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Shades of Gray by Jackie Kessler

Shades of Gray

by Jackie Kessler, Caitlin Kittredge (Author)

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Shades of Gray is the second volume in The Icarus Project series, co-written by Jackie Kessler & Caitlin Kittredge.

I just have to say: This book (& series) is awesome in so many ways. In fact, let me count them for you.

Awesome thing #1: I enjoy skimming through the “Praise” sections in the front of books. This is where publishers list all of the good reviews and nice comments about the current and previous work from the author. Well, Shades of Gray has the most awesome praise section ever.

Right there on the second page are the words:

“Black and White is cover-to-cover superhero girl power awesomeness. . . . A wild, fun, irresistible ride. It’s fast-paced enough to read in a day. Just don’t plan on doing anything else until you’re through.” — Waiting for Fairies

Can you believe it! Squee! They quoted my review! I had no idea until I picked up my copy to read it, so it was a pleasant surprise. Now my goal is to try to get my copy signed while I’m at Dragon*Con. Or at least half-signed, since according to the current guest list Kittredge won’t be attending. *sad face*

Awesome thing #2: I don’t have to be embarrassed to have my comments published in Shades of Gray because this book is just as awesome as the first one.

We’re introduced to an additional double-handful of superheroes and villains, and a completely new cast of not-quite supers to go along with them. I’m fascinated by all the different code-names. We get to see Arclight/Luster’s (Iridium’s father’s) history, which turns him from a creepy, egotistical convict to a loving father and friend. Moreover, it’s a believable shift, which is nothing short of amazing.

We see the origins of Everyman and hear more about the research of the Icarus Project. I won’t spoil it for you, but I’ll tell you that Everyman has surprising roots. And if you’re paying attention to the quotes at the start of each chapter, you’ll learn lots of interesting things about Icarus and his Project, as well as quite a bit about Martin Moore.

The story alternates between views from Jet and Iridium, just like last time, but we also get to see chapters from the point-of-view of all four parents as they hook up, get married, and have babies. And, in at least one instance, as they go crazy.

If Black and White set up the lines between Good and Evil, Shades of Gray obliterates those lines with a malicious hand. Black and White was fast-paced, but Shades of Gray is a runaway train.

Black and White was about contrast: Shadow and Light; Good and Evil; human and extra-human. Everything about Shades of Gray really is gray. The good guys are now tearing the city apart. The people we thought were bad guys are now trying to save the world.

Kittredge & Kessler have taken the two-dimensional world of superhero comic books and given it a depth and feeling that echoes the real world, but on a superhuman scale. And they’ve done it in such a way that their two narratives are seamless. If they didn’t tell who wrote which character in their end bios, I would never have known the difference.

Shades of Gray is a can’t miss chapter in The Icarus Project, and I’m looking excitedly forward to hearing a whole lot more from Jet, Iridium, and company. ( )
  kiaras | Oct 22, 2013 |
The second installment of the Icarus Project books by Jackie Kessler and Caitlin Kittredge is just as thrilling as the first. For those that have read the first book Black and White, our heroes Jet and Iridium are left dealing with the consequences of their actions in the previous book. Once again it is filled with drama and humor that is hard not to love. I would highly recommend it to anyone that liked the first one because it is as good, if not better, than Black and White which was excellent itself. By the end of Shades of Gray we are once again craving more of the world in which our two superheroines inhabit. ( )
  UrbanFantasyGuy | Nov 22, 2010 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jackie Kesslerprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kittredge, CaitlinAuthormain authorall editionsconfirmed
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When Jet and Iridium - best friends turned enemies - come together to bring down a supervillain, they inadvertently destroy the secret Corp-Co transmitter, whose frequency kept the New Chicago's heroes in-line - and sane. Now the city is plunged into chaos as these heroes are suddenly the biggest threat.… (more)

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