Book Review: The Highly Capable

The Highly Capable (The Ruby Dawson Saga Book 1)The Highly Capable by Jayme Beddingfield

I received this ebook in exchange for an honest review.

I was excited to receive this book as it had a lot of aspects which, on the surface, would be a good fit for me. However, the further I got into the book the more obvious it became that it was a total mismatch.

The Highly Capable is a redemptive story with very strong X-men undertones. (IE: Our heroine is a red-headed telekinetic who is developing telepathic and empathetic powers as well and she eventually meets a guy named Charlie who runs a comic book store and is an option for a way out of her current life.). We are introduced to Ruby, an 18 year old telekinetic who is running with a gang of similarly powered individuals who go from using their powers to pick pocket the tourists to robbing homes and then businesses and then taking on drug gangs and other such things. Their leader, Madison, has some kind of manifest destiny in mind for them, not that she’ll tell anyone what that is and spends much of her time threatening to kill one member or another. However, the stuff with Madison is kind of background while much of the immediate plot circles around Ruby’s changing powers, her relationships with three men and her slowly growing desire to get out of the life she’s in the middle of.

So why did I stop reading? I like paranormal books. I like redemption arcs. I don’t even mind the heavy X-men influence. But the biggest problem? I had no one to root for. I didn’t like or empathize with a single character, Ruby included and especially. She’s wishy washy and often stupid. She blames her indecision on bad self control and begs people to take her away from her life, even when she says on the next breath that she’s perfectly capable of taking care of herself…except that she’s not and she doesn’t. Things happen TO Ruby, she doesn’t do anything proactive to change it. She kills without mercy or remorse except for the occasions where she doesn’t, which is only when it’s plot pivotal and when it starts to physically and emotionally hurt her because she’s experiencing what she’s putting others through, which feels like a very heavy handed way to try to push her towards choosing a better life.

The other characters aren’t better.

For me, in order to enjoy a story of redemption I have to believe the character wants it and I have to have someone to cheer for who I want redeemed. Unfortunately this book didn’t do it for me.

POV Information: This is in first person present tense.

Content warning: Sex, drugs, drinking, language, violence… Most of it isn’t explicit, but it’s all there.

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