Susan Bischoff

Books: Fantasy | YA

Talent Chronicles: Hush Money (2010), Impulse Control (2011), Heroes ‘Til Curfew (2011)


Kiss Me, Kill Me: A Paranormal Anthology (2011)  

Talent Chronicles

Hush Money (2010)

Several months ago I read the story Impulse Control, set in the same world as Hush Money, and really liked it. So I bought Hush Money, and then kept thinking, "I don't think I want to read this right now."

I don't know why I do these things.

Something happened, a kids started being born with "Talents"–the ability to do amazing things: Strength. Invisibility. Telekinesis. Mind Control. But the government didn't like this, and soon the kids who manifested these abilities were locked up. Put in a special school where they could be "trained" and where they would no longer be a "threat". So kids hide their abilities from the government–and each other.

Joss has a Talent, and her parents are doing everything they can to keep her safe and hidden. Be average. Don't stand out. Don't be noticed.

Unfortunately, several people seem to want to pull Joss out of the shadows: Marco–the boy who has tormented her every since she turned him down. Kat, the new girl at school who doesn't understand why Joss hides. And Dylan, Marco's seemingly best friend.

This reminded me a great deal of Rising Stars, especially the inability of the government to know how to deal with these children. So far, kids with Talents have a pretty bum deal if they're found out, which is why they try so hard to hide.

Impulse Control is set inside one of these schools/prisons. Hush Money is set on the outside, with a group of kids who desperately don't want to end up on the inside.

Both are very very good. You can grab Impulse Control for free for the Kindle, to see if you're interested in Hush Money.

Published by Amazon

Rating: 8/10

Impulse Control (2011)

impulsecontrolThis is an introduction to Susan Bischoff's Talent Chronicles series. It's a self-contained story that gets you into the writing and the world, but is quite separate from the books (at least for now).

I'm a fan of short stories, and this one is very well done: it has world building that draws you in immediately and explains as it goes along. It's complete and full story arc, but one that makes you want to know more about the world.

Ethan is a Talent, a teen with special powers who has been discovered by the NIAC and sent to a special school where he is forbidden contact with anyone from the outside world. He has spent most of his life there and unlike some kids who were discovered as older children or teens, has almost no memories of the outside world.

Because these teens are so isolated from everything else, they are very close with each other (helped by some of the powers different teens have), and Ethan has a sibling-like bond with Karen, who is the single person that kept him from being sent Delta facility (which is even worse than where they are).

This is a very good story, in a fascinating world.

Also, last I checked, this was still free for the Kindle.

Rating: 9/10

Heroes ‘Til Curfew (2011)

heroes-til-curfewThis is the second book in the Talent Chronicles (and sadly, the last one available) and a follow-up to Hush Money, a YA book where children and teens with Talents are taken by the NIAC and put into special schools where they are "protected" from society (but in reality are isolated from the outside world and trained to be government operatives). It's also in the same world as Impulse Control, which, last I checked, as still a free download.

The point of view switches primarily between Joss and Dylan, with occasional peeks at Marco. Joss has the power to move things with her mind, Dylan has the power of camouflage, and their friends (also in hiding) have various powers, some of which are useful, some of which are–at least on their face–not very useful (animating inanimate objects, causing plants to grow).

Because it's a YA, it is full of teenagers, but they are very well done teenagers.

"You know, I think I took a blow to the head last night." I reached up and rubbed at my skull, partly just to hide how red my face was. "The part of my brain that's supposed to keep me from saying stupid stuff is damaged."

I should get points for not saying every dumb thing that pops in my head.

Well, okay, those things aren't limited to teenagers.

One of the things I particularly like is that 1) there is not an absence of adults in the story and 2) the adults are complicated. Both Joss' father and Dylan's mother have done things that are not particularly good parents. But they're trouble in a very human way–ones that are quite separate from their children's troubles, although as happens everywhere, that doesn't mean those children don't blame themselves.

I also am fascinated by the world that has been built. Because we are dealing with teenagers, who live in the here and now, we don't know what caused the US to lock these children with Talents away from society–we only see things as they are, and have to accept that the world is this way. But what is frightening is that it's not very hard to imagine how this situation came to be.

One important note. There is a sexual assault in the story. This might be upsetting to some readers, but the scene is very well-written, and the aftermath is also very well done. It's hard to read, but it is also well-worth reading.

This is another very good book, and I'm sorry to see there is no forthcoming book available for pre-order, because I really like this series.

Rating: 9.5/10


Kiss Me, Kill Me: A Paranormal Anthology (2011)

Definitely a mixed bag. But for 99 cents, it's hard to complain too much.

"Impulse Control" by Susan Bischoff was very very good. It's about teens with superheroes in a "school" for kids with "Talents". Or more accurately, it's little better than a prison for kids who did nothing more than happen to be born with special powers–a prison where they either tow the line or become medical experiments. What I found most interesting is that I can easily see how such a school might come to exists. People are scared of those that are different, and being different AND dangerous allows people to justify a whole lot of really awful stuff.

But I have to say that for the price, I really can't complain that much.

Rating: 6/10