Seth Harrington can be invisible or undetectable, but he is not a superhero. The ability only works in morally grey situations; the rest of the time, he can't turn it on and off at will. He can use a movie ticket stub to buy a coffee or a one-dollar bill to pay for a cell phone. He can stop muggings in plain sight, unseen, but only with worse violence. But this only adds to his confusion about his place in the world. Still reeling from the horrors of the September 11 terrorist attacks and ambivalent about his future, Seth is at a crossroads: Can he be one of the good guys by doing bad things, or are his new found powers part of someone else's malevolent agenda? There are no easy answers or expected outcomes in Marshall Moore's exploration of urban life and the ways that people can disappear.
With all the media about superheroes and superpowers these days, it was completely refreshing to come across Bitter Orange. Never once have I thought about how different it would be to have a superpower that you could only use to do bad things. A big bonus to this was that invisibility is my own personal superpower of choice. Oh come on, you know that you've at least one time thought about what power you would choose if given the chance. I always choose invisibility, so being able to watch Seth deal with this was even more fascinating to me.
I loved the inner struggle of Seth Harrington as he tried to understand his new powers. He wasn't a bad person, but the lure of his ability got the better of him. He needed to test it and that meant trying out some not so great tasks. He paid for things with less money than owed, or sometimes he didn't even use money and paid with receipts. He stole, got in fights and even spooked around a few houses (one of my favorite parts). But through it all, he still had a likable personality and this made it easier to forgive him when he misbehaved.
Aside from his new mysterious powers, Seth is struggling in many other ways. He is still coming to terms with having lost a friend and career to 9/11, his friend Elizabeth refuses to accept that he is not interested in her sexually, and he is developing a crush on his roommate, Sang-hee. He is also working towards a degree and injured in a car accident. Now probably isn't the best time for these powers to come into play, but he works with it the best he can.
When it comes to surprise twists, I'm not easily fooled. Usually I can figure out the ending of a book long before I get to it, but that was by far not the case with Bitter Orange. The last ten percent of this story just blew me away and had my heart pumping heavily. I was shocked at the truth of Seth's powers and the ending was just incredible. I didn't see it coming and I didn't want it to end. I need more!
Overall, Bitter Orange was a fantastic read. Seth's story is darkly humorous and captivating. I highly recommend it to fans of adult fiction, paranormal, and dark fiction.
For more about Marshall Moore and Bitter Orange, visit his website here.
*I received this book for free in exchange on an honest review. This did not influence my opinion in any way and all views and opinions expressed are 100% my own.