#marchofthesequels Review: The Crossover Paradox by Rob Edwards

Return to the Justice Academy, the galaxy’s premier college for superheroes!

Back for his second year, Grey wants nothing more than to spend time with his friends and maybe take a class or two. A normal student life. Instead, Grey’s friends are all distracted by their own problems and somebody is trying to break his nemesis out of jail.

When tragedy strikes the Academy, Grey finds himself stuck between the roles of investigator and prime suspect. Chased across the galaxy and back, Grey must face a dark secret from the Academy’s past. Grey cannot hope to defeat it alone, but cut off from his friends, can he trust an unexpected crossover?

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My Review

Thank you to the author, Rob Edwards for sending me a digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. My opinions are my own.

The Crossover Paradox is book 2 in the Justice Academy series, and is the sequel to the middle grade/YA superhero story, The Ascension Machine which I read and reviewed last year. Read my review here.

The Crossover Paradox sees the return of Grey, the main character in The Ascension Machine, from whose perspective the story is told, as he returns for year two at the Justice Academy school for superheroes, where not all superheroes need superpowers.

“Technically, Grey isn’t the name on my ID, but since that name is also fake, I’m not sure why I should be limited by it. Grey is who I chose to be, and so far, he’s been the most successful me I’ve ever been. The first year I was Grey, I made a lot of friends, enrolled in college (although that was under yet another name) and stopped an alien invasion.”

Some of his friends gained powers after coming into contact with The Ascension Machine in the first book of the series, but Grey does not feel in any way changed. He is glad to be returning after his summer break and looking forward to seeing the group of friends he made in year one, especially his roommate from last year, Seventhirtyfour and Lucy Sky Diamond who he hopes might become his girlfriend. Unfortunately these hopes are thwarted and he finds himself in a far from perfect second year, where Seventhirtyfour is accompanied by more Brontom clones who expect him to hang out and room with them rather than with Grey, Lucy brings a new boyfriend from her home world to the Academy with her and a teacher is murdered soon after term begins. The teacher is the aunt of his good friend, Avrim, and Grey feels compelled to lead an investigation into her death in parallel with the official investigation undertaken by the staff who seem to think Grey is suspect number one. The story becomes a murder mystery at this point with plenty of clues to follow as to the identity of the murderer.

The book is full of action, which starts right away, before Grey even reaches the Justice Academy. He is involved in an exciting chase on the space station where he spent his summer break. This sets the tone for the novel and the fast pace continues right through the book, making it difficult to put down.

There are plenty of intriguing alien species, superheroes with and without powers and unexpected twists in the tale which will keep you guessing. There is of course a supervillain with ridiculously OP powers and everyone needs to work together in order to attempt to take him on.

The world building in the book is solid, we shift scenes from a space station to the Academy, then to another space station, to the dreaded Tartarus, high security prison on the Academy home world, the beach, the jungle around the Academy and another space station. Each of these are described with enough detail to make them easy to visualise:

It was surprisingly mundane. A plain steel slab set into a heavy concrete wall. Not even a sign to tell you what the building was, but I suppose that wasn’t necessary. Even the students who weren’t criminals knew this place and what it was for. In my worst imagining of this, I’d pictured a thunderstorm overhead, blackening the sky and punctuating the proceedings with jagged knives of lightning. Instead, I could make out the far-off sounds of an Academy beach party in progress. At least it was dusk. That lent a modicum of drama to the proceedings.

The “Crossover Paradox” of the title is described as a concept which occurs in superhero stories whereby two rival superheroes begin by fighting each other and then end up teaming up in order to defeat a super villain. Towards the end of the story, the principal of the Academy tells Grey:

“Perhaps this is just our form of conflict before we inevitably team up and defeat the true villain. The crossover paradox.”

Aimed at Middle grade and YA readers, there are once again positive messages of teamwork, self-acceptance and self-belief. Grey is a brave and loveable rogue who falls back into his grifting tendencies when he leaves the Academy for a while, but he misses the Academy and his friends and will always put his friends and his loyalty towards them first. Highly recommended to fans of superhero stories and stories with school settings.

About the Author

Rob Edwards is a British born writer and podcaster, living in Finland.  His podcast, StorycastRob, features readings from his short stories and excerpts from longer work.  His work can also be found in anthologies from Inklings Press and Rivenstone Press.

His debut novel, the scifi superhero adventure The Ascension Machine launched September 2020, and a sequel can be expected soon.

His greatest geek pride is his entry on wookieepedia, the a result of writing several Star Wars RPG scenarios back in the day.

Twitter | Website

One thought on “#marchofthesequels Review: The Crossover Paradox by Rob Edwards

  1. Pingback: March of the Sequels Hub | Sue's Musings

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