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Enemies & Allies: A Novel Hardcover – May 5, 2009

4.1 out of 5 stars 157 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Anderson's latest is a hokey, contrived imagining of the first meeting between Batman and Superman, set during the thick of the cold war and hobbled by flat characters and flatter dialogue (My source was murdered shortly after she spoke with me. That tells me that Luthor must not have wanted her talking). The two superheroes are initially introduced when Clark Kent interviews Bruce Wayne for a feature in the Daily Planet, and their alter egos cross paths again as Batman and Superman are drawn into Lex Luthor's dastardly scheme for world domination. (It involves the Soviets and Death-ray transmitters.) To stop it, Batman and Superman embark on a ludicrous globe-trotting mission that's equal parts camp and Forrest Gump. A schlocky mediocrity for die-hard fans only. (May)
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Review

Positioning all the superpowered heroics squarely between the era’s futuristic optimism and postwar paranoia, this is a refreshing diversion from the grimness of The Dark Knight or the tedious Superman Returns. Injects a welcome dose of retro exuberance into the capes-and-tights routine. (Kirkus Reviews)

“Anderson keeps us guessing throughout with cleverplot twists and some intriguing alternate cold war history.” (Booklist)

“The X-Files is a true masterpiece. There’s no more challenging series on television, and as a bonus, it’s also brainy fun.” (Los Angeles Times)
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow (May 5, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061662550
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061662553
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (157 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,192,533 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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By S. Nichols VINE VOICE on April 23, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Once in a while I like to read something out of my comfort zone. This month Kevin J Anderson was good enough to supply me with a book way, way out of my comfort zone. I received a copy of his soon to be released Enemies & Allies, a novel in which The Dark Knight meets The Man of Steel. I have never read a Graphic novel nor have I read a comic book since grade school, but being a big fan of Batman I was delighted to have a chance to read this book.

Anderson sets his story in the 1950's, which adds to the book's charm and character. The plot centers on the two super heroes learning to trust each other in order to stop evil Lex Luthor and a General in Stalin's Russia. I personally liked Anderson's Cold War inclusion, it made the plot believable. Anderson moved the story right along, there never seemed to be a point where the plot dragged.

Though the book Enemies & Allies is not advertized as a young adult novel, I did wonder more than once, if this book was written for 11 year old male readers. The text can be overly simplistic, and the dialog seems to be lifted from older comic books. My 17 year old son read the book the same week as I and found though he liked it, he too wondered what age level Anderson was going for.

The most intriguing aspect of Anderson's book is the development if Batman. Though some of the back story seems to be lifted from the movie Batman Begins, I found Anderson's explanation of why Batman does what he does satisfying. I can not say the same for Anderson's Superman; here Superman comes across as slightly arrogant. The first time we read about Superman saving people Anderson writes "Although it was difficult to show modesty after carrying a giant passenger ship across the sky, the Kents' had taught him to be humble".
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While not as ambitious and sure-footed as his novel about Superman's home planet, "The Last Days of Krypton", Kevin Anderson's "Enemies & Allies" is a fun little read about Superman and Batman taking on Lex Luthor in the 1950's. And "fun" is the key word here: encompassing the arms race, the flying saucer craze, a giant Kryptonite meteor, evil Soviet generals, mutant monsters, a megalomanical plan for world domination, and a host of other real-world and fantastical elements, the book's aim is to emulate classic comic-book story telling at its best. And it largely succeeds.

While "Enemies & Allies" might have been a bit more fun if Superman and Batman had established their famous alliance much earlier in the book, I recognize that this is basically Kevin Anderson's take on the origin of that fabled team. So he needed to show all the steps: how these very different personalities initially distrusted one another; then reluctantly worked together on an occasion or two; and, finally, established mutual trust and cameraderie. So, even though I was five steps ahead of these characters and knew that they'd eventually become friends and allies, it was still fun to see the individual steps occur.

Pop culture fans will also enjoy Mr. Anderson's little nods to previous Batman and Superman stories in other media. For instance, Superman's crystal-shard Fortress of Solitude is right out of the 1978 Richard Donner movie, and Batman actually uses the famous preparing-the-Batmobile spiel from the character's 1960's TV series: "Turbines to power! Atomic batteries to speed!" It's also kind of neat that Bruce Wayne enjoys Ian Fleming's James Bond novels, and uses many of Fleming's ideas in the gadgets he constructs.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I only read two chapters and so far very smooth, enjoying it immensely and can't wait for the story to build. So far just an intro to bat man and second chapter on clarky. No spoilers other than that. The story seems very smooth and easy to read, good teen to adult book, for any vampire diaries, percy jackson, stephen king gunslinger or harry potter fan, that's what I more or less read oh yeah and Tolkieen, hobbit books. I might come back when I'm done and change this review but as for right now it's four meaning very pleased and fun to read. Oh let me add the only qualm so far is he calls bruce wayne a millionair instead of billionair and makes it sound like he's only inherited a few million dollars when we all know he's beyond rich in every other story. I'll live with the millionaire comment though since it's good otherwise. Superman and Batman too Cool.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Parts of this book were very entertaining, clever and endearingly faithful to the Superman/Barman mythology. A great deal of this book, however, read as if it were targeted to 10 to 12-year olds. It felt as if the author used a ball-peen hammer to make certain statements which were clearly obvious; many of these attempts were painful to read. It became increasingly uneasy for me to continue reading this book; it read as if there were at least three authors who collaborated on this book - and who decided to forego utilizing an editor.
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No, not a lot of dreary monotonous references to Bruce Wayne's parents death. Just enough when they make sense to be a part of the story. Crisp writing, good descriptions, everyone from the heroes to the supporting cast to the villains acting in character.
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