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The Highly Capable (The Ruby Dawson Saga) (Volume 1) Paperback – November 3, 2015
"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, and instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise. Learn more
About the Author
Jayme Beddingfield has been crafting stories since her third grade assignment to write her own fairytale.She has been writing professionally for five years. Originally from Northern New Jersey she now lives in Seattle, the city of her dreams. She lives with her husband, two children, and slew of adopted pets. jaymethescribbler.com
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This originally appeared at my blog, The Irresponsible Reader:
If Jamie Schultz's Arcane Underworld were an HBO show, this would be the TNT or USA Network equivalent (this is a description, not a criticism) -- it's not quite a gritty, or dark -- but it deals with the same kind of characters, in similar pressures.
Ruby Dawson is telekenetic, her drug-addled boyfriend can turn invisible, her best friend, Brody can walk through walls, one other member of the team has super-strength and another can climb walls like a certain Web-Slinger. Their boss, Madison, is pyrokenetic (and a secretive control-freak, but that's beside the point). Ruby used to be a pick-pocket, but the team specializes in residential B & A. They're pretty successful at it, but Madison wants more -- and Ruby's thinking it's time to leave. Obviously, there's a little trouble brewing there
In addition to the professional conflict (if you can call it a profession), there's a love triangle, a couple of addicts racing toward rock-bottom, and and almost complete lack of trust amongst the team. I could tell right away that this pegs a little higher on the lovey-dovey/romantic intrigue meter than I prefer (I write that fully aware of the hypocrisy involved, as I'm currently waiting for my wife to finish a Gail Carriger Parasol Protectorate book so I can read it), but I got sucked in anyway.
The combination of problems, the mixture of the personal, professional and both make the plot steam ahead with such drive you just hang on for dear life. Ruby's situation reminded me of Patricia Briggs' Anna Cornick or Carrie Vaughn's Kitty Norville when we meet them for the first time -- the way she addresses her situation is all her, though. It wasn't just the plot that engaged me, it was the way that Ruby worked through it emotionally, the choices she made; I wanted to know what happened to Brody and her non-criminal friends, too, but on a lesser extent -- and yeah, I really wanted to see Madison get her comeuppance.
All the powers here a pretty generic if you've read 1 X-Men issue (or virtually any other title), and Beddingfield utilized them like a seasoned pro. I'm not sure that I've ever seen her take on telekenesis before, though -- the way she described it was gripping. And when Ruby's powers start to develop in new ways, Beddingfield describes that perfectly, too -- and Ruby's reactions to the changes.
On the one hand, I'd have like a little more background with the crew -- to see them (in flashback) get to the point they are at the beginning of the book, to see the little cracks that got Ruby (and to lesser extent Brody??) to begin to question Madison. At the same time, I kind of liked just being thrown in at the point we are -- where everything's just starting to unravel, the foundation cracking -- having to assume that Ruby has good reason for what she's doing. Not that it takes long for us to get plenty of evidence to justify her actions.
This is a quick read, with a plot that keeps driving forward and an engaging protagonist that makes you want to keep moving. I don't mean this the way it probably sounds, but I can't account for how much I found myself liking this. Beddingfield wrote a good novel, don't get me wrong, but when I stopped to think about it, my appreciation for it was greater than the sum of its parts -- there's something ineffable about this that drew me in. I was so hooked that when I was about 2/3 through, I started looking around on Beddingfield's website for any clues as to the release of Volume 2, I'm already ready for it.
Disclaimer: I was provided with a free copy of this by the author in exchange for an honest review -- and I'm really glad she did that.
My favorite characters in this story are Ruby and Charlie. Ruby is smart, sensible, pretty and wickedly powerful. She knows that her powers can kill—she has done it countless times to protect the group and their secrets. When Madison, the group leader, decides that they must become criminals—or worse, drug dealers…Ruby must make a choice. She is smart, she understands what drugs can do to people—mainly her ex-boyfriend who she is forced to take care of time and time again. The guilt that she feels after every kill finally leads her to Charlie and Darcy. Charlie is the first “regular” that she has let get away after finding out about her secret. Charlie is very trusting, shy and has an easy going personality. He cares about Ruby in a way that she has never known and at first, it scares her. She is afraid for her life, but when the she meets Darcy—she knows that she can’t be scared forever. She needs to boost her confidence and get her priorities straight before she is led down a path that she cannot come back from.
I really liked reading this book and I found it to be one of those, edge of my seat reads. I instantly wanted to know what was next after almost every scene. I did notice that there were a few inconsistencies, like hair color and grammatical content. Overall, the story was pretty interesting and I would definitely recommend it to friends and fans of the paranormal and science fiction genres. Her writing style is wonderful and the pace is quick, which I enjoy. This author does a superb job with character development and everything was easy to picture. I rate this story with five stars, due to originality and creativity along with other aspects already mentioned. After reading this, I can totally see myself picking up another book by this author.
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Eighteen-year-old Ruby Dawson was born with the powers to move things with her mind and has two choices to choose from evil or...Read more