Nancy O'Toole's Reviews > After the Golden Age

After the Golden Age by Carrie Vaughn
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's review
Apr 24, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: library, science-fiction
Read from June 04 to 09, 2011

Being the daughter of superheroes Captain Olympus and Spark has some unfortunate consequences for Celia West. She can't stop getting kidnapped. Every small time crook knows that the best way to get to Commerce City's strongest superheroes is to kidnap their very ordinary daughter. Celia does her best to take the regular imprisonments in stride, and spends her days working as a forensic accountant. Then her very normal job gets her involved in the trail of the century. The defendant is Simon Sito, also known as the Destructor, Commerce City's most infamous supervillian, and a dark figure from Celia's past.

After the Golden Age is a stand alone superhero novel by Carrie Vaughn, best known for the Kitty Norville Series. Before reading After the Golden Age, I had mixed feelings over Vaughn's stand alone work (which includes Voices of Dragons, Discord's Apple, and Steel). The books weren't bad, but none were as emotionally engaging as her Kitty books. Fortunately, After the Golden Age breaks this trend. Although it's true that Vaughn isn't breaking any new ground here, she does seem to have a lot of fun spending time in the world of superheroes.

I like a lot of the things that Vaughn does with After the Golden Age. Much like Joss Whedon took the blonde teenage girl who got killed in every horror film and turned her into a hero, Vaughn takes the token human woman who gets kidnapped in every classic superhero comic, and turns her into a real fleshed out person with her own strengths and weaknesses. Vaughn also deconstructs the concepts of “good/hero,” and “evil/villain” found in classic comics. Although it's true that other works have done the same, Celia's unique position keeps things very interesting. One thing that hasn't always worked for me in Vaughn's stand alone novels is the romance. After the Golden Age breaks this trend by delivering a satisfying love story that build slowly and feels important in the development of the main character, not tacked on. I also need to praise Vaughn for knowing how to write a suspenseful ending. This one had me in tears.

After the Golden Age is a strong work about being human in a world of superpowers. By far the strongest of Carrie Vaughn's stand alone work, I enjoyed it consistently from start to finish and am very happy that I picked it up.

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Reading Progress

06/04/2011 page 95
31.0% "Solid superhero story so far."
06/05/2011 page 193
63.0% "Twist was somewhat predictable, but I'm still enjoying this one quite a bit."
06/08/2011 page 268
88.0% "Coming close to the end"
06/09/2011 page 304
100.0% "I so cried at the end of this. Review coming soon (need to stop blubbering first)."

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