Review of Exceptional: The Watchers Trilogy #2 – Tihema Baker

Posted: January 20, 2020 in Review, science fiction, young adult

“Exceptional” is the sequel to the Sir Julius Vogel Awards finalist “Watched”, and continues the story of super-powered Prodigies Jason and Rory in their battle against the all-seeing Watchers.

While Rory pursues their leader, Chaos, in the Dark universe, Jason is forced into an uneasy alliance with AEGIS, a militarised intelligence agency that seems to know more about Prodigies than it should. A storm is coming.

Jason will determine its course, but there are truths waiting for Rory in the dark that will change everything. Both must decide where they stand before the storm breaks.

Exceptional: The Watchers Trilogy #2

Tihema Baker

Huia Press

Supplied by author

Reviewed by Jacqui Smith

This is the long-awaited sequel to Baker’s 2015 novel “Watched”. So, it’s superheroes again, and very much again. I’m not sure that there’s much new and interesting here. Baker introduces a second organisation, AEGIS, connected to the Five Eyes Network, and just as determined to control prodigies (his name for super-powered individuals) as the Watchers from book one, but run by secret government agencies. Which takes away some of the charm, I think. Bureaucrats are just no fun.
Meanwhile, our heroes just want to be free and to rescue their friends. Which is not going to be a simple exercise, because one of them is stuck in another universe, an upside-down where dark energy and dark matter dominate. Baker tosses a lot of physics technobabble around in this book, and I’m not convinced he understands the subject well enough to be convincing.

Maybe it’s just that I’ve had quite enough of super-heroes and comic book bad science, but I really did not enjoy this book. The action kept me reading, and I did finish it, but maybe I’m just too far removed from the target audience, because it was tough going.

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