Failstate: Nemesis / by John W. Otte. (The Failstate Series, 3) 4.5.2016

Enclave Publishing ISBN 9781621840336

HS     Grades 9-12     Rating: 4

John Otte concludes the adventures of Failstate–his teen superhero–in this sequel to his earlier novels, Failstate (reviewed in Christian Library Journal, June/July 2013) and Failstate: Legends(reviewed in Christian Library Journal, July/August 2014).

In Failstate: Nemesis, Robin Laughlin (aka Failstate) achieves his dream of being a licensed superhero. Robin is respected by his fellow superheroes, feared by criminals, and his relationship with his brother Ben (also a superhero) is good.

But when a family secret is revealed and a warning about Abaddon (a villain) is delivered by Lux, who supposedly died in Failstate’s arms a year ago, it shakes Failstate’s world. As Abaddon brings death and destruction to New Chayton, different but somewhat familiar superheroes appear on the scene. Why are they here? Can Failstate get to the bottom of Lux’s reappearance, the arrival of these new superheroes, as well as discover the truth about his father’s past while he tries to defeat Abaddon?

Otte does an excellent job of creating books with a comic-book feel to them. This novel is more plot-driven and slightly darker than the earlier books; nonetheless, it is full of twists to keep readers on their toes, especially concerning Abaddon.

While there is some violence, none of it is graphic; all of it is expected in a world where superheroes are battling evil villains. With its short chapters, comic-book feel, and mixture of humor, light romance, mystery, and adventure, Failstate: Nemesis–a Christy Award finalist (Young Adult) in 2015–is the perfect read for teens and adults.

Recommended for high school libraries, as well as teen collections in public libraries.

Carol R. Gehringer, CLJ