By Cynthia Bujnicki
The Maasai Mara Sleeping Syndrome has no cure; it catches the victim, lures them to sleep and then to death. On the same night it wipes out an entire homeless shelter, seventeen-year-old Harper stumbles across a figure in the dark, a glowing figure right on the outskirts of her neighborhood. Moreover, as her suburb goes on lockdown, her world gets turned upside down, and she gets launched into an adventure that will take her to other worlds.
You know, I am a big fan of invasion lit, sure some books are not so great, but at least they have the action in them to at least keep the story exciting and, unfortunately, Potency is no such novel. I honestly fully expected to love this novel by the synopsis, and the opening chapters of the novel, the tension, and mystery built up in those opening chapters in incredibly riveting, the characterization. The family dynamics are relatable as Harper and her mother fight constantly and she and her brother do not seem to get along either. Classic favoritism, really, but they are realistic and work well for the story.
However, once the aliens come and grab her and reveal a big part of her identity to her, the novel slows down incredibly. It is simple; the novel is too long. At 620 pages, my goodness, it was long, and I have no problem with long books, but the problem with this novel being so long is the fact that it becomes all about information, it becomes all about what Harper has to learn. There is so much detail, and so much exposition that it makes the novel boring, it makes it completely uninteresting. When it comes to world-building, I can understand where the author is coming from, Hadley wants the reader to know the world, this world that Harper is discovering at the same time as the reader. However, there is so much of it that it becomes repetitive, and most of it is not essential. These are all elements that can be explored as they become necessary to the story; not everything has to be unloaded on the reader all at once; all it does is drag the story down.
This is also about the same time that Harper becomes boring. It goes towards the exposition. If you are a fan of so much exposition, then this is the book for you, but if you are expecting the typical alien invasion lit, then this is not going to fill any of those expectations. To be blunt, it was just dull, not much happened and the character growth was just as limited since most of the story is about Harper understanding this new world that she is in. (★★☆☆☆ | C-)