“Esper Files” by Egan Brass

In “Esper Files,” a mad(ish) scientist in an alternative Victorian England accidentally hits the world with a massive EM radiation pulse. All of a sudden, people start manifesting unusual abilities. Within a few decades, there are rival groups of good and bad Espers, as those with the abilities are called, and the good Espers find themselves in a fight against a shadowy background figure determined to use them for sinister purposes.

So, if you thought from the description that this sounds like a steam punk version of “X-Men,” you’d be exactly right. The basic setup from “X-Men” is there, but there are airships and all the other paraphernalia you’d expect from a steam punk story. So if you like that kind of thing, you’ll probably like it, and if you don’t, then you won’t. On its own merits, “Esper Files” is a lively, action-filled, easy-reading kind of a book. The main characters alternate between cracking jokes and throwing themselves into combat, lots of new and inventive powers are discovered, there’s some budding romance, and bad guys are defeated only to reveal even badder guys behind them. All in all, great fun if you’re looking for something escapist and quick to read.

My thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy of this book. All opinions are my own.

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