Superhero Syndrome

Solstice Survivors, Book 1
Narrated by: Ruby Hankey
Series: Solstice Survivors Series, Book 1
Length: 7 hrs and 55 mins
4.4 out of 5 stars (27 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Tess McBray was dying. The solstice syndrome had no cure, and she resigned herself to an early grave. But just when she gave up on survival, all her symptoms mysteriously disappeared.  

All but one symptom, anyway. Something is wrong with Tess’ hands. They absorb any material they touch, and her skin turns to wood, steel, or concrete. It doesn’t take this comic book obsessed 21-year-old long to figure out what’s going on: Somehow, she’s developed super powers. And she’s not the only one; across the country, people are coming forward and sharing their gifts with the world. In her own city, where the police are battling a human trafficking operation, a masked vigilante called The Fox is saving lives and stopping criminals.  

Tess doesn’t know where she fits into this new, super-powered world. But when people around her start disappearing, she can’t just sit on the sidelines. Teaming up with The Fox to create the world’s first superhero duo might be the only way to rid her city of evil and save the people she loves most.

©2017 Caryn Larrinaga (P)2019 Caryn Larrinaga

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

"Origin" story with great characters and narration

“Superhero Syndrome (Solstice Survivors #1)” is not lesfic, but is a very enjoyable interpretation of the superhero/supervillain origin genre. The author did a wonderful job defining characters as believable people, with many of the positive and negative attributes on exhibit IRL: fear, friendship, love, hate, lust, forgiveness, cruelty, greed, goodness…and many other emotions and behaviors. I was reminded of early Fantastic Four or Spiderman stories, where ordinary people gain extraordinary abilities and learn to adapt to their changed lives. It’s fun being alongside MC Tess as she finds that her death is suddenly not imminent, and as she finds that something is..different. As Tess returns to her hometown, she learns more of the sister she loves, the brother-in-law she despises, the parents who abandoned her, and she makes new friends. Descriptions of her daily life are very well written. We learn of Tess’ love of trains, and we can feel the wrongness in the run down section of town that she now calls home. There’s lots of humor throughout the story; imagine having a superpower that allows your hands to become blue office furniture upholstery! Also, imagine your sister creating an online dating profile for “Sexy Tessy” and using an old childhood photo…including braces! While Tess and other characters are hetero, this is a very PG story, nothing graphic occurs. Tess is very likable, as are many of the side characters. Though Tess is a nerd who loves comic books and sketching, she’s socially aware enough to know a bad date when she’s on one, and is willing to make an effort to ask out someone she connects with. Once she becomes something of a sidekick to superhero “The Fox”, we get a very entertaining crime/mystery action story involving sex trafficking. I won’t say much more about that because you’ll enjoy the story without spoilers. The story ends with a new costume and superheroine name for Tess, and she and “The Fox” are flying (via plane) to Chicago for a first-ever meetup with other new supers. I can’t wait for the next episode! This is the first audiobook I’ve listened to narrated by Ruby Hankey, and I really enjoyed her performance. She voiced Tess, her inner monologues, and other characters wonderfully, and I very much look forward to listening to her perform other audiobooks! If you’ve read this far, you may have guessed that I really enjoyed this audiobook, and I recommend “Superhero Syndrome” with 5*. I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review. My rating and my review was not in anyway affected by my having been provided a review copy.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Fun and more fun!

This was plenty of fun! I do love my superhero stories and this one is worthy. The story starts off with a world-wide illness that strikes some and passes over the majority of the population. Those that survive the illness are dubbed Solstice Survivors, and they are forever changed. A wide variety of superpowers afflicts (or graces) these new-fledged superheroes and supervillains. The premise is a little reminiscent of the Wild Cards series, but the story itself veers away from the grittiness that series is known for. Tess is a very likable character. She’s not perfect, enjoys comic books, and does her best to watch out for her sister Bethany (who’s in an abusive marriage to Bruce, her highschool sweetheart). Tess spent several years in New York, being a little estranged from her family, but now that she’s back in her hometown Weyland, she wants to reconnect with Bethany (her older sister). But her latest worry (developing freaky powers) has her lying to Bethany, which isn’t helping their relationship. In walks the Fox. He’s super agile and very quick and has fantastic fashion sense. Who doesn’t want to put on some fox ears and join his fan club, right? So far, he’s a positive vigilante, taking out drug dealers and more. The police aren’t too thrilled, but they are also up against forces that they aren’t equipped to fight. I did think it was a little silly with the dating app & Bethany trying to set her sister up on a date. Tess already had enough on her plate and is an interesting character in her own right. I don’t need her man hunting in order to make her appealing. That said, she does bump into Reed more than once. He’s a hospital radiology tech and there’s potential there. Then there’s her old friend from grade school who is now the head of the local Fox fan club. He obviously still has a fondness for Tess and there may or may not be anything there. I really hope this series doesn’t head into a love triangle as the series continues. So much works quite well about this story that angsty love would just drag it down. Just as Tess grasps the basics of her new powers, her sister and her husband both go missing. Of course, Tess is convinced the worst finally happened and she’s ready to smash Bruce to pieces, if she can find him. So she starts by going by his work and the mystery moves forward from there. She miscalculates but luckily a local superhero steps in to lend a hand. I loved the give and take between the Fox and Tess. They have to figure out their working dynamic quickly so that they can solve this mystery and hopefully save Bethany. The story gave me a much unexpected twist in the last quarter – and it took the story to the next level. Things aren’t all as they appear. The tale ends with things neatly wrapped up yet with enough big ideas left open for the rest of the series. I look forward to Book 2! 4.5/5 stars. The Narration: Ruby Hankey had a great voice for this series. She was a perfect fit for Tess and I liked her sisterly voice for Bethany. Hankey’s male character voices are believable and she had distinct voices for all the characters. I loved her villain voices too, especially for bully Bruce and his wicked, conniving boss. The pacing was perfect & there were no tech issues with the recording. 5/5 stars. I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Caryn Larrinaga. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent narration!

I loved this very inventive story but I must start with the narration. Hankey has an incredible voice with incredible delivery and she made this story come alive! I was hooked from the first intonation. The story had a slow build-up to the superhero part but I was okay with that. (Again, great narration.) Tess is the main character and instead of dying from an incurable disease, she was exposed to a meteor and life began. Her superpower was one I had not seen before and listening to her struggle with her discovery and then how to control it was well-written and performed. I must confess that Tess was a bit hard to take at times but again, narration. The bad guys got dealt with and all ended well. The next book will be next level!

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

If you were dying what would you do ???

What would you do if you were dying and had limited time left on this planet and you were aware of some differences in who and what you were and able to do? Big question. No answer. Or yes answer. Do something that would benefit those left behind and make life a bit easier. Young Tess finds that life for her has changed from the path that she may have once thought to take. Now she has to make changes to fit the future that is being laid before her. Safe to say she finds a niche for herself and the new direction of her life becomes a bit clearer. There were some wonderful characters her. The was some really awesome writing. The depth of descriptors was bold and true. The mix and mingle of the characters, the situation, and the setting was right there on point for the unfolding of a new world with new protectors being unveiled. While at the same time not all of the new world formed new protectors some were newer super villains with plans laid out to make it a hard new world. The story was brought to life through the vocal narration of Ruby Hankey and she did a wonderful job. This was a rich narration with the characters coming right through with clarity, strength, and a bit of familiarity. ***** I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Caryn Larrinaga. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

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    5 out of 5 stars

Interesting premise, enjoyable book

The author took an interesting idea and made a good book out of it. I just wish it was longer! (Though it did end in a satisfying way while still setting up for the eventual sequels.) The narrator nailed the primary character I thought; my minor nitpick with her was that it's occasionally a little challenging to distinguish the character voices. Looking forward to the sequel(s). Disclosure: I received this book as a review copy, free of charge and with no expectation for a positive review.

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I loved it!

This book was just what I needed after reading a few duds. This was exciting and interesting and different. I can't wait to read book 2. This book was given to me for free at my request and I provided this voluntary review

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

The best supers origin story so far

This is the best first book in a supers series I have read to so far. The main character is kind of a jerk in her own head, but she seems to know it. Her introspection seems pretty real and her coming to grips with her powers is well done. Though I think if someone who is so well versed in comics suddenly gets powers, they'd probably be more proactive in trying to figure out their powers and limits. The overall shape of the narrative feels pretty genuine there, for the most part the characters are just living their lives and have real people problems, medical bills, jobs, family problems, crime and safety. Adding powers adds more tools to deal with some of those issues but also more complications. The narration is excellent, some top notch work. The narrator's natural voice is very pleasant and her character accents are distinct and easy to follow. ** I received a free copy of this book for review purposes at my request. **

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Highly entertaining and addictive!

Tess is terribly ill. Like many other people, she has caught what the press began to call the solstice syndrome. Many are dying, and Tess is almost terminal, but on a night during a meteor shower, not only she gets cured but she also gains superpowers. After learning to master her new skills, she joins forces with the Fox, in an attempt to end a human trafficking network that has kidnapped her sister. This was an excellent YA superhero novel! Written in first person, I quickly connected with Tess, and although her situation was something new to me, and I did not understand all her actions, it was easy enough to relate to her. I embarked on this adventure without any preconception or prejudice, and I have to to say that I thoroughly enjoyed it. There are several twists and surprises along the way, and I just wanted to fight with the cool kids: Tess and the Fox. Tess is the most developed of all the characters, but as this is the first book in a row series, I believe we will get the backstories of secondary characters soon enough. Ruby Hankey did an excellent job voicing Tess and the rest of the characters. Her interpretation skills and compelling tone kept my attention at all times. There were subtle differences in voices and styles, which made following dialogs a breeze. Her male voices were subtle and credible. It was an easy listen, very entertaining and addictive. I am definitely looking forward to the next book in the series. I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Carryn Larrinaga. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Something fresh and new

Superhero Syndrome offers something a bit different than the norm in the Urban Fantasy genre. Superheroes certainly aren't new, and they are everywhere lately, but Carryn Larrinaga has managed to make them feel fresh and new with some interesting powers and witty characters. Of course, we can't have superheroes without some villains to pull them into the light, and these are definitely villainous. Between the bad guy characteristics and Ruby Hankey's voice to breathe life into them, I found myself picturing the villains of old, black cape and all. The story starts and continues a little slow for about the first third or so of the book, but I got caught up in Tess and her sickness despite the pacing. It does pick up considerably once Tess gets back to her hometown and starts to discover her unique power. Tess is strong-willed and I like that she stands on her own two feet, learning from her mistakes and moving forward and changing with the ever-changing world she's been thrust into. She does have some help by way of The Fox. I would've liked a little more development of The Fox's character as well as the sparks of romance between the pair, but it's more subtle hints of something more than friendship as this duo searches for missing women, including someone close to Tess. Nevertheless, I did like The Fox, and I hope to see his character grow with the series. The biggest drawback for me lay with the conclusion. It is the beginning of a series, but we still get a sufficient conclusion, but it felt like there was a rush to get to the end. I just felt like the conclusion deserved more after all the buildup. That said, I did enjoy the read and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys superheroes and/or urban fantasy.

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stunning

i absolutely loved this story. The creative aspect of how people got powers, the perspective and background of Tess. the side characters abed overall plot were really well done. but i have to say. the narrator took this audiobook to a whole new level. absolutely amazing. i recieved this as a free copy, but my opinions are my own

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  • Andy
  • 09-10-19

Interesting take on the superhero genre

Disclaimer: I was provided with a free audiobook by the author in exchange for an honest review. Superhero Syndrome tells the story of Tess McBray, who has been hospitalised by the mysterious Solstice Syndrome disease. After escaping the hospital to end her life in peace she witnesses a meteor shower, and is suddenly cured. But she’s not quite the same woman she used to be... Tess as she returns to her hometown of Wayland to rebuild her relationship with her sister. As she discovers her own superpowers she must work with anther survivor with powers, known only as “The Fox”, to save the people she loves from a criminal gang. The premise of the story is intriguing. Not much is said about how Tess came by her powers, instead the story is about how she understands, develops and uses the power (which at first seems a bit pointless) for good. For me the story spent a little too long on unnecessary romance when Tess came back to Wayland, but once she starts getting involved in the mystery the pace picks up and the story comes to life. It is told with humour and snappy dialogue, and well narrated by Ruby Hankey. I’d like to have known more about other Solstice survivors around the world (only one other is mentioned) – but perhaps that is to come in a future book. I suspect I am not quite the target audience of this book and it would be great for a YA audience, nonetheless I enjoyed the story and will read the next one.

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  • JuttaS
  • 08-27-19

Loved this side of superhero. Great narration.

Ruby Hanley does a fabulous job marketing this book. I knew exactly which character was which. I loved the way this idea is presented and the way in which it works out. It's great to see the superhero gig from this side and I loved watching the growth and change of the characters. I spent most of my time guessing what was going to happen next, and I have to say I mostly didn't get it right (apart from a couple of places lol). It ended in a great place and I would love to see where it goes from here.

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  • R. Simons
  • 08-27-19

Loved it

I wasn’t sure if I would like this, as superheroes are not my thing but I thought I would give it ago and I am so glad I did. What a fantastic start to the series. Tess had contracted Solstice Syndrome, there’s no cure so she was basically waiting to die. But, she didn’t die, oh no, after a freak meteor storm she is in fact cured which is weird in itself but she has something else too. I really enjoyed the storyline, it flowed really well, and it kept my attention from start to finish. It was very different and exciting. It was a great start to the series and I will definitely be looking out for the next book in the series. The narrator was perfect for this book, she told it really well, her expressions were spot on.

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  • Selina ryles
  • 08-11-19

A quirky and entertaining read

I am a big fan of the DC and Marvel series so this book just appealed to me from the offset . I adore the fact that there is such a strong female lead who is different and completely stands out in the novel . Whilst the book is quirky and highly entertaining I just felt there was something missing for me that I couldn't put my finger on . The narration was clear and easy on the ears . While the book wasnt exactly for me I feel it is a strong novel that will be loved by many. I was given this book by the author/narrator in return for an honest and unbiased review