I’m such a super-hero fan. Seriously: Megamind, The Incredibles, all the X-Men movies, The Avengers, Spider-Man, Batman (see? I watch D.C. even if I’m loyal to Marvel) — THE WORKS. I was ridiculously excited to be approved for V is for Villain.
Thank you Disney-Hyperion on NetGalley for the e-ARC! V is for Villain hits shelves on May 20th, 2014.
Brad Baron is used to looking lame compared to his older brother, Blake. Though Brad’s basically a genius, Blake is a superhero in the elite Justice Force. And Brad doesn’t measure up at his high school, either, where powers like super-strength and flying are the norm. So when Brad makes friends who are more into political action than weight lifting, he’s happy to join a new crew-especially since it means spending more time with Layla, a girl who may or may not have a totally illegal, totally secret super-power. And with her help, Brad begins to hone a dangerous new power of his own.
But when they’re pulled into a web of nefarious criminals, high-stakes battles, and startling family secrets, Brad must choose which side he’s on. And once he does, there’s no turning back.
V is for Villain and C is for Cliche, but despite that, I had a great time reading this book! Of all the superhero books I’ve read…none have surprised me. Did X-Men really do it all? Come on! There must be something out there, some tiny itty bitty plot twist we could use that X-Men and the Avengers haven’t already?
I have a complicated love/hate relationship with V is for Villain. On one side: I totally enjoyed reading it. On the other? I was stumped at how it followed the how-to-write-a-superhero-book-formula down to the last dot.
I loved Brad’s voice! He had a really dry sense of humour, which was fabulous to read. The writing was definitely good. Also, Brad leaves footnotes amongst the chapters. These are intensely funny and I loved them. Buuuut, I read it on an iPod/Kindle-app and the footnotes sometimes were explained pages away, by which time I’d forgotten exactly what they were referring to. Confusion there for me.
Brad Baron is our narrator. (Yeah, typical superhero alliterated name.) He’s a puny weakling, no powers except intelligence, overshadowed by the glory of his perfect superhero brother, who’s tired of being trodden on. Sound like anyone you know?
Okay, okay! We get the picture. Calm down with the GIFs.
So Brad is just a wee bit…cliche. Like I said, though, I totally loved his dry narrations. Brilliance.
Other characters? Well, they’re hard to mention because, compared to Brad, they were just pretty pancakes. Layla is the kick-butt, sassy girl-power who helps Brad out when he’s banished to the loser end of hero-school. (Black Widow?) Boots, Javier, and Peanut were the “do the ground work and we’ll probably forget your names” kind of characters. The evil dude? Mutagion? He name sounds uncomfortably like Magneto, but don’t worry! He’s not half so heart-breaking. (Heck yeah Magneto is one of my favourite X-Men! Villains for the win, peoples.)
And Brad’s super-cool-hero-brother, Blake? (You’re killing me with the brother alliterations, but it’s so perfect.) Just think of MetroMan and you’re good to go.
Obviously Brad is going to turn into a villain. (The title says so!) And I do think he made an excellent villain. I was concerned he was being a bit too petty (you know, teenage angst and revenge mixed together) but at the end he did some seriously dubious stuff. Which I LOVED. There’s nothing like writing about a villain and actually making him villainous! Gee, now who sounds like a villainous psycho?
It also made me think a lot: like, can we drive someone to be villainous? It’s their choice, ultimately. But what about circumstances? If Brad had been nurtured and cared for at school (instead of being told he was a loser) would he have been different? What if Blake hadn’t bullied him? What if intelligence had been esteemed rather than dismissed?
I think (but this is totally just my interpretation!) that the author had a go at brains vs. brawn too. This was the only interesting twist that surprised me (and it has to do with Blake and Brad, but I CAN’T SAY DANG IT BECAUSE SPOILERS) was some of the brain vs. brawn conclusion. Do we actually esteem brains these days? The nerds still get bullied and the footballers are still stupid, aren’t they? Dudes, I’m just pointing stuff out, not actually making conclusive opinions and that IS TOTALLY a stereotype there. But it still exists, doesn’t it?
I loved it, but I felt like I’d seen it before. How am I supposed to rate this book?! You’re going to have to read it and tell me your opinions. Seriously, it’s the only answer.
|See? Intense love/hate.|