell me they ‘don’t read romance.’  And if the author has a back catalog and/or the book I loved is the start of a series, I buy or borrow the other titles right away, regardless of price, and I move those books right to the top of my TBR pile.  Very little will deter me from a binge, even though I’m always sad when they come to an end.   #sorrynotsorry

Not too long ago, I picked up In the Wreckage, book one in Hailey Turner’s Metahuman Files series.  I can’t remember who recommended it to me (I owe that person a big THANK YOU), but I decided to start it on a rainy day a few weeks back and quickly became obsessed.  I read it, and the subsequent books in the series, whenever I had a free moment or could sneak away from my ‘real life.’  I sighed when I finished it.  “What Could Possibly Be Next?,” was a constant refrain as I fixed myself a sandwich for lunch.  And thus, a blog post was born.  BECAUSE YOU’RE GOING TO TELL ME.

But first, I’m going to tell you why this series hooked me from the get go and kept me on the edge of my seat…

The Metahuman Files – An Overview

I wasn’t quite sure exactly what I was getting into when I started In the Wreckage, but it exceeded my expectations in every way.  Ms. Turner describes it as a m/m science fiction military series set 250 years in the future – but it’s so much more.  There are two principal characters whose romance progresses over the course of the series, a secondary cast of friends/fellow soldiers and villains who appear throughout, and an overarching suspense plot.  Ms. Turner does a masterful job with character development and world-building, and the series must be read in order.  Trust me friends, it’s impossible to stop at book one.

In 2284, the world’s superpowers are at war with criminals and terrorists.  The bad guys’ weapon of choice is Splice, a toxic chemical created by terrorists for use in war over a hundred years earlier.  Whether absorbed through the skin or inhaled, it’s deadly to humans – killing 95% of people exposed to it.  The other 5%, humans with a natural immunity (no one knows why), become metahumans with various superpowers (telekinesis, telepathy, super strength and endurance, pyrokinetics, clairvoyance…).  Governments have a monopoly on metahumans, but criminals and terrorists are eager to create and control their own.

In the Wreckage introduces readers to the Alpha Team of the Metahuman Defense Force: a hybrid federal agency/military group in the United States that deploys metahumans and humans on a domestic and international basis to deal with metahuman terrorists – and to the suspense plot that unfolds over the course of the Metahuman Files.  Alpha Team, led by Captain Jamie Callahan, a former Marine Recon officer, is the most-elite and deadly field team in the MDF.  In the first book, international terrorist groups have joined forces to prevent the creation of a vaccine and to use Splice to create metahumans of their own.  They don’t care how many people they kill to pursue their goals, and they deploy their own metahumans without remorse.  Alpha Team is sent to stop them.  As the series continues, different nefarious groups come to the forefront and emerge as players in the Splice/metahuman market, and MDF and its Alpha team are tasked with infiltrating the groups and stopping them.

Ms. Turner swiftly drops readers into the story using a battle sequence to introduce the metahuman world and (most of) the cast of primary and secondary featured throughout the series.  She wisely focuses the narrative on Jamie in the first two books, and via his PoV, we learn more about his relationship to the Alpha team, and eventually to one team member in particular.  The world-building is deft, complex and compelling from the get-go, and it’s an addictive, thrilling and emotional ride from the first book until the last.  There’s a marvelous balance between science fiction (climate change has transformed the world, although much of it still feels familiary), military (the MDF and the Alpha Team are recognizable offshoots of the more familiar Delta/SEAL/Ranger forces we all love to read about), friendship and teamwork, and romance… each of these elements strengthens the series as a whole.  The Alpha team dynamic is outstanding (and enviable), as are the two principal relationships that evolve over the course of the novels.  The action scenes are intense and so are the romances.  And the sex?  DAYUM.  It’s hot, hot, hot, and perfectly complements the suspense elements.

So that’s my last binge.  Readers who love romance LOVE BOOKS.  ALL KINDS.  We’re voracious and we’re loyal, but as evidenced by my recent discovery of the Metahuman Files series, we also love to discover new authors and books to read and talk about – or, in my case, BINGE.   Vacation is the perfect time to discover and indulge and since I’m a teacher, summertime provides me with lots of down time to do so.  Some of my most memorable recent binges (some of them re-reads) include books by Talia Hibbert, Anne Stuart, Kristen Callihan, Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy, Sherry Thomas, Alexis Hall and Bec McMaster.  I don’t know about you, but I’m not picky about genre or time period, I just want to get lost in the books I’m reading.  So tell me – what should my next binge read be?

~ Em Wittmann

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