Previously published as two separate books: Anathema: Transition and Anathema: Escalation.
Two years ago, The Pulse—a sudden shift in Earth’s electromagnetic field—caused a global blackout and wiped a minute from mankind’s collective memory. This event introduced superhuman powers to our world and changed everything as we knew it.
Now two young women are caught in the chaos of a changing world:
Christina Chung, an antisocial misfit whose force fields are fueled by the social bonds she broke during the event of her transition.
Former coke addict Sarina Baumann, whose reality-altering power forces her to abandon everything she holds dear.
The girls find themselves entangled with the renegade hero Radiant and the authorities that made him. The three must find a way—and a place—to be the heroes they’re destined to become. But sometimes, even the heroes fall…
Transitioned are classified along three main categories: Heroes, Rogues and Villains. However, what I probably love most about Superluminary is that the villain and hero labels are almost arbitrary. There are ‘villains’ with genuinely good motivations and ‘heroes’ who enjoy the violent side of their work too much to be considered noble. Governments fearfully cracking down on the rogues and an international hero team called Covenant that’s licensed to execute any transitioned whose powers are deemed a threat force many decent people to essentially become villains just to stay alive and free.
There are several main POV characters in Superluminary: Chris/Mascot is an Asian American girl with super speed, a danger sense and the ability to erect barriers around people. Sarina/Dancer, a Swiss teen with a troubled past whose power includes a life sense and a somewhat undefinable ability to alter reality according to her will, which includes a form of teleportation. Andrey/Radiant is a Russian whose power to travel at the speed of light enables him to fly. All the characters, major and minor, are relatable and I loved that they’re all so cosmopolitan. I’m so very over ‘global’ threats and disasters that only ever effect North America. Superluminary divides its narrative evenly between the US and Europe and features or references characters from all over the world.
Even South Africa gets a mention with both a disaster and a South African hero. Some details are a bit off, the most jarring being that no specific cities are mentioned in the Eastern Cape during this narrative and that a character who should probably have a Xhosa name is called Leona.
While I found the page count intimidating, Superluminary is one of the best books I’ve read in 2018.