Review: After the Golden Age

Review: After the Golden AgeAfter the Golden Age by Carrie Vaughn
Series: Golden Age #1
Published by Tor Books on April 12, 2011
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Urban Fantasy
Pages: 304
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library

It's not easy being a superhero's daughter....

Carrie Vaughn has captured legions of fans with her wildly popular Kitty Norville novels. Now she uses her extraordinary wit and imagination to tell a sensational new story about superhuman heroes—and the people who have to live with them.

Most people dream of having superheroes for parents, but not Celia West. The only daughter of Captain Olympus and Spark, the world's greatest champions, she has no powers of her own, and the most exciting thing she's ever done is win a silver medal in a high school swim meet. Meanwhile, she's the favorite hostage of every crime boss and supervillain in Comemrce City. She doesn't have a code name, but if she did, it would probably be Bait Girl, the Captive Wonder.

Rejecting her famous family and its legacy, Celia has worked hard to create a life for herself beyond the shadow of their capes, becoming a skilled forensic accountant. But when her parents' archenemy, the Destructor, faces justice in the "Trial of the Century," Celia finds herself sucked back into the more-than-mortal world of Captain Olympus—and forced to confront a secret that she hoped would stay buried forever.

Recently, I discovered Carrie Vaughn via a dystopian anthology and then I read her new teen novel, Steel. Her YA effort was okay, but not stellar. At first, I thought After the Golden Age would be the same, as it had a slow beginning, but as I hit the midway point, it really took off (pardon the superhero-y pun).

Celia starts out as a somewhat annoying heroine. She is 25, but retains her teenage mistrust and irritation with her parents, because growing up with superheroes for parents is not as magical as everyone else thinks it should be. She doesn’t really trust anyone actually. Her saving grace is that, although she is a continual victim of supervillain wannabes, she does not act like a victim (well, except when her family’s considered). As the story goes on, Celia’s able to deal with many of her demons, which allows her to accentuate the positive elements of her personality and someone I liked much more.

The romance was well done. I was somewhat worried that I was shipping the wrong person, but I was not, so yay! There’s nothing worse than when you believe someone else is perfect for her, but the main character determinedly goes for the lame, stupid, obvious one. I definitely shipped her with the guy, right from the beginning and through to the end.

After the Golden Age reminded me most strongly of the Astro City graphic novel series, with the portrayal of both superheroes, ordinary folk and those who know who the masked heroes are and have to deal with that. For anyone who likes reading about superheroes, After the Golden Age is definitely worth checking out.

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