Review: Empowered Agent by Dale Ivan Smith

Posted April 29, 2017 by Lola in Fantasy, My To-Be Read List, Review / 16 Comments


My To-Be Read List is a meme hosted by Because Reading is Better Than Real Life where at the beginning of the month visitors can choose which book I’ll be reading this month. On the first saturday of a month the poll will be up, then on the second saturday of the month I’ll announce the book that won and on the last saturday of the month I’ll post my review of the book.

Empowered: AgentEmpowered: Agent (Empowered #1)
by Dale Ivan Smith

Rating: 3 stars
Genre: Urban Fantasy/ Superheroes

The world says those with superpowers are either heroes or villains. But what if you’re both?

Mathilda Brandt isn’t the angry, out-of-control teenager she was before she got out of jail. She’s hungry for a chance at a normal life, but when a gang threatens her sisters, she has no choice but to use her illegal superpower to protect them.

A secretive government agency gives her a choice: go back to prison for life, or infiltrate a notorious super-villain group in order to stop a psychotic Empowered. To save her city, her family, and herself, Mat must become the last thing she ever wanted to be again: a criminal.

My Review:
This was a good read. There was some action, awesome super powers and a nicely paced story. But at the same time it never fully pulled me into the story. Even though I didn’t enjoy it as much as I would’ve liked, there was still a lot that I did enjoy. I was in the mood for a book about superpowers and this book definitely delivered when it came to that. I liked reading about the different superpowers and what was possible with them and there’s an awesome scene at the end involving superpowers. The story was also well done and progressed nicely. The book is mostly story driven with less focus on the characters.

The story follows Mat who has been in prison for years and now has a chance to get out, but things aren’t that easy and eventually she ends up with the choice to go back to prison or infiltrate a group of criminals. The world is a bit of a harsh one, if you’re an empowered, either you never use your power or you have to join the hero council. If you don’t pick one of those options you’re labeled a criminal.

There are some great scenes in this book. I liked reading about the powers and especially Mathilda’s power. She can control plants, which seemed really cool. Although it did make me a bit sad how often she uses/ has to use her powers to hurt or kill plant life. Towards the ending there’s this great action packed scene that turns things around and makes me curious where the story will go from there. On the other hand there were also some parts that didn’t quite work for me, there’s one scene that I skimmed as it was a bit gruesome. But mostly I just didn’t feel as invested for the most part of the book. The start and the ending of the book were really good though.

Another one of the issues I had with this book was Mathilda’s personality. For the most part I didn’t find her a likeable character. She’s angry and bitter a lot and often gets angry about small things. I felt like her anger caused more problems than necessary. And I did think she acted realistic, but I didn’t really like reading about her and felt like she got angry a bit too often. There’s a scene were her anger causes a big problem for them and it just didn’t seem worth it as she was there for something more important and almost jeopardized that. The side characters mostly we don’t get to know too well or they aren’t nice people.

The world building is pretty minimal, we get to know what we need to to understand the story, but I would’ve liked to know more. That might be just me though as I like lots of world building in books. And here there was only the minimum that was necessary to follow the story. It’s a bit of an alternate history type of world, as some things are the same, but there have been wars and events in the past that didn’t happen in ours. I couldn’t get a good grip of what that war actually was about and the empowered their role in all of this. And things like how and why the empowered exists is something we don’t get an answer to either, but I think no one actually knows that. As at the end it’s hinted we might figure that out later in the series.

To summarize: I would recommend this one if you’re looking for a good story driven book with superpowers. I enjoyed reading this one, but the story never fully grabbed me and I wasn’t as invested as I would like. But there were also some really good parts, like the start and the action filled scene at the end and I liked reading about the different superpowers. The main character Mathilda wasn’t a likeable character in my opinion. She did seem realistic, I just didn’t like reading about her as much. She got angry a bit too often in my opinion and about small things as well, there’s even a scene in which her anger caused a problem. I also felt a bit sad about all the plants she had to hurt or kill during the story. There is minimal world building, but there is enough to follow the story. I just like to see the world come alive a bit more and here our knowledge stayed pretty limited. Mostly I did enjoy this one, it just wasn’t as good as I had hoped.


You can also read my review on Goodreads and Amazon.

What kind of superpower would you like to have?

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16 responses to “Review: Empowered Agent by Dale Ivan Smith

    • Teleportation does sound like it would be a real time saver as you can go everywhere instantly. I might continue on with this series as I already have book 2 and I did enjoy it enough and am curious about what happens next. So maybe?

  1. Oh that is too bad that you couldn’t get all the way into this one and she had those anger issues. I’ve run across that a few times. Wish the world building had been explained more for you, too. But still, the superpowers thing and the way they sort people like that sounds interesting. Maybe more about the world and how it came to be will turn up in the next one if you’re pressing forward.

    Well-balanced review, Lola.
    Sophia Rose recently posted…Afternoon Delight: Dragon Soldier by Mell EightMy Profile

    • It was still an enjoyable read, but I couldn’t get full into it. Her angry personality didn’t quite work for me. But the superpowers part was well done and I might continue the series as I already have book 2 as well.

    • Being invisible would be neat! There were still parts I really enjoyed even though it wasn’t fully what I had hoped for :).

  2. I’d love the superpower to mend things so they were as good as new… It seems to me a lot of superpowers are all about destroying stuff – but fixing things is such a cool thing to be able to do. When I saw Fantastic Beasts and watched all those wizards waving their wands and fixing the shattered buildings, I experienced a pang of envy I haven’t felt since I was a small child wishing I could fly (I’ve grown out of that one – I’d spend my time being faaar too cold up there in the sky!).
    Great, balanced review, Lola:).
    sjhigbee recently posted…While the Morning Stars SingMy Profile

    • I totally agree, I think mending or healing things would be so cool and you rarely see that power. I agree I thought it was pretty cool in the Fantastic Beats movie how they fixed things and made them look exactly like they were before. I have a fear of heights so I don’t think flying would be for me. Even in the dreams that I can fly I find it terrifying as well as awesome.

    • It’s difficult to really enjoy a book if you don’t like or can relate to the characters. Being able to stop time sounds like it could be very handy indeed.

  3. Wait I’m so confused. Why do I remember commenting on something a while ago that was also about plant powers? Lol. That does sound sad that she used her power to often hurt/kill the plants though 🙁

    The world sounds interesting at least! I always wanted to be able to teleport. My whole life, I wanted that SO badly. But now I’d rather have telekinesis. That way when I’m tired I could just brings things to me without having to move or get up 😀
    Kristen @ Metaphors and Moonlight recently posted…Book Covers featuring Birds (2)My Profile

    • Yes that was the prequel novella, this is book 1 in the same series. It was sad she so often had to kill or hurt the plants :(. Even though it made sense most of the time, it still made me sad.

      The world building with the superpowers and how the hero council worked was really interesting. Telekinesis would be really handy, but teleportation too.

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