Face The Change by Samantha Bryant is the third book in the menopausal superhero series and gets deeper into the lives of the world’s newest heroes. In the last book we discovered that the menopausal superheroes weren’t the only ones with power. Jessica and Fuerte have joined the department which is now gone public and is being called the UCU, the unusual cases unit.
Patricia is still on the fence about joining but she does do some contract work with them. Leonel is still having issues with David, Jessica is better at handling her powers and is also in love with a member of the department. As the story goes on we still have the UCU trying to track down Cindy and her father plus a new enemy that is using mind control to take over parts of the city.
The third book in the series is the same as the other two books. The first and second didn’t have an ending and neither does this one. This novel series is a lot like reading a comic series where the main story never ends. Some things get resolved but some stories keep going. The reason I like these books and want to read more is that I enjoy the characters, you don’t normally get superhero stories about women in their late fifties and sixties and the issues they deal with you wouldn’t find in other stories similar to this.
What I enjoyed most about this story is that we learn a little more about how Cindy thinks. Cindy isn’t a bad person, she just puts science before people. I though it was interesting how she was thinking of Patricia as a villain, even though Patricia was trying hard to save Cindy from herself. Also I liked when Cindy was noticing how her new body felt so much better than her old body and was wondering if she could get her life right this time.
The other character that fascinated me in this book was Helen. She’s a woman who seems to be loosing her mind, is it due to her flame throwing power? Symptoms from menopause? or is she just bipolar with her condition making it worse. Helen is a villain but you feel a lot of sympathy for her, you get the impression that she hasn’t had much good in her life and in her mind her fire power changes that. In the past she felt weak and unimportant, now she has power but she doesn’t use it for good. She is out for revenge against anyone who has ever harmed her.
My main problem in this book was that I was expecting a little more action this time around. The action scenes seemed short and like they were there just because it was expected. Since this superhero trilogy is geared towards a different audience, it doesn’t need a lot of action but I still felt that the two fight scenes towards the end could have been better. My other complaint was that Agatha the psychic should have had a bigger role. It seemed like throwing her in as a villain was just a way to show that the UCU does more that just chase after Cindy, but her story seemed unimportant compared to what else was going on. I would still recommend this series. It’s an original spin on superhero stories and it has a lot of great characters.
Friend Or Foe by Samantha Bryant is a collection of 4 short stories that bridges the gaps in the menopausal superhero novel series. In comics they sometimes have story arcs that last several issues but sometimes they will have a one shot between stories. This book is all about giving you little details that you didn’t get in the novels.
The first story set before book 1 is “Intervention” and it goes back in time to when Patricia and Cindy Lu were friends. You could say it’s an orgin story for Cindy as we see what made her decide to be a mad scientist. In this one you feel sympathy for her but in the future you see her as caring more about science and progress than people. The theme here could be that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. You also see Patricia already acting like a hero.
The second story takes place between the first and second novel. Its called “Friend of Foe” and gets into what happened with Cindy and the other characters right after the battle that ended book one. I liked that this story focused on Cindy and her reactions to all the changes that the characters have gone through. I found myself debating if I should feel sympathy for Cindy or not, while she shows that she is working for a greater good, she also shows that she doesn’t mind using people to get to where she wants to be. You also get a good glimpse of the rift that is forming between the other characters.
Story three is “O’ Scaly Night” and it follows Patricia on a Christmas Day adventure. If you want a good and simple superhero story this one fits the bill. This tale gets into what goes on in Patricia’s mind and you get to follow her as she puts her skills to use. One thing that I took away from this story is that out of all the menopausal superheroes, Patricia has done the best job of accepting who she is and playing the hero role.
The Final story takes place after the third book in the series and is called “The Right Thing.” I don’t want to give any spoilers away on this one because if you haven’t read the three novels in the series you would be lost. What I will say though is that it’s about a damaged friendship and what happens when someone’s former friend needs to be rescued. The main idea is if you’re a hero would you still be willing to help a former friend that you don’t care for anymore? Friend Or Foe is a good read if you are a fan of the menopausal superhero series. The stories are short and give you info that you won’t know from the novels. It also could be a good way to get to know the characters if you are new to the series and don’t mind a few spoilers.
The last time we saw the characters of Going Through The Change they were involved in a climactic brawl at the end of a search for answers. Change Of Life by Samantha Bryant begins several months after the events of book one. Patricia who can turn into a lizard like creature is still trying to find her former friend and scientist Cindy Lu who has changed from a 67-year-old woman to a young girl. We also have Leonel who changed from a woman to a man and Jessica who can now fly. They have joined a top-secret organization called The Department and are training to be super spies
Jessica and Leonel believe they are using their powers for something greater and Patricia feels abandoned by them. Things start to get more complicated as Patricia gets kidnapped and the clues to what happened point to a dead man. Jessica, Leonel and the Department lead a search for her that raises more questions than answers.
What I liked most about this book was how Samantha Bryant makes her characters realistic. First of all who ever heard of a superhero going through menopause? The subplots are what made this book stand out for me, the characters may have superpowers but they are dealing with real world issues too. Leonel has a new career as a department spy and now doesn’t have time to be the housewife and mother she use to but she doesn’t want to give up her job. Jessica is dealing with a failed marriage, two young kids and a possible new love interest and Patricia is dealing with retirement and her new body. Also the reason these women have powers in the first place is because they were all taking something to help them with their aging bodies. Change Of Life may be about superheroes but a lot of depth and detail goes into each character.
There are some great action sequences in this book also, I loved the part where Jessica takes her test to join the department. Her mission is to retrieve a package from a building full of armed spies, she completes her task and manages to beat up on two department operatives in the process. I found myself cheering for Jessica as she went through her test, this is a woman who is a cancer survivor and mother who has now gained new powers and mastered them. Even the minor characters have a lot going on, I loved the reaction of her new boss Sally Ann who has some interesting powers herself. I’m hoping to see a lot more of Helen and Cindy Lu in book three, they have small roles in this book and I liked seeing how different they are from book one.
Change of Life takes what happens in the first book in a new direction. While the first one was an orgin story this one builds on that and adds a spy element to the superhero storyline. Think Agents of Shield meets The X files or at least that’s what I was thinking as I read it. Above all else this is a human drama disguised as a superhero spy story. I love these characters and watching them deal with the changes they are going through and I’m looking forward to the next book.