Five Minutes Longer (HERO #1) by Victoria Sue #BookReview
***This review is SPOILER-FREE! Read on with confidence!***
I loved the premise behind this book—not only the Marvel-like enhanced humans, but also the idea that heroes are just people. People who are braver for just a little bit longer.
“Heroes may not be braver than anyone else. They’re just braver five minutes longer.” –Ronald Reagan
Finn is a regular human, no enhancements, but he has been so conditioned to believe he will be sabotaged and fail at anything he tries that he expects it as rote. His dyslexia puts him at a disadvantage in written tests, and his well-hidden sexual orientation paints a target on his back with his family. Why would the FBI treat him any differently? Finn is just an all-around good guy that most readers will instantly click with. He represents the can-do spirit, the never-give-up mentality, and he thinks as quickly on his feet as any other agent on the team.
Talon is enhanced, and the success of his newly-formed team—H.E.R.O. (Human Enhanced Rescue Organization)—depends on the performance of the only human agent on their team. Except Finn isn’t even a real agent. He didn’t score well enough on written tests to be considered for the FBI (which means he has zero training), and Talon is against ANY non-enhanced joining their team. The enhanced are shunned from society in ways that sadly parallel our own nation’s blatant fear and discrimination, and Talon’s men are all hiding secrets of their own. Secrets that would get them killed or locked up—or worse, experimented on—if the very government they work for found out. Of course, no one would come straight out and say that, and the very formation of Talon’s new team is a show, a decision hotly contested even within the agency.
“You all know that the mission of the FBI is to protect and defend the United States against terrorist threats, and to uphold and enforce criminal law. In all our history, America has welcomed diversity, and it is our responsibility to defend and protect the rights of all law-abiding citizens.” Cohen paused. “Including all the ones you see before you in this room.”
I don’t know if this story was written with political commentary specifically in mind, but it is particularly relevant in the chaotic American social climate of post-inauguration 2017. The enhanced (think mutants with a Harry Potter–style lightning scar somewhere on their skin) are almost completely ostracized by government and citizens alike, and their struggle is a direct allegory for the many groups discriminated against in today’s national circus. Five Minutes Longer isn’t just a potent story about life as a minority, it’s a philosophical statement about basic human rights, and it paints a dire picture.
Victoria Sue’s writing is clean and enjoyable, and Five Minutes Longer is a powerful story simply told well. While I found that the American characters sounded a bit British in some of their thoughts and dialogue, the characters still ring true and the emotional arc of the story is strong. I felt like Finn played more of a damsel in distress role than FBI HERO, but I still enjoyed his scenes and the duality of his vulnerability and personal strength.
Five Minutes Longer is a recommended read for fans of gay romance, whether you’re into political undertones or just want to kick back and enjoy a great story.
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