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After the Golden Age Hardcover – April 12, 2011

67 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Vaughn (Discord's Apple) delivers a loving homage to classic superheroes, throwing in layers of darkness and realism while avoiding the cynical satire and deconstruction common in contemporary comics. Forensic accountant Celia West is the powerless and estranged daughter of two of Commerce City's great heroes, Captain Olympus and Spark. When the city prosecutes the evil Destructor for tax evasion, Celia gets pulled in to track down evidence. As a new crime spree creates tension between the city's heroes and the police force, Celia's investigation uncovers long-buried secrets about her family and the city. Vaughn throws in elements of romance and humor, but the drama between Celia and her father really drives the story. The story is very accessible to readers who have never picked up a comic book while boasting plenty of clever in-jokes for fans of golden age superheroics. (Apr.)
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Praise for Carrie Vaughn:

“Brilliantly structured, beautifully written…. Vaughn brings together mythology, fairy tales, and very human lives, immersing readers in the stories these complex characters tell themselves to make sense of their war-torn worlds.”
—Publishers Weekly, starred review, on Discord’s Apple

“Carrie Vaughn weaves a gorgeous tapestry of the human condition in a post-apocalyptic world filled with mystery, magic, and immortals. Her world-building is masterful!”
—L.A. Banks, New York Times bestselling author of The Thirteenth, on Discord’s Apple

“Carrie Vaughn masterfully weaves together comic books, Greek gods, King Arthur, and a world on the brink of nuclear war. Discord’s Apple is phenomenal!” —Jackie Kessler, co-author of Shades of Gray, on Discord’s Apple

“Enough excitement, astonishment, pathos, and victory to satisfy any reader.”
—Charlaine Harris on Kitty and the Midnight Hour
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; First Edition edition (April 12, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765325551
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765325556
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.1 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,340,377 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Carrie Vaughn is the author of the New York Times bestselling series of novels about a werewolf named Kitty. She also writes for young adults (her novel STEEL was named to the ALA's 2012 Amelia Bloomer list of the best books for young readers with strong feminist content), the Golden Age superhero series, and other contemporary fantasy stories. She's a contributor to the Wild Cards series of shared world superhero books edited by George R. R. Martin, and her short stories have appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies. She's a graduate of the Odyssey Fantasy Writing Workshop, and in 2011, she was nominated for a Hugo Award for best short story.

An Air Force brat, she survived her nomadic childhood and managed to put down roots in Boulder, Colorado, where she lives with her fluffy attack dog, a miniature American Eskimo named Lily.

Visit her at

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By EA Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 17, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Imagine if your parents were world-famous superheroes... and you were an accountant with no special abilities whatsoever.

Yeah, the issues resulting from that would be legion. And "After The Golden Age" devotes itself to one such situation -- Carrie Vaughn carefully explores what it would be like to be the powerless child of superheroes, and manages to avoid anything too cartoonish. The characters are well-fleshed out, the writing is strong, and the story is original.

Commerce City is constantly guarded by the Olympiad, headed by Captain Olympus and the beautiful Spark, who protect it from the Destructor and various other supervillains. And since she was born without powers, Celia West (daughter of Spark and Olympus) has spent her whole life being kidnapped, wooed by the enemy, and feuding with her parents. She just tries to be normal.

Now the Destructor is about to be convicted for tax fraud, and Celia is involved in the case -- which is putting some tension between her and her dad. But after Celia's past with the Destructor is revealed, she ends up in a bizarre quest to discover what his true plan is -- and ends up uncovering a retired superhero, the origin of the superhuman powers, and her own "ordinary" abilities.

The plot of "After the Golden Age" is one of those stories that could have gone either way: a bad author would have turned it into a sad cartoonish mess, and a good author could make it an engaging fantasy about what it is to be "ordinary." Fortunately, Carrie Vaughn has definitely achieved the latter -- and I'd love to see it as a graphic novel.

Vaughn experimented with flashback-filled narratives in "Discord's Apple," and she continues to do that here, exploring some of the past history of Celia and the Olympiad in flashbacks.
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24 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE on February 10, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
If Superman and Wonder Woman had a child, you might expect Superboy or something like that. Even if they had no powers - maybe a Batgirl or something. The author here went against the 'conventional wisdom. Celia is the daughter of a Superman (Cpt Olympus) and something like a Human Torch (Spark). She has no super powers, no desire to be a superhero, and her teenage rebellion was being the henchman of a supervillain, just to honk off her father.
Anyhow, Celia grows up and becomes a CPA whose specialty is forensic accounting - sort of like a detective who only does financial records. She tries to live apart from her parents and their super friends. She is working hard to make her own life, but things don't seem to let her - her parents have been `outed,' and everybody knows who they are, and who Celia is. She gets kidnapped a lot.
She gets called in on a tax evasion case against an aging supervillian - the one whom she helped once. Most of the book is about the trial - where she gets outed as once having helped "the Destructor,' the aging supervillian. From there, Celia's life gets turned upside-down, and she has to find it within herself to fix things.

If I go further, I think I might give away a lot of the fun stuff.

Anyhow, the book is a fast read - I got through it in about a week. I liked a lot of the characters - and I liked looking at them through Celia's eyes. If you liked the Disney movie "Sky High," you'll probably like this - but it's not a kids/young adult book. People die (shooting, strangulation, drowning, radiation) - but not very graphically, and mostly `off screen.' One major character dies and although the death is described, it is not excessively violent/graphic. There are corrupt politicians in the story. There are oblique references to characters having intimate relations in the book - but again, nothing graphic.

If you like comic books, and you're looking for something different, this is neat.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By dSavannah George-Jones VINE VOICE on March 7, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Then you'd be like Celia West, the main character in this novel set in a comic book universe and peopled, as expected, by superheroes, villains, humans, cops, politicians, good vs evil, etc.

Celia is the daughter of Captain Olympus and Spark, half of the "Olympiad", the elite group of superhumans who protect Commerce City. She is also a big disappointment - she has no powers of any kind, and in her angst-ridden youth, she actually went to "work" for the Destructor, the Olympiad's great enemy, after of course he kidnapped her.

Now she's a forensic accountant, and the DA asks her to help find evidence to convict the Destructor of tax fraud, since they can't seem to find enough information on his criminal misdeeds to put him in prison. The evidence Celia finds just takes her deeper and deeper into the rabbit hole to very unexpected places. She also keeps getting kidnapped, and has to be rescued by the Olympiad numerous times (sometimes amusing, sometimes just annoying...).

Now to personal opinions on the book: the very unexpected places were interesting and engaging. I enjoyed reading about Celia's thought process and the way she tracked down the leads. The plot was intriguing and interesting, and it was definitely an interesting concept. I also liked how Celia reacted to her kidnappings... I found it to be pretty amusing.

However, there was a lot I didn't enjoy. As another reviewer stated, the book often seemed to fall into a "bratty I-hate-my-parents they-never-understand-me" kind of story - and get stuck there. It also got stuck in the "I-have-to-be-independent I-won't-let-anyone-help-me" mindset, so in places I just wanted to throttle Celia; I was thinking: yeah, we all have parent issues - get on with it.
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