Hi everyone! I hope you’re all keeping well and safe! I’m back today with a review of an ARC I was very kindly gifted by the author (and which my brain is still screaming about!). I’m sure by the title of the post you’ve already figured it out, but if you haven’t read my reviews of the previous two books in the series, I have a review for book 1 here, and book 2 here! There will be spoilers ahead for those two books, but none for the third book, so if you haven’t read the first two, go do that (book 1 is only 77p on kindle right now) and then come back here so we can scream about this book together!
Title: Cute Mutants Vol. 3: The Demon Queer Saga
Author: SJ Whitby
Genre: Sci-fi, LGBT, Young Adult
Synopsis: “I let the mask fall away from my face. I let them see me. Dylan Taylor. Chatterbox. Mutant and monster. Teen Magneto. This is one of those pivotal moments. There’s a metaphor for this. I learned about it in history. The name of some river in Rome.”
Here we go again. The Cute Mutants are back, bigger and badder than ever. Even better, we’re in charge of ourselves now. We’ve got a headquarters, gear, and an actual budget.
Except, we’ve also got EMID—the American Extrahuman Monitoring and Intelligence Division—breathing down our necks to track down mutants for them. Even worse, there’s rumours of a mysterious killer with superpowers and a grudge against the rainbow community. And then there’s the promise from our last boss. The threat of war. Humans vs. mutants.
The dream was to thrive, but maybe all we can hope for is survival. Whatever that takes. I think I’m beginning to understand the saying, “the end justifies the means.” There used to be a line between heroes and villains, didn’t there?
Okay, so I finished reading this book the day before I’m writing this review and once I was finished reading I just couldn’t function – I couldn’t read anything else for the rest of the day because I was just blown away by the sheer magnitude of this series and how much this book packs a punch! I’m only now able to form semi-coherent thoughts on this book, whereas yesterday it was just “I am gonna SCREAM!!!!!!!! Full review to come but oh my god I have no idea where this series is gonna go but I know it’s gonna kill me!!!!!!!” and “Petition for SJ to stop killing off all my faves 😭😭😭😭😭😭“! But before going into the review, I know we’ve all had time to appreciate just how gorgeous the cover of the book is, but can we take a moment to acknowledge how clever the title of this volume is (this article might help you if you’re not super familiar with X-Men) in showing the real shift the series takes from this point onwards! Maybe I’m just a big nerd, but it was a little detail I absolutely loved!
But back to the review at hand! If you thought book two was dark, honey, you’ve got a big storm comin’! The title alludes to the darker tone that this book has compared to the first two, but I truly was not ready for the character development we see in here! We see Dylan really begin to grapple with their abilities and deal with the power, responsibility and choices that they must take into consideration while using them, as well as the morality of the situation at hand. Whereas the first two books were still on the lighter side, this one felt like the Cute Mutants were almost being forced to grow up, due to what was going on around them and the situations into which they were placed. I also really enjoyed seeing the development of the other characters too, from Lou becoming so much more confident in himself and his abilities (which made me so happy to see!), to Alyse and Emma becoming more self-assured (and perhaps a bit more ruthless!), to even Katie becoming the true cinnamon roll I always knew she was!
And it wouldn’t be a new Cute Mutants book without….you guessed it, more mutants!! I really enjoyed the new mutants we were introduced to, including a mutant who has cat tattoos that turn into real life kittens (definitely a superpower I would want!) and a mutant who has the ability to clone herself but each subsequent clone gets more and more chaotic! As I mentioned, the absolute scope of this series is honestly incredible, but you never feel as though any character is underdeveloped in anyway, and if you love found family and loved that aspect of the previous books, you’re gonna love it even more in this volume!
The Cute Mutants books are always super fast paced and I found myself absolutely flying through this one! In this book, we are introduced to EMID, who are keeping an eye on the Cute Mutants to ensure that they are no risk to public safety, whilst also using them for their own agenda – aka, mutants hunting down mutants (I’ve always been a proponent of ‘Magneto Was Right’, but even more so after reading this book!). We are also introduced to a mutant who is hunting down and killing well known queer people and celebrities, with the view that queer love is a sin – buckle yourselves in for that storyline! – and we discover some new information about Emma’s abilities. The fight scenes in this also feel amped up a notch from the previous books, and there was one fight scene in particular I had to stop reading halfway through because I was getting so stressed and scared for my Cute Mutant babies that I just needed to take a deep breath and pause before continuing!
Overall, this book is a real turning point in the series and I’m both excited and terrified for where it’s gonna go, whilst simultaneously never wanting it to end! The books in this series just seem to be getting better and better and I cannot recommend enough that you pick up this book on its release on December 8th (also I’m in the acknowledgements aaah!)!