In 2020, J. M. Joseph introduced the world to the ‘hottest’ accidental superhero, and Aidan Sweeney, better known as Fire Boy, is back in another sizzlingly hot adventure. If you haven’t read the first book in the series, then seriously, why not? And secondly, it is best that you do as the action picks up exactly where the first story left off.
Aidan Sweeney, aka Fire Boy, has mastered his fiery superpower and is loving his life as the star of Zarathustra’s Travelling Circus. Life still has it’s challenges though, people are determined to unmask the identity of Fire Boy, he is about to be left behind as the circus heads off on tour and his Granny is still acting like a she-bear.
When American theatre producer Max Goldman offers the circus troupe the chance to take their act to America everyone is excited. But with a super-villain on the loose and newspaper reporters desperate for a good story, can Fire Boy keep his identity hidden and stop the super-power inducing sweets falling into the wrong hands…
J. M. Joseph is quickly establishing himself as a brilliant writer of comedy and Pants on Fire is a rip-roaringly funny read about a trio of close friends, super-powers, circus stars, secret agents, a cat who can turn into a tiger, a millionaire, villains, a very feisty and rather reckless Granny and a jar of sweets that everyone wants to get their hands on. Exploding with energy and fizzing with fun, the story bounces along thanks to plenty of action, bags of humour and wit, and a narrative that merrily skips between the serious and the silly.
Joesph knows how to ‘fire’ up the imaginations of his target audience and fills his story with short and punchy chapters complete with funny chapter headings and doodles, lists and newspaper stories. And as for the story itself…brilliantly bonkers. You’ll be laughing a lot - my sides were splitting and my belly was aching after I had raced through all three-hundred-and-eighty-four-pages.
Much like the first book, the premise is straight forward. Villains with their own dangerous plans are determined to track down Aidan and his friends in order to gain the power-inducing sweets and then wreak havoc on the world. Although the villain this time is not so obvious and this reader, just like Fire Boy, was left in shock as the events unfolded and the true intentions of everyone became clear. It all culminates in a fitting and flamingly hot finale.
Aside from superpowers, villains and a nut-case Granny, the story is about three friends who look out for each other which is very handy for Aidan as trouble seems to follow him where ever he goes. And this time around friendships are tested as Delilah Jones has her sights firmly set on becoming Aidan’s new bestie. It turns out that when you own the world’s most powerful sweets people suddenly want to befriend you but as Fire Boy discovers, there is no substitute for a true friend.
A fantastically funny and fiery follow-up and I cannot wait for the third and final instalment.
Recommended for 9+.