MJ-12: Inception by Michael J Martinez

It’s been a while since I read the book, so my review is a bit less detailed.

Long story short, I really like this take on superheroes and the beginning of the cold war. It felt like a complete book, but there’s a clear opportunity for sequels.

The heroes are of the “one exceptional trick” school of superhero, rather than each being a grab bag of awesome. There’s also a strong suggestion that there’s something… deliberate about the force that’s imbuing people with powers.

I do look forward to the sequels.

Half a Crown by Jo Walton

The last book of the trilogy, and a solid conclusion to the series. The focus is tighter, with Elvira as this book’s female lead. Her relationship to Carmichael is much closer; they are intertwined from the start. And she’s not on the other side of Carmichael’s case, the way that the other books aligned things.

Elvira’s a little hard to take seriously. She’s an eighteen year old, written as a convincing eighteen, so she has a number of dangerous assumptions and holes in her knowledge that make her feel realistic.

Carmichael’s changes and experience with power are subtle but present. His good works, and the entire inner watch make sense as a continuation of his character from before. His relation with Normandy remains prickly and fraught, but there’s also a familiarity clear from the last ten years of working together.

All in all, an excellent end to the series. I like it and look forward to rereading the series in a few years.

Ha’Penny by Jo Walton

The second story in the alternate post World War 2 book. Inspector Carmichael comes back for another turn, while the female lead is new. Our female lead this time is Viola Lark, an actress, formerly of a good family.

This was a good book, and stands alone. Unfortunately, despite standing alone just fine, it still felt somewhat like the middle book of a trilogy. I liked it, but the ending (with the MacBeth quotes) and distress seemed overwrought. Getting there, the book is much more solid; I liked the conspiracy and relations of conspirators, and the investigation arm. Carmichael continues to develop– not nicely, but the effects of the last book linger.

I liked it, and would read it again as part of rereading the trilogy. As a stand alone, I’d rarely pick it up.

Farthing by Jo Walton

This is a great alternate history mystery, with two engaging and well drawn main characters.

Lucy is a great window into the aristocracy, with enough bristling at the system to make her sympathetic, but enough background so she makes sense. Inspector Carmichael, from Scotland Yard, is no fool, but there is quite a tangle to work through on the murder.

Along the way, the variations in belief and sympathy from the different characters keeps the book feeling real– each character comes from its own place and has its own prejudices. The main characters, fortunately, are quite progressive in their mindset, which does ease a modern viewer into their viewpoints.

I liked this one enough that I’m looking going to check out the rest of the trilogy (Ha’penny and Half a Crown). Though I wonder where they’ll launch from– these characters reached a strong break in their story. I wonder if we’ll follow new people in the next books.