Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Book Review: After the Golden Age by Carrie Vaughn

After the Golden Age by Carrie Vaughn
Published by Tom Doherty Associates in January 2012 (mmp)
Can an accountant defeat a supervillain? Celia West, only daughter of the heroic leaders of the superpowered Olympiad, has spent the past few years estranged from her parents and their high-powered lifestyle. She’s had enough of masks and heroics, and wants only to live her own quiet life out from under the shadow of West Plaza and her rich and famous parents.

Then she is called into her boss’ office and told that as the city’s top forensic accountant, Celia is the best chance the prosecution has to catch notorious supervillain the Destructor for tax fraud. In the course of the trial, Celia’s troubled past comes to light and family secrets are revealed as the rift between Celia and her parents grows deeper. Cut off from friends and family, Celia must come to terms with the fact that she might just be Commerce City’s only hope.
Genre:  Fantasy
Series:  n/a

I thought this was an interesting take on the whole superhero thing.  From the perspective of a child of two superheroes, who doesn't have any powers herself.

Celia West has not had a normal upbringing.  She's been kidnapped more than her fair share of times by villains trying to take down her famous parents.  A teenage rebellion has resulted in Celia distancing herself from her family and trying to make a normal life for herself on her own.  But despite all her intentions, Celia is drawn back into their sphere.  There's a new villain out there making a ruckus (her father's previous arch-nemesis is currently locked up) and so Celia gets kidnapped a couple of times and then somehow comes out as the hero...with no superpowers.  LOL

After the Golden Age worked for me because it was a character study more so than an action packed story.  Imagine the dynamics between two superhero parents and a non-super child.  The child has to stay home while the parents rush off to save people and stop villains.  The child is not invincible - weak compared to the parents.  Imagine how that child feels when the parents stop trying to get her powers to manifest?  Like her parents have given up on her maybe?  Aren't proud of her...she's not special?  There was aaaallll of that going on with Celia West and her parents.  And then throw in some teenage hormones into that cocktail of emotions and oh yeah, you get one whopper of a rebellion.  LOL

So now that Celia is back in contact with her parents, there's some real growth for the characters because the assumptions and the hurt from her childhood are being dealt with.  And oh yeah, they're taking some criminals down.  I like how Celia's job as an accountant (how boring a job is that compared to being a superhero?) and her god-given smarts are what end up saving the day in the end.

I thought this book was refreshing.  It took a popular trope and showed me a new perspective on things.  And I like Vaughn's humour.  I did find some things predictable, but not enough to detract from my enjoyment.  If you want a different take on the superhero genre, I recommend After the Golden Age.  B



  1. Alright, who's Vaughn? I wanna know! This looks like a good book, not necessarily something that I would have tried on my own but I'm so going to get this book and read it, now that you approve. =) Thanks for the review!

  2. It's not something I'd usually pick up either, so I'm glad I took a chance on it. :P

    And I was referring to the author's humour in this one.