Jake Stoddard

A year ago, I read Enhanced by Candace Kade and loved it.

In a world where the upper class gives their children superpowers through genetic enhancements, the lower class, with no enhancements, lives in oppression and poverty.

But once the Enhanced claimed power, everything changed.

Then comes Lee Urban, a Natural girl adopted into an Enhanced family. She must find a way to blend in with the Enhanced. If she can’t, she’ll be found out and killed.

Could I wait for the sequel?


Did I jump a the chance to read the ARC (Advance Reader Copy) of the sequel before release day?

You bet I did!


Hybrid is book 2 in the series and Lee Urban is back. She must search for the elusive Hybrid, a genetically unique individual who could bridge the gap between the Enhanced and the Naturals. The search brings her to the Western Federation, where she must avoid political unrest and unknown assassins.

Real family fight for each other. —⁠Everest

Urban also wants to find her biological father and learn why he gave her up for adoption. But doing so runs against the wishes of her adoptive family, and could hurt her more than help.

Sosh and fitting in with the Enhanced are still concerns, but they take a back seat to more society-impacting issues.


I enjoyed the continuation of the story, following up on the loose threads purposely left dangling at the end of Enhanced. Kade brought back all my favorite characters from book 1, although most get less word count this time. There are new things to delve into.

The mystery of the Hybrid was good fun. The Hybrid can change the face of society forever, so every faction on all sides wants the Hybrid, for good or ill. And people are still out to get Urban, too.

I liked the romantic tension between Urban and Everest. Although not the primary plot line, it brought some great emotion and tension to the story. Particularly when a bit character named Ray innocently says: After you race, Everest, we need you two to…

Well, I can’t finish that without a spoiler, so you’ll just have to read it. But there was some build-up to that sentence. I knew it was coming, and then wham! it came.


Urban’s family relationships are significant, too. There was one in particular that I hoped would be developed, and it was. Quite by surprise and quite satisfactorily, too.


Winners make their own luck. —⁠Lee Byronne

Enhanced brought up the theme of identity with: Who am I if I don’t fit in?

Hybrid built on this with: Who is my family? This is central throughout the book.

But like a good chef, Kade sprinkles in tastes of other important themes here and there:

  • The value of hard work.
  • The brevity of life.
  • The nature of bullying and revenge at a societal level.
  • Does the end justify the means?

While not plumbed deeply, these nevertheless give a richer breadth to the story.



Book 2 of a series is always hard, for readers and for authors. For readers because often, it’s been a year since they read book 1. Who’s that character again? What did they do last time?

Similarly, it’s hard for authors because they need to jog readers’ memories of stuff from book 1 without boring them. The reader could have finished the previous book three years ago or yesterday. Serving both readers at once can be a tough juggling act.

Kade did a good job bringing me up to speed without getting bogged down in boring exposition. I had a little trouble remembering the difference between some side characters (Trig and Ash in particular), but the important things were covered just enough to wake my dormant memory neurons.

That said, you don’t want to read this if you haven’t first read Enhanced. Hybrid definitely builds on book 1, and you won’t appreciate the story as much if you don’t have any memories to jog.

Occasionally, I got a lost in action sequences, but they usually read smoothly. Kade herself is an accomplished martial artist, which I’m sure helped her breathe variety and realism into the fight scenes.

Kade balances character and plot beautifully. Sometimes, Urban, her internal struggles, and her relationships take the forefront. Sometimes the deadly attacks and the search for the Hybrid take the limelight. But most of the time, they share the stage, the plot and Urban and her relationships all inextricably linked.


There’s a moment when Urban and Everest are dancing and they mess up and “reset.” I imagine most readers would read right past this without a second thought, but for me it rang of realism. My wife and I ballroom danced for a while, and messing up so bad you have to stop and reset—it’s a thing.

CJ Milacci's interview of Candace KadeCandace Kade was interviewed by C.J. Milacci last October on her first book: Enhanced. In it, Kade revealed that she’s a third-culture kid who grew up in China and moved to Texas at 18. In Hybrid, Urban also travels from the Asian Federation to Texicana (and I believe she was 18 as well). Although I doubt Kade saw rioting when she landed, I can’t help but think that some of the culture shock Urban experienced was inspired by Kade’s own return to the United States.

As an (almost?) third-culture kid myself, I can relate to moving back to the U.S. at ten and not relating to what my peers considered normal. So, this also rang true for me.


Kade brings in some Chinese words and foods, reflecting her connection to the culture. Not having any personal experience with Chinese culture myself, I was glad I was reading on a Kindle (app) where I could easily highlight words to look them up. Getting results on some of them were hit or miss, though. Maybe I should have checked Google for those.

Will You Like It?

This book is for you if you:

  • Read and liked Enhanced.
  • Enjoy sci-fi.
  • Like it when the stories touch on important themes.
  • Have a connection to Chinese culture (or simply like learning about other cultures).

If that sounds good to you, check out Hybrid