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Publisher's Summary

Hi, how are you?

Yes, I am talking to you, the reader of this book's description. It's rude not to answer a person when they ask you a question. Okay, I get it, fourth-wall breaking is overdone. Get over it. This book, Villains Rule, is a fantasy action-comedy which you have to hear. Not because it redefines the genre, far from it. But rather for what it contains. A villain's tale.

How often do you get to listen to a story where the villain is the protagonist? No, not an anti-hero, or a brooding monster, nor a hero thinly disguised as a villain. And not evil. If you want evil, take that nonsense to therapy. No, I mean a villain's villain. The ones who use their power because they can, while morality is only a philosopher's complex.

This is the story of Jackson Blackwell, the Shadow Master and the top villain adviser. Sadly, even the top villain occasionally gets double-crossed. Trapped in one of the fantasy realms, Jackson has to use his skill and wits to exploit the rules, points out the genre flaws, undermine godly authority, and win the day.

Because that is what villains should do, shouldn't they? Listen to this book, have a few laughs, and find out.

©2017 Michael Gibson (P)2017 Michael Gibson

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Ignore the cover art.

This is the best book I've listened to this year. The characters are consistent and act according to what should motivated them, the story is enjoyable and humorous, and the narration is excellent.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • MelHay
  • Adamsburg, PA
  • 06-11-17

Oh my so much fun!!

Would you listen to Villains Rule again? Why?

Absolutely. I know I missed some of the references and one lines that go to other fantasy stories I know. I also had fun with the story and Jackson.

Who was your favorite character and why?

I felt I could believe Jackson's thinking and I really liked him. I want to watch movies with Jackson. He would be a hoot at pointing out the flaws in plans, hero and villain. I laughed at the obvious observations pointed out by Jackson in this book. So good and so true! Jackson's written in a way that I liked him even though he wasn't the clean cut good guy. I even felt the fluctuation of praise and irritation of Randy with Jackson - all thanks to Jeffrey's vocal talents and M.K.'s writing.

What does Jeffrey Kafer bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Jeffrey performs with heart, stepping in to the characters minds which breathes life to them. When stories are performed with the emotion the characters are feeling, and the narrator feels as to be having fun, the book is brought to a new level of awesome. Jeffrey accomplished that in this work. Jeffrey speaks with different infliction and personality for each character, which makes it easy to know who's who along with keeping my attention.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

At my first big surprise in events, I wanted to give M.K. Gibson a big high five. He told me what not to do. He drew me into doing just that. And I was surprised when he used that. AWESOME JOB!! M.K.wrote it so well, I was drawn into the web.

Any additional comments?

*I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.<br/><br/>At the end of the first prologue, I had to smile. Really. This was something I always thought about, how easy it would be to take down a hero when he's having his "moment". I got a feel of a twist of Grayskull (You know what Grayskull is, from He-Man.) here with other elements mixed in. I like what I get, and it's only a prologue!<br/><br/>Oh my the references of all the great science fiction and fantasy tales!! Really! Even in the titles we get great one lines that we know reference so many. lol. I love listening and pointing out references and what I get the feel of. I'm sure others would pick up on others I've missed. This is the kind of story I would love to listen to with someone who I could talk to on the potential influences. You know, listen at the same time and go geek on what we pick up on! lol.<br/><br/>Okay. The story. I enjoyed how the rules of heroes and villains are viewed and understood in the world. And they still stand and function. M.K. has created a story with a villain that sees those rules and uses then in a way to do what all villains want. And he's talented at his work. M.K. tells us these rules and we see the predicament that Jackson ends up in, and has to find his own way back to his place in the world. M.K. writes a well crafted story of fun while still in the guidelines and takes a villain in the outs and brings him back. Totally awesome work.<br/><br/>This book is a modern setting with Jackson but it's also in a fantasy world, or worlds as he goes along, because of the different realms of villains. It's so easy to understand and enjoy. I loved the play on different fantasy themes as it made me smile.<br/><br/>As Jackson goes through the fantasy world he's in, working to get to the ruling villain, he points out the fantasy tropes present. And he hits on them all! Totally awesome and fun summary of characters in fantasy tropes. And I can say I read about that. It was great as it was fun in how it's portrayed. M.K. has taken fantasy, brought what we know to our attention, then twists it to his world and makes it fun.<br/><br/>Enjoyable story to listen to. It kept me entertained.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Freaking awesome!

I was a little bit wary at first from title, and the Author, but 5 minutes in and I was hooked. I can't wait to read the next book!

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Muahahahahahaha...err, I mean great book!

I was given this free review copy audio book at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

So, I really enjoyed this book. The narrator, Jeffrey Kafer, was great. He had an engaging voice and did a great job of using unique voices for different characters. The story itself, was interesting and fun. It made me laugh several times and a great spin on the genre, from the villain's perspective.

I will DEFINITELY seek out the next book in the series.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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From the villain's perspective

What do you get when you blend a hefty portion of nearly every fantasy story trope with a large helping of satire and throw in a plateful of witty humor from something like the “Airplane movie”? The answer to that questions is simple. You get a newly released book called “Villains Rule” which is the first book in The Shadow Mater series. The book is written by M. K. Gibson and the audiobook edition is extremely well narrated by Jeffrey Kafer. The author mocks and includes nearly every fantasy story cliché while putting a more modern or contemporary spin on them. No one is safe as he pokes fun at not only fantasy stories, but the authors of the material also.

Let me start this review by saying that the book is intended for adult readers only, young readers should stay far away from it due to its excessive use of vulgar language, direct sexual subject and actions including several innuendos. Nearly every other word of this book contains vulgar, crude, or offensive language, so if you are easily offended this book is not for you. Think Family Guy meets a contemporary fantasy story.

Those who are not offended by the book’s heavy use of language and enjoy witty humor, fantasy stories, adventure gaming, or have had or currently play D&D, you will find yourself laughing out loud multiple times while listening to this book. The book sets up a new and somewhat interesting fantasy world containing shadow masters, priestesses, multiple deities, elves, and peasants; goblins are not welcome. What makes the book even more humorous is that it is told from a quite different perspective; that of the villains and not the heroes. It is no surprise an entire chapter is devoted to why villains hate elves so much; but this would exclude dark elves who are eviler. Having a secretive evil infiltrator with a powerful title bringing fear to everyone who encounters him. This fearful character is called none other than Steve. What becomes of the famous Shadow Master’s trusty steed called Glue? You will have to read the book to find out.

I enjoyed the descriptive nature of the author. His detail of the Blackwell Villain Consulting agency; complete with cookies and juice boxes. Also, the snarky receptionist displayed on the book’s cover. If I learned one thing from this book that I have not in any of the other fantasy books is that all villain issues can be boiled down in to overarching leadership issues. It never occurred to me that this was the case, but after being explained in this book, it is as clear as a bright sunny day. Villains would win so many more times if they just had proper leadership training and mentoring.

The book is not about “Good vs Evil”, instead it is about “Evil vs Good”. And when you read the book you will understand many of these differences. I also enjoyed the more unique magic systems even though the author I believe is poking fun at one of the more prolific fantasy boo authors and his many different magic systems. As I stated earlier, no one if safe from being called out in this book. Will Evil win? You will have to read or listen to find out.

When it comes to the quality of the audiobook edition, there is no question that Jeffrey Kafer hits another homerun with this book. Mr. Kafer has narrated nearly four hundred books on Audible, so it would be no surprise this one would meet or exceed his other audiobook narration high standards. His ability to voice the many different characters while remembering all their unique qualities takes a lot of work and effort that only an experienced narrator can pull off. Not once did I hear a different character’s voice used in place of another. Even the female characters were well voiced in this recording. The quality of the audio was clean and without any audio issues or artifacts I can recall while listening.

If you are a fan of TV shows such as the “Family Guy” or “Rick and Morty” and you like fantasy stories, you will enjoy much of the humor used by this author. Instead, if you are one that thinks these shows are over-the-top, you will feel the same about this book. The book at the time of this review has received some high ratings, and I think much of this is the content itself but it also is because of the great narration.

Disclaimer: I was voluntarily provided this review copy audiobook at no charge by the author, publisher and/or narrator.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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worth a credit

fun book made me laugh out loud several times, can't wait for the next book

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Tracy
  • Bensalem, PA, United States
  • 05-15-17

Villian or Anti-Hero??

Jack is a villain... make that a 'Villain'. This book was good fun, full of pop-culture references, fast paced action, and sarcastic wit-- almost too much sarcasm for my taste, but I am what the protagonist would call a 'Hero", after all. The narrator is a smooth talker, with a great voice that is an easy listen. This feels like the beginning of an epic series, the characters begging for more of their stories to be told. If you like fairy-tales, you would probably like this book. If you like treachery, you would probably enjoy this book quite a bit. But, if you like Villains (or anti-Heroes), you will probably love this book. It is set in alternate universes, where we find that the seemingly clear cut defined 'Villain' and 'Hero' roles may not be as clear cut after all. There is a tiny bit of romance and lots of funny moments, but there is a lot of villainous activity to be sure! I enjoyed it.
I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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Totally Different!

I wasn't quite sure what to expect going into this one and boy was I in for a pleasant surprise! This tale was highly entertaining, funny and unique from top to bottom. I love the idea of taking the villains/heroes universe with all of it's known rules/tropes and allowing for the manipulation of one 'bad guy.' The concept was executed on brilliantly. I would recommend this book to any friends who enjoy comedic stories or any kind of sci-fi/fantasy genre content.

I was voluntarily provided this free review copy audiobook by the author, narrator, or publisher.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Mix of intelligent, absurd, and irreverent humor

Jason Blackwell, also called the Shadow Master, has a consulting firm for the evil. Villains from several realms go to him for advice. But what happens when the Shadow Master is double-crossed and falls into a trap? Will he need this time to seek help among heroes?

I loved this book from the very beginning. It is written in first person, and Gibson breaks the called 4th wall to engage the reader. It is true that sometimes this doesn’t work, but it does here. In the book there is a mix of intelligent, absurd, and irreverent humor that is absolutely refreshing, and which contains pearls like this one:

&quot;Meant to be is the idiotic rederick that results when those who are ignorant of facts try to make sense of random encounters. They cannot understand that there is only one random chance or the machinations of greater minds.&quot;

There are many references to fantasy realms and characters, like Hee-Man and Skeletor, and the books of J.R.R. Tolkien. Jackson mentions many unspoken rules in fantasy worlds, and I couldn’t but laugh hard… because they were true! He also explains why he hates elves, and even though I don’t, I couldn’t help but agree with him. There are also some references to Lost and mentions about its end. I think we all know how it went, but if you don’t want spoilers, just don’t read this book.

This is my first book narrated by Jeffrey Kafer, even though I know who he is, and I have to say that I am absolutely impressed with his narration skills. He totally became Jason and gave him a personality. But not only that. There are quite some characters in this book, and several scenes where they all interact, and Kafer delivered a different interpretation for each of them, and they were perfectly distinguishable. This was a good book, but Jeffrey Kafer made it shine.

I would recommend this book to any fan of fantasy, but it needs to be taken with humor. If someone is going to get offended by things like why Jason hates elves, or why some things just work in a specific way in fantasy realms, than stay away. Or not, I think your life will improve by reading this book, because humor is good for you. And go for the audio version, and you will find your next favorite narrator.

I received a copy of this book in audio format from the narrator in exchange for an honest review.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • James
  • Powderly, KY, United States
  • 07-03-17

Fun with the bad guys

Any additional comments?

Fun listen from the villains perspective. There are some good laughs with a good storyline. Great narration, fits the main villain perfectly.<br/><br/>“I was voluntarily provided this free review copy audiobook by the author, narrator, or publisher.”

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Terence Thirteen
  • 06-09-17

The OMG of VILLAINS: no need to pray – just pay!

Villains Rule is the tale of a villain, who revels in villainy… the villainy of taxation, with illusory representation; the villainy of lies, rhetoric, propaganda and public opinion manipulation; the villainy of overthrowing open oppression and replacing it with voluntary enslavement; the villainy of the greatest evil ever conceived… politics.

Julian “Jackson” Blackwell, is the “Shadow Master”, the fantasy world’s first and only consulting crisis manager, spin doctor, fixer and political adviser and business is good… no, I mean villainous.

Follow him and like him at your own peril… and yet, you will… he’s just that good… no, I mean villainous.

If you are a fan of any of the following audio books, then you will enjoy Villains Rule:
Origins of a D-List Supervillain by Jim Bernheimer
Confessions of a D-List Supervillain by Jim Bernheimer
Secrets of a D-List Supervillain by Jim Bernheimer
The Rules of Supervillainy: The Supervillainy Saga Volume 1 by C. T. Phipps
The Games of Supervillainy: The Supervillainy Saga Book 2 by C. T. Phipps
The Secrets of Supervillainy: The Supervillainy Saga, Book 3 by C. T. Phipps
The Science of Supervillainy: The Supervillainy Saga, Book 4 by C. T. Phipps
Starship Grifters: Rex Nihilo, Book 1 by Robert Kroese

Conversely, if you enjoy Villains Rule, then you will love the aforementioned books. Good listening.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Lordshin
  • 10-05-17

Don't let the cover fool you

One of the better superhero/villain books I have listen too. Very original story with a great narrator and I can't wait for book 2.

The cover doesn't do this great book justice

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  • Jeff
  • 10-02-17

When is a god not a god, When he is a villain.

Did not expect what I got totally brilliant this book just blew me away the story has twists and turns at every page. the narrator puts so much life into the characters that brings the book to a higher level that it already is. I really hope there is a follow up.

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  • Daniel
  • 11-22-17

A interesting story with few unexpected turns.

Its fun, and satisfing. The story follows a "not evil" villian as he must overcome various challenges in a land without his full power. It was moderately easy to follow, however i wish that some of the characters were given more memorable names. This book is chock full of references if you are in to that kind of thing.

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  • Jarryd
  • 10-15-17

Fun

Like magic 2.0, and don't split the party, this book locks in "meta fantasy" as it's own distinct genre. Simple, clear and fun. It makes for a great weekend read. Characters are few, and clearly defined. No overlapping descriptions or names. Places are distinct, and well described. It will serve as great inspiration for my dungeons and dragons campaign.