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Dreams of the Golden Age Hardcover – January 7, 2014

4.4 out of 5 stars 29 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Sixteen-year-old Anna and her friends sneak out at night to meet up in the park and regularly catch the attention of the police in Commerce City, but they’re not up to no good. They’re practicing their superpowers and training to become a new team of vigilante superheroes. Meanwhile, Anna’s mother, Celia, is trying to rescue the city through more conventional means—namely, her wildly successful development company, currently bidding the city to start a major revitalization project. But when a shell company frivolously sues West Corp to derail their bid, Celia manages to slyly recruit her teenage daughter to investigate the organization with her team, and they discover a new archvillain, the Executive. In this follow-up to After the Golden Age (2011), Vaughan adds a liberal dose of family drama to tried-and-true superhero tropes. Celia’s struggle to balance her life as a mother and a powerful executive is so at the fore that the superhero elements often seem merely incidental, but readers looking for an unusual spin on a mother-daughter dynamic will find a lot to like. --Sarah Hunter


“More than a superhero story, this is a tale of finding your true self and realizing that good and evil often come in various shades.” ―RT Book Reviews, 4 ½ stars, a Top Pick! on After the Golden Age

“Vaughn has written such simple and elegant prose to tell a story of superheroes who are just like regular folk….I enjoyed every minute of being glued to it.” ―Sacramento Book Review on After the Golden Age

“A strong outing...well worth the quick, intense read.” ―Library Journal on After the Golden Age

“A thrilling yarn.... Good old-fashioned comic book fun.” ―Locus on After the Golden Age

“[A] warm homage to and deconstruction of classic comic books.... For readers who admire Lois Lane more than Superman.” ―Kirkus Reviews on After the Golden Age


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; Reprint edition (January 7, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 076533481X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765334817
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.2 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,406,469 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By B. Capossere TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 21, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
Dreams of the Golden Age is the follow up to Carrie Vaughn’s After the Golden Age, to which I have only a middling review thanks to issues of plotting and characterization. While the sequel suffers from some of the same problems, they crop up less frequently and are less problematic. The main character, meanwhile, is a more active and engaging voice and so I found Dreams of the Golden Age to be more successful and thus far more enjoyable.

The sequel picks up a good number of years after its predecessor. At the end of After the Golden Age, Celia had married Dr. Mentis and taken over as head of West Corps. She is now the mother of two teen daughters, one of whom—Anna—will split POVs with Celia for the novel. Unlike her mother, Anna has inherited the family superpower genes, but much to her dismay she has what she considers a near-useless ability—she can locate anyone she concentrates on. Meanwhile, several of her friends (thanks to Celia’s behind-the-scenes manipulation, those likely to have inherited a superpower are clustered together in an elite private school) have come into their own powers and the teens have decided to follow in the footsteps of the now retired Olympiad team of crime-fighting superheroes.

The premise is a wholly engaging one as rather than focus on heroes already in their crime-fighting prime, we see the fits and starts of the beginning of the process as these kids try and figure out the best ways to use their powers, both individually and as a team. And being teenagers, there is a lot of jealousy, sniping, one-upmanship, hurt feelings etc. Anna, for instance, feels next to useless compared to her friends who can shoot laser bolts or control frost a la the X-Men’s Iceman.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I was so happy to revisit Commerce City in this sequel to AFTER THE GOLDEN AGE. However, I had some hesitation. I didn’t want to read a book about a group of idiot teenage superheroes whose parents have to come rescue them. I didn’t want to read angst-filled drama about mother/daughter relationships. I didn’t want to read another superhero book where the whole point is to defeat the nebulous Big Bad.

This book contained all of these things. This book also contained absolutely none of these things.

It is important to note at this point that neither book in this world is a superhero book. They are both female coming of age novels set in a world of superheroes.

There is a group of teenage superheroes, because this novel is about the next generation of multiple families of superheroes. Some of the teenagers are idiots, because they are teenagers. But they are also well-developed characters trying to live up to an impossible legacy. This sometimes gets them into trouble. Again, because they are teenagers. But like all good characters, there is a definite story arc that involves coming to terms with the impossible legacy, and that means learning to work with rather than against it.

A few months ago, I watch the first season on a science-fiction teenage drama and mentioned to my husband that I would have liked the show a lot more without the teenage drama. The mother/daughter relationship in this novel does include its share of angst, but it always maintains a sense of reality rather than going over the top. It was poignant rather than overblown.

And finally, of course there’s a Big Bad. It’s a book about superheroes! But the villain is not always who you think, and sometimes the villain is exactly who it needs to be.
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By Mama Mia on January 27, 2014
Format: Hardcover
I picked up this series because I enjoyed her Kitty books. The Kitty books are fun, but in my opinion, these blow Kitty out of the water. I gave the first Golden Age book 5 stars, and I would give this one 5+ if it was possible.

The author tells the story from the points of view of both the mother and the daughter, and develops both characters so fully and honestly that you aches for them and their struggles. I love the originality of the book as a drama about family and relationshiops and coping with challenges, along with fun sci-fi action, peppered with classic superhero story elements. The writing is mature and the story is both deep and enterntaining at the same time.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I admit with her first book of the "Golden Age" series, I was very tentative, as so many times I've seen people try and write supers books that come from other fictions and just don't get the "hero" part of the story. I was pleasantly surprise, as the book managed to be tough on supers, and yet still tell a good heroic story. I shouldn't have worried so much as I'm also a fan of Vaughn's other works, but you never know when someone can make a mistake with their writing direction. Yet this is, definitely, not the case. While the story is slightly different in tone than the first Golden Age book--it still manages to be a story worth reading set in a superhero world, and about the surprises that exist within.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I love the idea of superhero fiction, but all too often the execution isn't to my taste. Most superhero fiction tends to the dark and gritty and tragic, and I'm not into that. This is the other kind.

The book neatly describes itself in the last chapter: "It was family drama, not superhero mythology". And yet it's more than that sentence implies, as well.

It's a while since I read the first in the series, After the Golden Age. In part, that was because I was waiting for the price to drop (I read more than 100 books a year, so $9.99 for an ebook isn't going to happen, however confident I am that the book will be good). I remember, though, that the first book focussed a lot more on relationships than on superheroics, on the consequences for the family members of the supers, particularly Celia, the non-powered daughter of Captain Olympus and Spark. She kept getting taken hostage, even though that never turned out well for the villains, and as an act of teenage rebellion once became a supervillain's minion.

Here, Celia is a middle-aged mother, bringing up teenage daughters and worrying she's doing it badly (she isn't, in the scheme of things) and that they will develop powers and put themselves in danger (one of them does), and at the same time hoping that her daughter and her daughter's friends will become the next generation of superpowered protectors of the city she loves. Because even if she hasn't inherited the powers, Celia has inherited the obsession with the city that both the heroes and villains born there seem to share.

As in the first book, Celia is a main viewpoint character. The other main viewpoint is her daughter Anna, AKA Compass Rose, who can locate anyone she knows well enough.
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