Review: Perfect Betrayal by Jade Kerrion

Perfect Betrayal (Double Helix, #2) My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is the sequel to the award-winning Perfection Unleashed. It starts where the original left off. Danyael Sabre, the world’s most powerful empath arrives home with no memory of the last two days. At his apartment he finds a beautiful and dangerous mercenary waiting for him, Zara Itani. She knows him but he has no memory of her. Immediately, he finds himself attracted to her, even though he can feel the hate for him rolling off from her. Mentally and spiritually exhausted from emotions that he has recently absorbed and physically broken by having been shot recently and having walked home from the airport, the last thing he needs is Zara’s aggressive feelings battering his empathic shields, but he’s stuck with her because she has promised the only person that Danyael counts as a friend, Lucien Winter, that she will keep him safe. Its a good thing too, because within 24 hours, Danyael is going to become the target of every human and mutant law and enforcement agency in the US.
The Double Helix trilogy sets it’s stall in the mutant/superhero genre and the powers and world-building will be familiar to anyone who has read the X-men or Watchmen comics or even seen the films. What Kerrion has done is that she has added to the tropes of the sub-genre by adding in human derivatives, such as Xin, cloned using the genes of a Chinese Empress and military strategist, and Galahad, the genetically perfect human being that shares the face of Danyael Sabre. The grand conflict in this world is a triangle with the pro-human lobby, the Mutant Affairs Council and the Mutant Assault Group, with the US government in the middle.
Perfect Betrayal lacks the focus of the first book in the trilogy, brought by the central thread of Galahad and the abominations. In the original, a collision between the two was inevitable and created a central axis for the rest of the plot. In Perfect Betrayal this isn’t immediately evident, even though you have the delicious duel of personalities between Danyael and Zara, the perfect love-hate relationship that is the subject of many rom-coms. There is a central story thread here too, but Kerrion takes a while getting it to, though the interim is made quite enjoyable by the latter relationship. The pacing is also quite different from the original, as the plot reaches a climatic set-piece in the middle of the novel, with the second-half of the book revealing the main plot. A second major set piece arrives at the end of the novel, but fizzles instead of sizzles with a missed opportunity for a grand battle between the two mutant factions.
This is still a very enjoyable piece of writing, with compelling characters, interesting pacing and interesting concepts. Its actually a very good read compared to much of the rubbish out there at the moment. In some ways this book is better than the original and in other places there are some missed opportunities. This is a good solid read and I look forward to the third volume in the trilogy.

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