Reviewing this book makes me feel so nostalgic. Cute Mutants Vol 1 was one of the first books I ever reviewed here on my blog. It was the first time I’d received an arc and immediately fallen in love with it. Now we’re here with Vol 5 and the end of the series (but don’t worry if you want more mutant content! there’s a lot more to this world coming!). This series has such a special place in my heart. Watching these characters grow up, fall in love, face heartbreak, fight in a world full of so much pain, and never giving up was an absolute delight. Vol 5 delivers everything I want from this series – it’s bold, it’s action-packed, and it will break your heart. There’s never been a better time to pick up this series and fall in love with its quirky character voice, found family, casual diversity, and perfect bittersweet moments. These angry, messy queer superheroes will always have my heart.
“This was one more hit in a long and dirty fight. I’m exhausted and useless, but I don’t know how to stop. I’ll keep taking punches until I don’t feel them anymore.”
Everything’s different now.
We’ve still got enemies everywhere, but we finally have the power to fight back.
It’s time to change the world.
No matter what it takes.
The Cute Mutants never get a break as the world once again decides it wants to eradicate mutants. As our favourite characters battle against armed forces, all the while trying to keep the moral upper hand to present themselves as peaceful, the group itself begins to fracture. Cute Mutants Vol 5 tackles hate crime, religious extremist, anti-corporate messaging, liberation and equality, and the climate crisis in one tense, heartbreaking bundle. None of them will ever be the same again.
Dylan is the main character of the Cute Mutants series and will always be one of my absolute favourites. This book is a culmination of their tendency to act-first-think-later. I love how she refuses to be complacent, how he always needs to be fighting for what they believe in and damn the consequences. It’s great to see such an angry, big-hearted queer character who always has to take action. It also doesn’t always work out the best for her. With tensions running high Dylan acts in increasing compulsive ways, isolating himself, and turning back into the all familiar cycle of self-loathing. SJ Whitby isn’t afraid to push their characters to the limit.
I love how SJ Whitby doesn’t shy away from darker themes. Cute Mutants Vol 5 tackles a lot of the topics brought up in earlier instalments in great depth. The impact of living in a world that wants you dead is horrible, and you can see how much the team are impacted by that. They desperately try and help people facing violence due to anti-mutant sentiments and feel extreme guilt when they can’t protect everyone. There’s a continuing discussion about how religion can be wielded by right-wing extremists to further their agendas. On top of all of this, a major subplot of the book is the climate crisis, taking down major corporations, and fighting for the planet. Things aren’t all bad, but this book put my heart through the wringer.
The Cute Mutant in itself struggles through the events of the book. It was so difficult to watch their relationships fracturing under the weight of the world. They’ve been through so much together, and they care about each other more than anything, but they’re still people who make mistakes. Maintaining friendships is difficult enough without the world threatening to destroy you. There were some big mistakes made – friendship ruining mistakes – but we have to trust the team to make it through.
This book was the perfect ending to the series. I cried and I laughed, and I’m so sad to say goodbye to these characters. I know I’m going to be reading everything SJ Whitby puts out in the future. If you ever need a series to prove to you that self-publishing can be high-quality, bold, loveable, and worth devoting the rest of your life to – read the Cute Mutants series.
CW (from the author): alcohol (recreational), hate groups (against mutants), misgendering, religious extremism, guns, graphic violence, gore, physical abuse, murder, death of a loved one.
(Thanks to the author for providing me with an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review)
SJ Whitby lives in New Zealand with their partner, as well as various children and animals. They are predictably obsessed with X-Men and spend too much of their free time writing.
Weapon UwU released earlier this week so there’s never been a better time to pick this book up!
If you want to remember to check out this book you should Add to Goodreads!
You can order the book from major retail sites such as Waterstones!
I’d recommend checking out your local indie bookshop! If you’re in the UK you can use Hive.co.uk!