Nobody Gets the Girl
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30 of 33 people found the following review helpful
on August 16, 2003
...I'm thrilled to finally find a superhero novel that is a great read from cover to cover. Nobody Gets the Girl is the best superhero novel ever. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it is a huge hit and will spawn imitators half this good.
It a tough novel to talk about without giving away the plot. There are surprises in every chapter. It's also a tough book to put down. I read the whole book in a weekend and was never bored for a second.
The biggest surprise for me was how funny the book was. The dialogue is sharp and clever. It's the sort of book I keep quoting passages from to my friends.
The only thing that I worried about in the plot is that early on the bad guys are this group of international terrorists. I kind of rolled my eyes at this use of the current pop culture boogey man. But, later in the book the master terrorist get center stage for a couple of chapters and it's one of the biggest surprises of the book that his character is so three dimensional and thought out. These aren't typical cardboard bad guys. The whole book winds up being a kind of critique of the current war on terrorism. The good guys go to such extremes to stop their enemies that it gets difficult to tell whether or not they might be a bigger [danger] than the bad guys.
This book is thought-provoking, action packed, and funny. Highly recommended.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on September 29, 2003
James Maxey paints a colorful, imaginative portrait of an unwilling superhero amid other heroes who have serious issues.
The plot was engaging, the characters interesting if not always likeable, and the moral themes were complex. Don't let the broad heroic strokes fool you - this story has a lot of layers.
There were, however, a few glitches: there's a romantic situation which seems to spring from nowhere, and as a result I really couldn't buy it. Since the romantic situation is closely tied to the overall plot, this created a bit of a problem for me. I also felt the protagonist needed a bit more fleshing out - I felt that some of his actions were out-of-how-I-perceived-his-character; in retrospect I have the feeling that Maxey simply did some mental shorthand that not all readers will grasp.
But don't let those put you off buying the novel - it's a lot of fun, and it'll make you think. I'm looking forward to more of Maxey's work.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on October 14, 2007
Richard Rogers is an everybody: he works at a nondescript job, tries stand-up comedy as a hobby, and is having marital problems. One morning, he wakes up in a world where no one can see or hear him, and after being discovered by super-scientist Dr. Know, he finds himself fighting evil alongside nubile super-heroine-sisters Rail Blade and The Thrill. But in his new life as Nobody, Richard finds that good and evil may not be so easy to identify. Will he make the right world-saving choices ... and get the (right) girl?

James Maxey's debut novel is, overall, a fun, fast read for fans of superhero comics and fiction. That said, the plot jumps around from idea to idea like a drug-crazed ferret, and so much happens so quickly that it's difficult to relate to or empathize with any of the characters. Maxey's writing is workmanlike at best, and I often found myself craving more fine or rich details. Having also just read Soon I Will Be Invincible by Austin Grossman, I'd recommend the latter over this book, as I found it a more comprehensive and better-written homage to the superhero genre.

Recommended as a library loan for fans of light superhero fiction. Two-and-a-half stars.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on September 6, 2003
Nobody Gets the Girl is one of the most interesting and fun books I have read in years. I could not put it down. Very well written and thought prevoking. It has a very good mixture science fiction and comedy with intrigue thrown in for good measure. Even if you are not a comic book fan you will love this book. The characters were life like and appealing. Plenty of plot twists to keep you on the edge of your seat. I highly recommend buying this book. Nobody Gets the Girl is one of the few books I have ever read that I could read over and over. I look forward to reading future works.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on April 9, 2008
Nobody Gets the Girl is a decent comic book novel. For what it's worth, it's entertaining and has somewhat interesting characters although they sometimes get a bit cliche. I don't think the book deserves all of the 5 star reveiews it has gotten on Amazon. Maxey's prose style while serviceable is hardly enthralling. The storyline is solid but not extraordinary. In the end, I would rather have spent my time reading a few good graphic novels.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on July 28, 2003
Kevin Anderson once said that the one of the perks of writing the X-files books was that he got to have an unlimited budget.
Well, James Maxey's gone and one-upped him.

In his debut novel Nobody Gets the Girl, Maxey has not only created a world with characters that special effects budgets could only dream of, he's also given birth to a whole new genre. Phobos calls it a "comic book novel." Or rather, a graphic novel without the graphics. At the beginning, I found myself wishing that I had the artistic talents of Jim Lee or Alex Ross following me along with the text. I have a friend that works at DC, and I started devising ways to slip this book into his bag the next time he came to visit. This should be one of the best comics out there.

And then I realized it couldn't be done.

Because the main character doesn't exist.

Richard Rogers is an average Joe in an average life. Until he wakes up one day and discovers that he's invisible. Scientist Dr. Knowbokov finds Richard and breaks it down for him. He no longer exists. Life as he knew it is gone. So what does he do with his supernatural powers? I mean other than wallow in self-pity. Why, he becomes a superhero, of course. Wouldn't you?

Richard becomes Nobody (thus the title) and joins the cause to save the world from evil. He teams up with Dr. Know's daughters, who have superpowers themselves. Rail Blade has the power of "ferrokinesis" (a fabulous word), which gives her complete control over the iron in everything from the earth's atmosphere to the human bloodstream. Her younger sister, the Thrill, can manipulate both gravity and human will. Oh, yes, and there are bad guys too; they would give the X-Men themselves a run for their money.

It's a whole new world on one level. It's smash-'em-up fun on another. And still there exists that underlying morality that all comics play upon. It is the notion that there can be no true good without pure evil, no peace without war. There is a justifiable reason for things to go wrong in this world, and not even Clark Kent can stop them all. Perhaps that's why we identify with comics so easily. We do all we can to make our own lives turn out all right, but some things in this life -- good or evil -- are simply beyond our control.

If you like comics, buy this book. If you know who Alan Moore is (without me having to tell you), read Nobody Gets the Girl. Throw it in your shopping cart and meet your $... limit. In fact, buy two copies. Or three. I've already given all mine away and ordered more. It's a 244-page summer blockbuster, and you'll enjoy every minute.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on November 1, 2003
This novel has a definite comic-book feel, with larger-than-life heroes, villians and situations... but don't expect the plot or characters to be limited to simple bold colors, there's *lots* of shading here. I must have 'figured out' this novel three times while I was reading it, and I was ever so slightly (but critically) wrong each time. The plot always remained one step ahead of me, with just a *bit* more twist than I expected. I read lots of SF, and seldom find as many genuine surprises as I found in here.
There's also plenty of hard-hitting superhero action inside, including one scene that tops anything Superman (or any nemesis of his) would ever dare attempt... you'll know it when you see it, and it *will* force you to think.
I made the mistake of picking this book up at bedtime, and ended up missing *lots* of sleep. I read it cover-to-cover in one sitting. Open it only when you've got some time to spend!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on January 21, 2011
Superhero fiction is a strange genre. It thrives in comic books and movies, but it doesn't always work in book form. In "Nobody Gets the Girl," James Maxey did a fine job of creating a world where superpowers make sense, villains have personalities and motivations, and the reader gets to think about the ethics of saving the world.

One of the most taunting things about this book is that it's impossible to write a synopsis without giving away the twists and surprises that make it so interesting. In a nutshell, it's about time travel paradoxes, the moral ambiguity of superheroes (as well as complexity of supervillains), and a very dysfunctional super-powered family.

One important caveat that other reviewers haven't pointed out: this book is not suitable for children. If you're a fan of superheroes, comics and all that good stuff, buy the book for yourself, but you might not want to give it to the Junior for his 8th birthday. There are a few chapters that describe characters having sex with saucy detail. Here is just one example: "Her panties were drenched, more with sweat than excitement."

This is Maxey's first novel, and he wrote in just six weeks. It's not clear whether the book is a bit sloppy due to his lack of experience or his self-imposed deadline. ("His goal was to complete the book by New Year's Eve, so that he could claim to have written the last novel of the Millennium," it says at the end.) The book's pacing is awkward: some conversations take up several chapters, while some chapters provide brief descriptions of what the protagonist was up to for several months. It would definitely work if this were a movie, but the constant change of pace is not easy to get used to in a book. The protagonist is a stand-up comedian, and pretty much everything he says is an attempt at a joke. If you don't "get" the author's dry and slightly goofy sense of humor, you might have a hard time reading the dialogs. Finally, there are several secondary characters who are introduced in the beginning, make several appearances throughout the book, and then disappear without a trace or an explanation of any kind. They are not vital to the plot, but I felt a bit cheated when I turned the last page and didn't find all the answers I was looking for.

Because of these minor flaws, I give this book only four stars instead of five. Then again, maybe I'm just being too picky. The bottom line is this: if you like comic books, or superheroes, or time travel stories, pick up this book and you'll get your money's worth - just make sure to keep it away from your kids.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on August 29, 2003
This is an incredible first novel. I can see why it's being billed as "A Comic Book Novel," but I wouldn't want that to put anyone off. Even people who don't read comic books should find this book impossible to put down. The characters are well thought out, both believable and quirky. The action is non-stop. The humor is pervasive. And underneath it all, it's thought-provoking. Get it, and tell your friends about it.
NOTE TO COLLECTORS: This is the first edition of a first novel by a previously unknown but obviously talented author. Need I say more?
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on September 9, 2003
I found this comic book novel to be a wonderful play on the imagination. Humorous, fast-paced, and full of wacky gadgetry galore, I laughed, cried, and wondered my way through this intensely engaging story. Maxey skillfully leads you through an "almost" normal world, populated with some exceptional people. The twists and turns in this plot caught me by surprise every time, until I gave up on trying to guess where it would take me and just rode the roller coaster ride through to the spectacularly odd end.
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