Ross's Reviews > Playing For Keeps

Playing For Keeps by Mur Lafferty
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's review
Nov 03, 2008

it was amazing
bookshelves: fantasy, fiction, owned, 2008, 2009
Read in December, 2009 — I own a copy , read count: 3

Please note this book is available for a free download as a .pdf file here. The .pdf also includes a short story that follows the novel: "Parasite Awakens". You can also buy this book from .

Hang on to your tights and secret identity! Playing for Keeps by Mur Lafferty is an imaginative and entertaining new superhero story that will leave you looking at caped crusaders in an entirely new way.

The story revolves around Keepsie Branson, a bar owner in the shining metropolis of Seventh City, the birthplace of superheros. Keepsie is also one of the group collectively known as the "Third Wavers", those second-generation super-citizens whose powers were not strong enough to make the cut as a Superhero Academy-recognized Hero. Only recognized heroes are allowed to use their powers to stop crime, and furthermore, the majority of them are just plain jerks. The Third Wavers try to get by as ordinary citizens, but there's a fair amount of friction between them and the holier-than-thou heroes of the Academy.

When some super-villains come back into town and try to manipulate Keepsie and her special power to help them accomplish their agenda, Keepsie and some of her fellow Third Wave friends find themselves caught in the middle of a city-wide war between egotistical heroes and cold-hearted, manipulative villains.

This book is a real treat. The plot moves along rapidly, carrying the reader along for a great ride through the creation and evolution of the hero culture in Seventh City. The resentment the Third Wavers feel for the heroes adds another dimension to the story, and as the plot unfolds and the characters are drawn further into the tangle of lies and deception that lay beneath the superhero regime, one gets a peek at the political and sociological elements that run beneath the surface of the novel.

The characters themselves have more depth than one might expect from a superhero story, too. Lafferty does a great job of defining truly distinct personalities for almost all the players of the novel, each guided by their own thoughts and emotions. The dialog further aids in bringing the characters to life, drawing the reader into the world of Heroes and Villains, and the grey area that exists in between.

There is some adult language and content, so I can't say I'd recommend this for anyone under about 14-15 years old. However, the book really is a page-turner, and if you're not careful, you'll find yourself staying up all night to find out exactly how it all will end.

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