Title: Black and White
Author: Jackie Kessler and Caitlin Kittredge
Series: The Icarus Project #1
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Science Fiction, Superhero Fiction
Publication Date: June 23, 2009
From Goodreads: It's the ultimate battle of good versus good.
They were best friends at an elite academy for superheroes in training, but now Callie Bradford, code name Iridium, and Joannie Greene, code name Jet, are mortal enemies. Jet is a by-the-book hero, using her Shadow power to protect the citizens of New Chicago. Iridium, with her mastery of light, runs the city’s underworld. For the past five years the two have played an elaborate, and frustrating, game of cat and mouse.
But now playtime’s over. Separately Jet and Iridium uncover clues that point to a looming evil, one that is entwined within the Academy. As Jet works with Bruce Hunter—a normal man with an extraordinary ability to make her weak in the knees—she becomes convinced that Iridium is involved in a scheme that will level the power structure of America itself. And Iridium, teaming with the mysterious vigilante called Taser, uncovers an insidious plot that’s been a decade in the making…a plot in which Jet is key.
They’re both right. And they’re both wrong. Because nothing is as simple as Black and White.
Black and White is the perfect superhero read; it has two awesome female super-powered heroines, Jet and Iridium, a battle between good and evil that often blurs into gray, and tons of cool super powers and action. I'm definitely a comic book fan so when I found out about this book after researching superhero fiction, I was excited yet unsure if it would be as fun as a comic book. It is.
The book is split between two time periods and two points of view. The story alternates between Jet and Iridium. Jet is a hero for the Corps with the power of Shadow, she's a goodhearted, shy and a very good super hero. She genuinely cares for others and follows the rules to a fault. She never questions authority. This is the downside to Jet; she often doesn't think for herself. This didn't make me like her less, though, since she is so well drawn by the authors that she seems like a real person with real faults. Then there's Iridium, a childhood friend of Jet's with the power of Light. She's not working with the Corps and is considered a rabid - a hero that's gone rogue. I think I liked her the best because of her smarts, toughness and overall want to not just follow rules but question them when they don't make sense.
Half the story takes place in the past, during the the teen-aged years of our heroines at the Academy. The Academy is a school for the kids with powers where they learn to use them and also where they learn to market themselves as a hero for when they graduate. The part about the school sounds cliche, but Kessler and Kittredge add their own spin on it: the Academy also teachers the young heroes how to market themselves, create a brand and get sponsors to fund their career as a super hero. The other part of the story takes place in the present, where Jet has graduated the Academy with flying colors and Iridium has become a rogue. Kessler and Kittredge are great at blurring the lines between hero and villain and challenges many ideas about what a hero is.
The story is much deeper than superheroes and superpowers. The setting is the 22nd century and the way superheroes emerged is very well thought out and scientific. I thought it was much like a dystopia that gives us a way in which superheroes could have possibly been developed. This is enhanced by a fast-paced and action packed mystery.
I really loved Black and White and I highly recommend it. It's safe to say it has something for everyone. The story continues in the second installment, Shades of Grey, which I have already picked up! A+