I cannot express how sad it makes me to only be giving this book a 3-star review.I loved "No Hero," the previous entry in Bob Moore's series. Aside from one small issue with the writing style, I thought it was a fantastic book, the sort of thing I'm looking for every time I pick up a superhero novel and so rarely feel.Desperate Times, while giving the author more time and space to flesh out everything (or maybe because of it), feels like it suffers from a lack of focus. First, the good: A lot of the secondary characters are really well done. Nissa as Bob's assistant was probably the breakout for me. Her inner strength in dealing with all sorts of trouble is fantastic, her uncertainty as she comes into her powers is realistic and her hurt as Bob basically turns on her made her totally sympathetic. When Bob accidentally sabotaged her in the final fight, I was mad for her.As before, the world of Bob Moore's books is incredible. It's detailed and looks at the idea of superheroes with a critical eye that the comics medium often seems to avoid. It feels huge and fully realized, with a variety of social changes that make perfect sense in a world where superheroes are actually real. It also lends strength to the ideas that tippys have about the problems, purposeful or not, that supers bring. The villain had a fantastic reason for doing what he did without taking away from the horror of what he'd done, which I appreciated.Ted continues to be interesting and quirky - not entirely there, and a little bit creepy, but well-meaning and trying to be a good friend in as much as he is able. His involvement in the final fight and his ability to finally get some of the recognition he believes he deserves.The action is incredible, with the fight/action scenes driving forward with all sorts of momentum. they really kept me engaged as a reader. But there was bad too.First, Bob, for all that he's the main character, doesn't really seem to do very much in the main plot. He spends some time trying to work out what happened to Liz (who gets horribly disfigured off-page, which was disappointing). He spends some time being a dad and wishing he could save Nineteen. But his major contribution to the main plot is bringing Nineteen to the fight. Also - he's a jerk. It feels like he's pretty universally mean to Supers, with two exceptions. But even Ted, ostensibly his friend, Bob is just mean to him. All the time. If a friend of mine treated me the way Bob treats Ted, he'd be an ex-friend. And he's not particularly nice to tippys. It doesn't even really feel like he's looking out for them. He's just pretty mean (and often not nearly as intimidating sounding as I think he's meant to). He's supposedly Liz's friend and the only real thing he does for her is completely ignore her wishes. Hunting down her attackers? It feels like that's for *him*, to let him lash out.He is nice to Nineteen, but there, it almost goes the other way. He's so focused on her that "what the little girl is doing" started to feel like an actual theme.So, with Bob being a jerk and not being heavily involved in what feels like the plot of the book, I was expecting the story to be about Bob growing as a person. But aside from new leg and foot, he feels no different at the end. He's still acerbic, still mourning the loss of his daughter, and I found myself closing my Nook after the last page and thinking - what was the point? He didn't save anyone. He didn't come out better. He drove off friends. I felt let down.The problem I had with No Hero is back here, where every time a new character steps on stage or swaps clothes we're going to get a big block of description. I know some people have a greater tolerance for that than I do but I got to the point I was just skipping the descrips because they were so blocky and long.I will readily admit that a lot of this may just be my problem - that I wanted something out of this book that it never intended to be - and that's fine. And I'll probably be picking up the next book - despite whatever I said, I still enjoyed most of the book and found it to be largely a compelling read. If you liked the first,I highly suggest giving this one a try as well.