After the Golden Age

Posted: April 12, 2012 in Reading

I’ve been on fire with my reading count this week. Two and a half days to finish After the Golden Age by Carrie Vaughn.

This book caught my eye with the cover sitting on the shelf at Books-a-million on the last book run. A lot of their SF/F section is high fantasy and space opera and sitting in between starships and swords, a red clad super hero. So right in the title, duh, golden age. The world and certain points of the plot harken back to classic comic book tropes. Think classic Superman or Batman. Ok sounds done to death a bit though, I mean… it’s not like someone needs to be a big comic nerd to know what’s going on with that sort of thing. Think again.

What’s awesome about this book is that it plays with the point of view. I love that kind of stuff. Some of my favorite books and some of the most fun things to write play around with different POVs. This book follows Celia West, daughter of Commerce City’s foremost super hero husband and wife team, Captain Olympus and Spark. What does she do? Nada. Ziltch. Ziparooni. Not exactly easy to be the kid of a super hero. It leaves some trauma but Celia’s tough and is making her own way in the world, having gone through college and working as a forensic accountant. She likes her job, she’s good at it, but her parent’s arch enemy gets pulled in for a little Al Capone. And what do you do when the Destructor’s books need to be looked at? Poor Celia gets sucked back into the world she tried to get away from. Secrets get aired and the city is in peril. ‘Course it is. Now what’s Celia gonna do about it without a scrap of super powers?

Well I’m not going to tell you that part, you’ll have to read it yourself. Let’s talk about the goings on in the book. Like I mentioned before, a lot of Commerce City seems familiar. Captain Olympus and Spark aren’t edgy modern comic heroes, even though we do get to see them as real people with flaws when they are in their Warren and Suzanne mode. Celia is between the worlds here. She’s related to Captain Olympus and Spark, hangs out with Typhoon, but she’s not really a part of the supers community. But secret identities were revealed ages ago, so everyone knows the Celia West and just wants to know what it’s like to be related to all the heroes. Her point of view as an outsider shines a bit of light around the corners of the ‘golden’ world.

So the story is very classic in its nature. I picked out the gist of what was going to happen around Act 2. I didn’t really have much of a problem with this though. Using the comic conventions and setting kind of offset that for me. It’s like when Superman was throwing down… yeah you know it was probably Lex Luthor, but it’s the how and the details in between that get you hooked. Same deal here. I guessed right, but there was more to it than just that one bit I could pick up on, the how and the details are what keep the story moving along here. The end was a touch abrupt for my tastes but I still walked away satisfied from this one.

Next up… The Quantum Thief by Hannu Rajaniemi.

  1. […] making overpowered characters. Overpowered characters equal uninteresting characters. Vaughn wrote After the Golden Age which I read earlier this year, so she’s got a deft hand with […]

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