Nick Bell? Not extraordinary. But being the most popular fanfiction writer in the Extraordinaries fandom is a superpower, right?
After a chance encounter with Shadow Star, Nova City’s mightiest hero (and Nick’s biggest crush), Nick sets out to make himself extraordinary. And he’ll do it with or without the reluctant help of Seth Gray, Nick’s best friend (and maybe the love of his life).
The Extraordinaries is full of cheesy superhero clichés, and it leans in hard. Never taking itself too seriously, you get quotes like this:
That made Nick’s heart stumble in his chest. He thought he was going to cry again, but since he’d done it twice in as many days, he decided it was probably best if he tried to be a man for a little while. Then he thought that was sexist, so he allowed another tear to spill onto his cheek. Nick was—and always would be—invested in dismantling the patriarchy. Tumblr had taught him that.
Nick’s narrative is an unstoppable, unpredictable train of thought that is unafraid of venturing into any territory. The best part of this is his lack of filter, which leads to an unabashed honesty he wields at all times. Nick has strong ideals about good and bad, right and wrong, and they’re all tangled up in his love for Extraordinaries. While it may have been predictable, it was still fun to follow along as he starts to question these ideals and many constants in his life.
Nick’s friends are pure gold. Seth was definitely my favourite character – his friendship with Nick, massive crush, and total nerd status: perfection – but Gibby and Jazz are high-quality additions to the supporting cast. Like typical teenagers, they can all get melodramatic and overexcited. Still, they clearly care about each other and have created a pretty amazing safe space to be themselves without (too much) judgment.
The biggest problem I had with The Extraordinaries as a whole was the level of cop worship. Sure, Nick is allowed to love and support his dad, but some of the comments and actions are really tone-deaf in an otherwise enlightened narrative. I’ve heard that Flash Fire, the second book in the series, works to address this issue, so I might just put a pin in that for now.
Cheesy, emotional, and fabulous, I was totally enthralled by The Extraordinaries. It does feel like a lot of backstory to get you invested in these characters before (hopefully) more action in Flash Fire, but it was a very enjoyable read. And it wouldn’t be a fitting superhero tribute without a post-credits scene, which made me very excited for the second book – which I received as an eARC and is why I picked up this book in the first place…