The world is in chaos. Violence and thievery reign. And with the supers still balanced, it’s only getting worse. Without good versus evil, the supers care less and less. In order to restore purpose, the world needs its super heroes and its super villains, but the one who balanced them in the first place is missing. Sandra’s concern over finding her brother, Jeff, isn’t her only problem. Her pathetic excuse for super powers has left her needing a new ankle. And though she’s still very much committed to her boyfriend, Source, she’s growing unreasonably attracted to Set, the boy who double crossed Jeff by stealing his girlfriend. When Sandra is taken and held as bait by some kids who want to unbalance the super world, it becomes the inciting event that changes things for supers everywhere and forces them to answer the question, “Hero or villain?”
My Rating: 4½/5 stars
**REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS!!**
Well, crap!! Super Bad opens weeks after the end of book two, Polar Opposites and the scene isn’t pretty. Jeff has been missing since the explosion, his sister is still recuperating at an exceptionally slow rate, and the crime rate around the world is on the rise. The situation is beyond bleak and none of the supers seem to care one way or another. In fact, it’s not even the villains (if they were still villains) committing the crimes but normals who aren’t being contained by the police. The police aren’t able to contain the growing crime rate because the white hats (if they were still white hats) can’t seem to muster the will to jump in and help. Yeah, the world is kind of going to hell in a handbasket.
On the other side of the world, Mystic finally has what she wants, Jeff Mean (aka Polar) and he has no clue who he really is. Under Mystic’s influence, Polar begins committing crimes and finds he likes being bad but something inside him tells him not to trust Mystic. Another not-so-happy discovery is that Jeff’s powers still aren’t in control and they seem to be growing at an almost exponential rate. Though he isn’t sure, Jeff’s gut points him in the direction of home and so, with the evil as ever Mystic in tow, he returns to his hometown in the hopes of getting help.
In the meantime, Jeff’s sister, Sandra is facing her own issues. One the one hand, she made it through surgery with flying colors but on the other hand, her powers seem to be diminishing and there is no explanation as to why. As if the diminishing powers weren’t enough, Sandra also seems to have developed an unnatural attachment to Set. Yeah, I said Set. Interestingly, as the days go by Sandra’s attachment to Set becomes so strong that she has to maintain physical contact with him. To say this is troubling doesn’t even come close and if someone doesn’t find a solution quick, the world is going to be in even more trouble than it already is.
As Jeff, Sandra, their parents, Set, Source, and a few others work to solve a whole lot of problems all at once, the world is falling apart faster than they can solve problems. As if it couldn’t get worse, it does get worse when Sandra is taken. Her diminished powers and her separation from Set make her both particularly vulnerable and an excellent bargaining chip. The dumbasses who took her want the balancing reversed and since Jeff caused it, they are using Sandra to encourage him to reverse his work. Trouble is, Jeff has no idea how to undo the balancing but if he doesn’t figure it out quick the world may quite literally come to an end.
The Bottom Line: Well, who the hell saw this coming?? Kai Strand really did put together something kind of fantastic here. For almost the entirety of the book the drama continues to escalate until just before the end when it all comes to an end in a most astonishing way. Though I would have liked to see a few more characters get what they deserve, on both the good and bad sides, I was generally satisfied with the end of this book and series. The action throughout is fun, the drama is just right, the characters are interesting and engaging, and the romance is just right for a YA+ read.