The second book about the notorious Dr. Fid picks up a little while after the first.

Fid has had a good thing going: Super-smart, extremely genre-savvy, he has a host of technological toys that have made him one of, if not the, top supervillains of the world. And he has a driving passion to punish all the heroes that don’t measure up to his standards of heroism to push him into the villain side of things.

That last also caused him to deliberately send himself insane, something he has long since drawn back from, so that he can properly live his double-life as the CEO of a cutting edge tech firm that he uses to introduce some truly useful technologies. And that, you know, sort of led him into saving the world.

Public opinion is, naturally, mixed on this development. As is Fid. This is a deeply character-driven story, as Fid insists to himself, and everyone else, that he doesn’t deserve to be seen as anything but a monster, the monster he was quite happy to be a decade or so before. But there are people who, looking at his current actions, see someone deserving of a good measure of trust—and in spite of his internal protests, he lives up to these expectations.

Of course, there is plenty of purely external conflict to go around too, which forms the main skeleton of the story, while the character side provides the muscle. We get some more world building; its not as fundamental as in the first book, but certainly interesting, and plot-relevant. The stakes seem lower than the first book (where do you go after saving the world?), but—spoiler—not so much. As a needed warning, the last part changes tone noticeably, and gets… extremely violent. I’m glad it was in text, I don’t know if I could take much of it in a visual medium. But, again, it’s plot-relevant.

So, an extremely successful second book, that does not fall into sequelitis, and is just a bit better than the original. It does end on something of a cliffhanger however!