This is my new second best sand alone novel as to yet! Great story, compelling, couldn't stop listening. Worth the credit, and will! listen to it again.
Superheroes and Villans seem the be the rage these days, especially with the Avengers, The Dark Knight, Spiderman and Kick-Ass all having their day in the sun. With that in mind, I can't help but say that I've always had a soft spot for well-written stories about superheroes and their antithesis, their arch-enemy villain. I've always savored a battle royal, sometimes to the death, where fantastic powers housed in finite and flawed men and women come to bear, where in the end, only one champion is left standing.
This is definitely a story of flawed heroes and villains.
Without giving much away, I CAN say that the story starts out with a world completely conquered, heroes and villains alike, and one very flawed anti-hero must choose the harder, more difficult road to bring humanity back from the brink.
Yep, that's where it STARTS. And its storyline is as good or better than most of the genre.
Bottom line, we get an exceptional audiobook listen, and while it's NOT War and Peace, it's a VERY fun and engaging listen, one to which I've listened a total of three times.
You read correctly. Three times.
Great escapism, and again, well-written.
So, champion, step into the battle royale. Bring your powers to bear, and get this audiobook today!
Calvin Stringel, aka "Mechani-Cal," is, as the title of his autobiography indicates, a D-list supervillain. He's that guy you barely remember who took up about 4 pages in issue #277 six years ago. Spider-Man beat him up once, and maybe he was part of a gang that got flattened by the Avengers during an ill-conceived plan to raid Fort Knox.
Mechani-Cal is basically, as he is repeatedly reminded, a cheap knockoff of Ultraweapon, who is this universe's Iron Man. As the story starts, however, the villainous Overlord has unleashed a plague of mind-controlling insects that have taken over most of the planet. Mechani-Cal, by staying in his armor for the last few weeks, is one of the few free-willed humans left on Earth. When he runs into the Olympians — the most powerful superhero team on Earth, and all mind-controlled — he manages to free Aphrodite from her mental enslavement. They head back to his secret underground base, which is basically a rathole in a junkyard.
The plot thenceforth flows in heroic fashion as Mechani-Cal ends up literally helping save the world, and thus "reformed," tries to earn a pardon for all past crimes by joining the good guys. Of course, none of them trust him, and Calvin is, while not truly evil, certainly not a hero. And he's now dating Aphrodite. Who used to be dating Ultraweapon. Ultraweapon doesn't take this very well.
Mechani-Cal is actually a "realistic" character given the givens of a superhero universe. The explanation for how an engineering genius has wound up being a low-rent villain mostly known for getting pounded by any hero he has the misfortune to fight makes sense, and Cal's struggle to redeem himself, without really feeling like he needs redemption, makes him a character you root for even if he is still kind of a jerk. It helps that it turns out that some of the heroes are even bigger jerks.
Cal levels up in a big way over the course of the book. He also gets to bang two of the most beautiful and powerful superheroines in the world, despite being a nerdy, unattractive ex-villain. A wish-fulfillment fantasy? Oh yeah. But he never really stops being a dork who screws up more often than he succeeds. And yet, he's very human and endearing in a fallible way. He continually does all the right things, not necessarily for the right reasons.
I enjoyed this book quite a lot. It was like a good miniseries based on some obscure mainstream comics character that a writer took a shine to, except of course these are all characters who exist only in this book.
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This is my first listen to a Jim Bernheimer book and it was great. He does an excellent job developing characters and puts together a really interesting plot. The good guys and bad guys were well thought out.
The best part of this book was the humor. The author does a great job of making you understand what the characters are going through.
The Narrator (Jeffrey Kafer) does an excellent job with all of the voices, and I would love to listen to him again.
This is a sideways take on the traditional superhero/supervillain story. Some other reviewers have said that lacks originality, but being a comic (ahem, graphic novel) nerd, I consider it a genre. And it's a genre I dig.
This tale follows Cal, a supervillain who is just getting by, but is eminently likeable despite his illicit career path. When his circumstances change and he winds up playing on the good guys' team, he finds all sorts of hurdles. It's a fun story, but that's not to say he doesn't have to deal with some real problems. Still I'd say it's lighthearted overall and an engaging listen.
My favorite character has to be the main character, Calvin, or Mechani-Cal, as performed by Jeffrey Kafer.
I honestly wasn't expecting much from this book and was blown away by the story, the characters. From nowhere this book has topped my list of books as favorites and I normally don't place super hero/villain books anywhere near this list. Do yourself a favor and give it a try. You may be delightfully surprised.
I am a life long Geek, Musician, and Writer ... and Audible just makes reading that much better because now I can "read" even when I might have time, but not the option, like driving and things like that.
Having never read the print version it is hard to say, however, seeing as how the reader really brought it to life, I bet it sure is. The comedy gold of this book was delivered brilliantly by the narrator.
I haven't read or listened to anything like it before, but I'd sure like to find more like it!
Calvin Matthew Stringel, the main character, this character was a hoot to listen to, and I am certain that it was in fact exactly how that character was supposed to sound.
Not necessarily, the entire book was great, but I didn't really find a scene in there that particularly moved me.
This is a fun ride and great story and well worth the price, my only complaint was that it wasn't long enough! :)
I admit, I was skeptical that a book this short would really amount to much. Turns out, I was DEAD wrong. This book had everything a great story should have, and then some! Seriously an outstanding book! The reading was well-done, and overall I loved listening to this during my drives. Can't wait for the next one!
this is at the top . this is for all us who did or still do comic books.
On Audible since the late 1990s, mostly science fiction, fantasy, history & science. I rarely review 1-2 star books that I can't get through
This was a fun, fast (and cheap!) take on the superhero genre - and, if that is your expectation, you are going to have a guaranteed good time. The book wastes no time dumping you right into the action: introducing you to the sardonic anti-hero-turned-hero that is the main character and immediately launching into a whirlwind of action. While the universe itself is about as well-justified as most in comic books, and many aspects are played for laughs, Bernheimer can actually make you feel like there are real stakes, and you care about the characters enough to make any inconsistencies in tone or plot seem inconsequential. Ultimately, this is a fun light novel, that is both a send-up and a homage to comic books, and it works really well as these things.
Two minor issues mar the book. The first is that there is a slightly off tone towards the way the author treats female superheroes, which, while never overt, makes a few scenes feel creepy instead of charming. That being said, there is nothing overtly upsetting in the book, which is PG-13 at most, and the author manages to hit the right notes to keep his central romance going most of the time. The second minor issue is the second reader, who is pretty bad, in contrast to the reader for the vast majority of the book (Mr. Kaffer), who is excellent.
If you are looking for something very entertaining, you enjoy the superhero genre, and you aren't going to take Bernheimer's universe too seriously, this is a really winning choice.