Book review: “After the Golden Age” by Carrie Vaughn

First, a bit of housekeeping. I once again fell prey to WordPress’ draft/publish problem, and so my post for April 14 didn’t publish as it was supposed to. It’s a funny coincidence that that was actually the first book review I wrote, of Dan Baum’s Gun Guys. Here’s a link to that post.

Now to move onto the actual review.

I actually just finished reading a novel about superhumans, focusing on the offspring of a pair of superhumans named Celia West. She has no powers, but her father is Captain Olympus, a super powerful warrior, and Spark, a woman who can create fire with her hands.

Celia, despite being born to parents of immense wealth, has a very estranged relationship with them, and is making a living at the beginning of the book as an accountant. On the very first page of the book she’s kidnapped, and it happens to her several more times throughout the book, with very little success on the kidnappers’ parts.

She is soon assigned to become the forensic accountant for the prosecution of Simon Sito, otherwise known as the Destructor, and soon Celia finds herself entangled in a pretty wide conspiracy.

While I’ve never been an avid comic book reader, I always do enjoy a good superhero tale, and it’s fun as Vaughn goes into the psyche of some of the city’s other heroes like Breezeway, Typhoon, and the Bullet. I was worried that the origin of their powers would never be talked about, but Vaughn does well in keeping that secret under wraps until the time is right to reveal it.

The one thing this novel really suffers from, though, is predictability to a certain degree. I’ve read enough books, seen enough movies and TV shows, and played enough video games that I was able to almost immediately attune to who the “villain” of the book would be. I knew I was right a little over halfway through the book, and my “something isn’t right” sense of another character also turned out to be correct.

Even the romantic element of the story was fairly predictable early on, and it actually ends in a fairly cheesy way, but it made sense of the characters. I wasn’t a fan of the epilogue-style ending, but it did wrap things up for all of the mentioned characters. I would have liked to go a little more in-depth with some of the things Celia mentions, but it wasn’t up to me to write the novel.

It is ultimately a fun read, and I actually found myself unable to put it down for some stretches. Predictable as it may be, it is a good translation of a comic book into novel format, and I have confidence that there will be even more attempts in the future to make more. I really want to try and read that book called All My Friends are Superheroes, it sounds great.

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