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Secrets of a D-List Supervillain Kindle Edition
|Length: 208 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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Secrets doesn't stand up on its own. You'd be strugglin' if you dive into this one without having read Confessions. Much of the book is a series of flashbacks. Cal Stringel, some say he's a poor man's Tony Stark. I liken him more to one of Spidey's longstanding but minor adversaries, the armored villain known as the Beetle. If you haven't read Confessions yet (but why would you read this review?), here come the ***SPOILERS*** for it. Confessions chronicled Cal's uneasy journey from petty crook to reluctant government-sanctioned superhero. By the end of Confessions, the world believed Cal had died, having nobly sacrificed himself to save Los Angeles. By the end of Confessions, his once significant other, the superheroine codenamed Aphrodite (but let's call her Stacy), had recovered from her memory wipe. She went looking for her old beau.
Thru flashbacks, Secrets covers the missing year that span the few weeks (months?) that led to Cal's faking his death to when Stacy Mitchell tracked him down. As Stacy and Cal reconnect, the flashbacks are triggered by Stacy's persistently pressing Cal to fill her in on the behind-the-scenes details that were glossed over in the first book. And when Cal isn't busy catching up Stacy, there are scenes in present time that advance the plot, even if glacially.
I would've been okay if this volume never existed. But it does, and, so, I appreciate Secrets as a companion piece to Confessions. Secrets fleshes out a number of scenes and events in Confessions that, frankly, may not have required fleshing out, and, yet, I'm glad for it. Bernheimer explores more of that unique dynamic between Cal and high-profiled superheroine WhirlWendy, who happens to be his boss AND inadvertent baby mama. Honestly, WhirlWendy is a more interesting character than Stacy, and I feel for those who ship our guy and WhirlWendy. Face it, folks, it ain't gonna happen.
What else during the unaccounted twelve months? We're made privy to how Cal eventually resurrected his robot friend, Andydroid, and how Cal "recruited" a villain or two to his side. We track the painstaking development of what would become the world's most potent armor. We see how Cal built up his badass rogue strike team. We're given cute scenes of Cal hanging out with his baby. I can't wait until Gabby grows up enough to have an exchange of dialogue with pops. For now she just poops.
There are ample moments for Cal to reflect on this and that. The exposition overflows. But interspersed thru all the navel gazing are occasional action beats that remind us of how clever and capable Cal can be in a fighty fight. It's cool that Stacy once again appreciates what Cal has to offer on a personal level, how his steadfast belief in her, in turn, feeds into her believing that she can be more than she is. As Aphrodite, Stacy ranks as one of the weakest crimefighters in her team, the Olympians. Thanks to Cal, that scenario gets flipped abruptly.
Cal Stringel is as snarky as ever. I love his biting sense of humor. He's as fight the power as ever. In flashbacks, see him look under every rock in his search for precious synth-muscle. Bernheimer indulges some in "a day in the life" storytelling, in which case, see Mechani-Cal chill at his secret lair and change diapers and sate his engineering jones and play video games with his crooky friends. See WhirlWendy storm in and out and trade exasperated banter with our dude. See Cal as he, maybe without intending so, build a family out of a group of misfits and miscreants. This book does okay in tiding me over until the fourth one comes out.
Confessions of a D List Super Villian is one of my favorites. This book is a good successor to the original title.
Many times someone will write a follow up to a book that is a hit with crap. This isnt the case here.
The book isnt the first, but the character is good, the development is good and I definitely am vested to the main character. This story line gives you more about the character and its motivations.Its like the first book is a great story and an overview of the character. It doesn't tell you how the person started, you just get snippets about. how he wound up where he was at the current time, but the follow up books bring Cal (the main character) into more granularity.
And its a good thing.
You get the details about the character and what motivates him beyond just the persecuted nerd complex that is so prevalent through the first book.
It really is a fun read.
If you havent read the first book, do it.
Have found myself wanting the next in this series already, never thought that this character or its book would prompt that reaction in me, but it did.
The first book was an encapsulated story from beginning to end, the second was a prequel to the first book. The third is rather an overlay to the first book providing more details to the story and character in the first book. Confusing yes, but the author makes it work.
Think of it as this book being the main character explaining in more detail the events of the first book, concurrent to something happening in the current timeframe. Thats the cliffhanger part at the end of the book.
Read it. You will thank me
Cal is back and this novel proves without a doubt that our intrepid author will be leading us through a very strange world with Calvin's continuing tales.
This story takes the main characters from Confessions and does extensive world-building with them to help round out the universe. Most of the novel is set on building the characters and creating a cohesive whole that allows Calvin and the Reinforcements to launch themselves into new adventures. Unfortunately this means that in terms of timeline this story doesn't cover much more than the original novel. This book doesn't even cover as much as the prequel Origins because most of the scenes deal with events that readers "know" have occurred but that happened off page if you will.
Bernheimer's "voice" is still just as good and the entire romp is sprinkled with the off beat humor that made Cal such a lovable supervillain in the first place. This book is much more character driven than the original of the series with the interactions of the characters and the events happening in the world around them taking center stage. In Confessions and Origins Cal was very much the star of his own story here we see him truly starting to be part of a team.
I really can't wait for more and expect great things going forward and see the possibilities of many many potential story-lines from events that occurred. Here's hoping that we will see these books coming out more regularly and to that effect I will recommend it to all my friends.
PS. If there is one thing I would add it would be a character bio section to the end of the book that not only has a short description of the person but also their powers and affiliation. While most of the information has been in previous books or can be gleaned from context a handy guide that the author approves of could be handy.
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