adbl_ms_membershipImage_includedwith_altText_B076FLV3HT
adbl_ms_membershipImage_includedwith_altText_B076FLV3HT

1 audiobook of your choice.
Stream or download thousands of included titles.
$14.95 a month after 30 day trial. Cancel anytime.
Buy for $19.95

Buy for $19.95

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

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 listeners say about Villains Rule

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    1,152
  • 4 Stars
    454
  • 3 Stars
    168
  • 2 Stars
    48
  • 1 Stars
    33
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    1,261
  • 4 Stars
    336
  • 3 Stars
    90
  • 2 Stars
    16
  • 1 Stars
    16
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    1,030
  • 4 Stars
    427
  • 3 Stars
    176
  • 2 Stars
    51
  • 1 Stars
    34

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    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

21 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    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.

38 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    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.

13 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Excellent Story - Despite the Cover Art

I really enjoyed the book. I almost didn't buy it due to how bad the cover art was. I know "You can't judge a book by it's cover" has got to be one of the oldest phrases in the world. However, in my experience a book with good cover art usually means its had good editing and has passed several quality checks. The only real problem I had was the author went into dark/deviant sex acts. Villainous or not, there is just some stuff I'd rather not read/hear. Also, as of 01/27/2021 there is no warning in the publisher's summary.

I felt like the character was really well thought out. I enjoyed the story immensely.

12 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

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.

27 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Unique story with perfect narration!

I really enjoyed this audible book. The story was fantastic, and the narrator did one of the best jobs I've ever heard with the voice narration. Beginning book two now!

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Honestly struggles with the book but read it!!!

I suggest you read this book. I started it and it starts off great then it kind of dead pan for a while eventually it got back on track and became fantastic.

14 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    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.

11 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

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.

17 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

1000 time better than expected.

I was hesitant but I'm so happy I gave it a chance. What a great story. This should become a movie.

3 people found this helpful

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Jeff
  • 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.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for AudiobookDevotee
  • AudiobookDevotee
  • 01-25-20

Gave up fairly early.

I only made it a few hours in. The main character was just boring, reminded me of my great uncle when he's had too much to drink and thinks he's a genius who knows better than everyone else how to fix the world. I couldn't listen to another 7 hours of that.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for john wrieden
  • john wrieden
  • 10-11-19

to many references to other books

the concert is good, the main character is 1 dimensional, I found the references to other books really annoying,

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for mat brown
  • mat brown
  • 08-30-19

What a find

If you like Drew Hayes, Rich Gualteri or Jim Butcher you’ll love this

Can’t wait to listen to the next one

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Lordshin
  • 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

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for luke wilkes
  • luke wilkes
  • 05-21-21

Brilliant

Could stop laughing the whole way. If you like comedy like red dwarf then this is the book for you.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Nathan
  • Nathan
  • 04-23-21

Loving the Villainous Protagonist!

The Shadowmaster is AWESOME!!!
Could have been a bit more Evil, but he's still brilliant!

The cynical and sarcastic sense of humor is both hillarious, spot on and, again, awesome.

And I LOVE Lydia...and the amusing insights in their sex-life that is somehow still only hinted at in a vaugly PG-13 way, but still on the side of depraved. (Not AS much as -I- like, but then again, I'm a fan of Marquis de Sade and Maldoror and Poems.)

The adventure was also pretty fun, and I LOVE how he comes up with intelligent, realistic plans --even if some of them doesn't seem like it, but that's because he's exploiting idiotic rules of the Realm--

And did I mention ot was awesome?! ^_^

I haven't read book 2 yet, but I hope to see him being a true Villain, (as opposed to a rectulant hero/antihero/villainous hero) AND win, one day. That is something I have nevet seen outside of Fanfiction.

Almost sad about Kyle tho... I liked him. Especially towards the end.

The world NEED more Villain protagonists! :D

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Tómas Aron Jónsson
  • Tómas Aron Jónsson
  • 03-15-21

Very funny, good story, approachable!

Very approachable, you can dive right into it and enjoy , good humour and story

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Amazon Customer
  • Amazon Customer
  • 02-24-21

Tongue and cheek, dumb fun.

Knows what it is, a fourth wall breaking, a snarky comment on fantasy tropes.
Sort of 'Deadpool on Tolkien'

Pro's:
Non-standard story
Actually pretty decent characters (with their own wants and needs)

Con's:
Expects you to know all of the 90's movies and pop-culture references on fantasy.
Bit shallow emotionally.
Everything is sarcasm, therefore nothing feels all that real or 'at stake'

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Kindle Customer
  • Kindle Customer
  • 01-08-21

Cheesy goodness

some great mockery of fantasy tropes. The biy about elves had me really laughing. Decent performance but I personal hate the overused husky hero voice.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Patricia
  • 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.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Josh
  • Josh
  • 09-23-20

a good test for how evil you are.

This well performed book will show you just how evil and sadistic you are. Everytime you smirk while listening to this book you should feel ashamed of yourself however you won't because you are a sadistic deviant and probably going to hell. I'll see you there...

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Daniel
  • 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.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Jarryd
  • 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.