After The Golden Age by Carrie Vaughn

On my last review, I looked at a book with a superhero as the main character, and talked about the sometimes-negative reputation comic books have developed as movie studios have started pumping out superhero films.

This one looks at the “world of heroes” concept from another angle, and one that would make a good film or TV show as well (if it hasn’t already). That’s the viewpoint of the “normal” human among the powered people, and what that means as far as professional and personal relationships.

The main character is Celia West, daughter of Captain Olympus and Spark, the top two heroes in the world. As such, she carries around a name and connection that haven’t made things easy for her in any facet of her life. Not to mention she has been kidnapped so often that its’ almost routine and not really a cause for alarm anymore. This part is admittedly slightly reminiscent of Megamind on first glance, but Vaughn gives it more depth since you’re seeing it from the position of the kidnapped.

After this opening section and introduction of the cast the story really gets rolling. The Destructor, the nastiest supervillain around, is on trial for his various crimes, and Celia has been assigned to the prosecution. The problem is, he knows who she is, and he’s never been one to go down without a fight. Crime is breaking out all over the city as the trial goes on, but Celia isn’t sure he’s the culprit. They have a history together, and combined with her overbearing super-parents, a lot of drama ensues.

Vaughn also introduces some interesting wrinkles to the standard superhero universe that I liked, and the relationships between people seem pretty honest and realistic (for a given value of realistic of people with family issues and heat vision).

In all, I feel that Ms. Vaughn did a fine job with this story. Some of the secondary characters and the wider world might have been sketched out more strongly, but those are relatively minor quibbles, and for the most part everything flows well. I’d be interested in visiting this world again, certainly.

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