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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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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

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.

20 of 21 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • 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.

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!

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.

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.

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.

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.

Enjoyable story to listen to. It kept me entertained.

18 of 19 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

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:

"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."

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.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Villains Rule

This book was a fun read. Jackson Blackwell aka "the Shadow Master" is an intelligent villain who knows all rules. He can build an empire or grind you into dust but he's about to fall victim to a plot from hidden enemies. The book doesn't take itself too seriously and there are some laughs along the way as well as some ironic fantasy plot twists

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • 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.

10 of 11 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Pure Villainy? Pure fun!

I generally start with what I didn't like about a book. Here, I am going to go with what I liked, and that is Kafer's narration. He is a master vocalist, and clearly comes from the tradition of Mel Blanc, only he can do more with his voice. He is a vocal Lon Chaney, Sr. A master. His voice really helps to sell the story, and it completely sets the tone and pacing. So, fine work, good sir!

The book itself is a killer combo of action, humor, romance?(yep), and melodrama. Plus, who doesn't root for the bad guys? The villains rules play out humorously and is not what you might expect. I now know that this is going to be a series and am happy to hear that. I really had a hard time stopping the book when real life intruded, just couldn't put it down.

There are no bad guys, and this is a great book. I will certainly look for more stuff from Gibson. he has a quick wit, and has mastered humor in the written word.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Pretty good despite distractions

The writing was excellent, the story was entertaining, and the pacing kept me interested. The limitations the Shadow Master faced and the universe rules were reasonable.

The narration was perfect for this type of story, as the voice and tone fit the humor exactly. Jeffrey Kafer is a professional with flawless production quality, no mistakes, and good pacing. I never had trouble telling the characters apart or guessing anyone’s emotion.

The one problem I had was the Shadow Master repeatedly ridiculing the reader/listener. It took me out of the story completely and irritated me. I like to identify with the main character and I love siding with the villain. This made it impossible to do so. That being said, I enjoyed the ending quite a bit.

I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

The beginning felt a bit long winded...

But it very nicely set up the tone. The pace improved quickly making this book I had few hopes for in the beginning, one I have recommended to several people now. Once the roller coaster began I was unable to stop. I sat in my car in my driveway for 45 minutes after I got home just to see where things were going.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

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!

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Laugh Out Loud Moments

Jackson soon finds himself in a dungeon belonging to one of his clients. The dungeon can’t hold him for long though. Soon he escapes and sets about on a plan to extract his revenge. To do this he needs to align himself with people that he usually doesn’t associate with. Heroes.
In all genres of books, there are cliches. After all, there are only so many ways to say certain things. That’s why when something truly original, it’s immediately hailed as the future of whichever genre. And then immediately copied and eventually another cliche.
Villains Rule by MK Gibson is one of those different kinds of books. Yes, there are cliches and all the things you typically find in every fantasy book.

That being said, that is part of the wonderful, sarcastic humor that runs all throughout Villians Rule. Everything that you come to think of in the fantasy genre is poked fun at. There are lots of pop culture references. And, finally, someone who finally has the nerve to say what I’ve always thought about most fantasy elves. That they are the most arrogant creatures ever.

Villians Rule is one of the funniest books I have listened to in a long time. There are many laugh out moments. That being said, if you don’t like a sarcastic type of humor, this book probably isn’t for you. I think is one of those that you either get or don’t get. There’s not really any middle ground.

The production quality of Villians Rule is excellent. There are no mispronounced words, volume changes, or anything like that. Jefferey Kafer has a great voice for narration. He got the humor spot on and you really get a sense that you listening to a well-educated villain.
Overall, this was a very good book. Lots of laughs, lots of sarcasm. And most of everything you find in a fantasy book. But seeing those things through the eyes of a villain makes Villains Rule different from most fantasy books. If you enjoy a sarcastic type of humor, you’ll enjoy this book and have a really good laugh. I can’t wait to listen to the next book.

Audiobook was provided for review by the author/narrator/publisher.

Please find this complete review and many others at my review blog.

[If this review helped, please press YES. Thanks!]

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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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

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • RickG73
  • 08-12-18

Very entertaining. Loved it

Great book, very entertaining. Listened to it all day long. Looking forward to the next book.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 06-01-18

Brilliant audiobook. Loved it all.

loved the story. Didn't get what the was going to be about. Really different story, very well read. Excellent audiobook

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Meera
  • 05-20-18

Trope paradise

So where to start with this fourth wall breaking, monolithic piece of writing. Well let us start with the rules, a villain has no friends, friends lead to caring and caring leads to your downfall. All you need is to be aware of what pawns are around you and how to use them. Well, that didn't work out so well for the Shadowmaster in this book.

A brilliant read that really points out the condescending tropes in all fiction writing that I will never be able to look at the same way again after listening to this book. A book that has left me laughing out loud multiple times, wishing for more constantly and not actually wanting to turn it off when I get to my destination. It was a parody of dark humour, tropes, blind narcissistic tendencies as well as pure genius. I finished it and instantly wanted to read it again. I rarely recommend books to others and am already planning on buying it for a friends birthday and recommending it before I was halfway through. A worthwhile and highly fulfilling piece of writing that all who love fantasy books should listen to.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • mitch wilson
  • 05-17-18

brill

can't wait to get book 2 started, already downloaded and ready to go. Will be listening to more from this author.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • 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 2 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Patricia
  • 09-13-18

Couldn't finish it - tried to like it.

I love this genre, but this one is a tough one. Definitely not for everyone.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • 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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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • 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.