The fourth book in the Wearing the Cape series, Young Sentinels continues the adventures of Astra the world's most powerful nineteen-year-old. When last we left our heroine, she was stepping into the role of being the world's most powerful hero, period. This book examines the fact she's still a very young woman, barely an adult, and how other superhuman teenagers are reacting to their powers.
The continued development of Astra is handled throughout the book, including a shocking twist where she's forced to confront a situation where her powers are useless. I was disappointed with the developments regarding her relationship with the superhero Seven, hoping it would develop into something more. Most of what I liked in this book is her relationship with Shelly, the superheroine Galatea.
Young Sentinels introduces a number of new characters to the mythos as well, my favorites of which being Megaton and Ozma. Megaton is a typical teenaged boy, contrasting strongly against Astra and possibly her future love interest. Ozma is another fictional character come to life, this one being the titular Empress of Oz.
As a fan of the Oz books when I was a child and teenager, it was nice to have someone remember the Empress existed. The Ozma of Young Sentinels is a significantly darker character than the one from the books. Ozma merrily turns anyone who offends her into a hat for a short while and is believed to conquer Kansas in the future. As a result, everyone is treating her like a ticking time bomb--a quality she handles with royal aplomb.
The book introduces a number of new villains to the series as well, including the Green Man (possessing powers similar to the Floronic Man x10) and a group called the Wreckers. We also get a new mastermind to replace the Teatime Anarchist. I won't spoil the new villain's identity but I was underwhelmed--I wanted more insight into their motivations as well as plans.
If there's a flaw with the books, I'd have to say we don't get as much insight into the "regular world" which was the big appeal of the previous volumes. What separates the series from a comic book is the insight into the lives of the characters. This book is mostly action sequences and battles between heroes versus villains.
In conclusion, Young Sentinels is a good read and enjoyable but not amazing. It's mostly set-up for future volumes and fight scenes. Sadly, by being more like a comic book, the novel cripples its ability to live up to the full-potential of its medium as previous works did. Despite this, it's really fun to read. Fans of the series should pick it up for this reason alone.