Saturday, November 17, 2012

Book Review: After the Golden Age, by Carrie Vaughn (2011, Tor Books)

Recommended for ages 16+

You may think that no one is perfect - but what happens when your parents are superheroes?
After the Golden Age tells the story of a dysfunctional superhero family. Celia West is the 25-year-old daughter of two of Commerce City’s greatest superheroes, Warren and Suzanne West, aka Captain Olympus and Spark. Who wouldn't want two superheroes for parents? Celia, for starters – her relationship with her hot-tempered father is strained, having felt like a disappointment to him for not having superpowers. Growing up, she felt that the City and its citizens came before her, and she was a target for kidnappers. At 16, she was kidnapped by the supervillain Destructor; at 17, she ran away from home to join him, further leading to a schism between Celia and her father.
Now a grown woman, Celia has turned her life around and works as a Certified Public Accountant. When the Destructor is captured and put on trial, Celia is called in to trace his money in the hopes of nailing him on tax evasion or fraud, Celia fears that her world will come crashing down again but takes on the assignment and discovers some disturbing links between her family, the Destructor, and the other “super” families in Commerce City. She also finds herself the target of a new super criminal on the rise – can she find out who it is before it’s too late, and will she and her father ever work out their difficult relationship?
After the Golden Age tells the story of a dysfunctional family with a new perspective. While some kids dream about their parents being superheroes, Celia’s reality is quite different from the fantasy. She can never measure up, her parents put other priorities ahead of her, and she rebels. At its heart, it tells a story many families can relate to. While considered an adult novel, Golden Age‘s West family backstory gives it solid YA crossover potential. There is some romance thrown in, along with superhero battles, but at its heart, this is the story of a young woman trying to create her own identity separate from her family’s legacy. The writing is quick-paced and the character development gives the reader enough information to tell the story, with Celia receiving the most developed background – it should hold the reader’s interest, particularly teen females.
After the Golden Age was a nominee for the American Library Association's Alex Award (2012).
Author Carrie Vaughn’s website offers links to more information about her novels and short stories, her blog, appearances, and her biography.

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