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After the Golden Age Mass Market Paperback – Jan 31 2012


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Fantasy; Reprint edition (Jan. 31 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765364603
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765364609
  • Product Dimensions: 2.4 x 10.8 x 17.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 159 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #479,913 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWER on Aug. 25 2011
Format: Hardcover
Imagine if your parents were world-famous superheroes... and you were an accountant with no special abilities whatsoever.

Yeah, the issues resulting from that would be legion. And "After The Golden Age" devotes itself to one such situation -- Carrie Vaughn carefully explores what it would be like to be the powerless child of superheroes, and manages to avoid anything too cartoonish. The characters are well-fleshed out, the writing is strong, and the story is original.

Commerce City is constantly guarded by the Olympiad, headed by Captain Olympus and the beautiful Spark, who protect it from the Destructor and various other supervillains. And since she was born without powers, Celia West (daughter of Spark and Olympus) has spent her whole life being kidnapped, wooed by the enemy, and feuding with her parents. She just tries to be normal.

Now the Destructor is about to be convicted for tax fraud, and Celia is involved in the case -- which is putting some tension between her and her dad. But after Celia's past with the Destructor is revealed, she ends up in a bizarre quest to discover what his true plan is -- and ends up uncovering a retired superhero, the origin of the superhuman powers, and her own "ordinary" abilities.

The plot of "After the Golden Age" is one of those stories that could have gone either way: a bad author would have turned it into a sad cartoonish mess, and a good author could make it an engaging fantasy about what it is to be "ordinary." Fortunately, Carrie Vaughn has definitely achieved the latter -- and I'd love to see it as a graphic novel.

Vaughn experimented with flashback-filled narratives in "Discord's Apple," and she continues to do that here, exploring some of the past history of Celia and the Olympiad in flashbacks.
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Format: Kindle Edition
If I had to define this book in one word, I'd choose "average". It was entertaining, but there was something about it that felt... flat. I don't know how to describe it. The characters were fine, the plot was fine (only slightly predictable) and the romance was fine. I guess that's the problem. It was all just "fine". It was missing "the spark". I’ll admit I read the entire book in one day, but not because I frantically wanted to know how it was going to end. Mainly because I didn’t really have anything else to do (well, that’s a lie. I always have something to do).

How could After the Golden Age find its spark? Beats me. There wasn't anything horrible dragging this book down. It just... wasn't. I hope Vaughn's other books have more… life, I guess. I have a bunch of titles by her on my to-read list. But this was a disappointing introduction to the author. I won't be rushing to read the sequel about Celia's daughter, Anna. Though, I do want to know if Typhoon stays in retirement forever. Which, in retrospect, is sad because Typhoon wasn’t a main character. She only appeared in 40% of the book. But I care more about her future than Celia’s.

Verdict:
What to give After the Golden Age? I want to give it 4 stars because I was engaged and enjoying my time reading it. But that seems too high. So... 3 out of 5 stars. It wasn't excellent, it wasn't horrible, it was just "fine".
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By Rhea on May 4 2012
Format: Hardcover
I was shocked by how much I enjoyed this novel. The story follows Celia West, the non-super powered daughter of two superheros. The author had a the perfect mix of humour, drama and action. The writing clipped along at a good pace but what really made it great was the growth and interactions of the various characters. Each character had his or her own story which the author wrapped up neatly in the end. I quite enjoyed After the Golden Age and hope the author will consider a sequel!
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By Jessica Strider TOP 500 REVIEWER on Sept. 6 2011
Format: Hardcover
Pros: interesting take on the superhero lifestyle, protagonist has a fascinating back story and bitter streak, quick read

Cons: climax was a let down, predictable

Celia West is the daughter of two of Commerce City's quartet of superpowered defenders, Captain Olympus and Spark. Having grown up a disappointment to them, her only power is being kidnapped by every two-bit criminal who wants to avoid her parents' interference in their affairs. Starting with Simon Sito, the Destructor, the man who exposed her parents' secret identities.

Sito is now on trial for crimes against the city and Celia's on the prosecution's team, digging up accounting records that can help put him away for good. But the trial brings up a youthful indiscretion that proves you can't escape your past and no amount of clean living can erase a stupid decision - if your parents are famous enough.

This is a fun novel if you're a fan of comic books. The West Plaza and 4 member team reminding me a lot of the Fantastic Four (but only in a general way).

Celia's a sympathetic protagonist. While everyone she meets is in awe of her parents and can't understand why she's at odds with them, through the plot and flashbacks it's easy to see where she's coming from. She's bitter about a lot of things and comes off snarky at times, while trying to stay out from under her parents' shadows. And she makes for a mostly intelligent hostage.

My only complaint is that there weren't many twists to the story. The main bad guy's pretty easy to figure out (to the point that I started second guessing myself thinking it couldn't be that easy). The climax was a bit of a let down, though the denouement made up for it.

It's a fun romp and a quick read.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 62 reviews
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Child of superpowers Feb. 17 2011
By E. A Solinas - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product
Imagine if your parents were world-famous superheroes... and you were an accountant with no special abilities whatsoever.

Yeah, the issues resulting from that would be legion. And "After The Golden Age" devotes itself to one such situation -- Carrie Vaughn carefully explores what it would be like to be the powerless child of superheroes, and manages to avoid anything too cartoonish. The characters are well-fleshed out, the writing is strong, and the story is original.

Commerce City is constantly guarded by the Olympiad, headed by Captain Olympus and the beautiful Spark, who protect it from the Destructor and various other supervillains. And since she was born without powers, Celia West (daughter of Spark and Olympus) has spent her whole life being kidnapped, wooed by the enemy, and feuding with her parents. She just tries to be normal.

Now the Destructor is about to be convicted for tax fraud, and Celia is involved in the case -- which is putting some tension between her and her dad. But after Celia's past with the Destructor is revealed, she ends up in a bizarre quest to discover what his true plan is -- and ends up uncovering a retired superhero, the origin of the superhuman powers, and her own "ordinary" abilities.

The plot of "After the Golden Age" is one of those stories that could have gone either way: a bad author would have turned it into a sad cartoonish mess, and a good author could make it an engaging fantasy about what it is to be "ordinary." Fortunately, Carrie Vaughn has definitely achieved the latter -- and I'd love to see it as a graphic novel.

Vaughn experimented with flashback-filled narratives in "Discord's Apple," and she continues to do that here, exploring some of the past history of Celia and the Olympiad in flashbacks. The plot goes rather slowly at times, but Vaughn's prose is strong and polished, with some intriguing ideas of what it would be like to live in a world with superheroes.

And Celia is a great underdog heroine for this kind of story -- she's an "ordinary" person permanently tied to the superhuman world, and has a checkered past of abduction, teen rebellion, and even a brief stint as the Destructor's sidekick. All of her feelings and experiences seem incredibly... well, "realistic" isn't quite the right word, but "plausible" works very nicely.

Carrie Vaughn seems like just the right author to give a new spin on superhero life, and "After the Golden Age" is a solid addition to her increasingly impressive bibliography. It's not the best of her standalone books thus far, but it's a very solid one.
23 of 28 people found the following review helpful
Fun read about superheroes from a different perspective Feb. 10 2011
By A. D. Boorman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product
If Superman and Wonder Woman had a child, you might expect Superboy or something like that. Even if they had no powers - maybe a Batgirl or something. The author here went against the 'conventional wisdom. Celia is the daughter of a Superman (Cpt Olympus) and something like a Human Torch (Spark). She has no super powers, no desire to be a superhero, and her teenage rebellion was being the henchman of a supervillain, just to honk off her father.
Anyhow, Celia grows up and becomes a CPA whose specialty is forensic accounting - sort of like a detective who only does financial records. She tries to live apart from her parents and their super friends. She is working hard to make her own life, but things don't seem to let her - her parents have been `outed,' and everybody knows who they are, and who Celia is. She gets kidnapped a lot.
She gets called in on a tax evasion case against an aging supervillian - the one whom she helped once. Most of the book is about the trial - where she gets outed as once having helped "the Destructor,' the aging supervillian. From there, Celia's life gets turned upside-down, and she has to find it within herself to fix things.

If I go further, I think I might give away a lot of the fun stuff.

Anyhow, the book is a fast read - I got through it in about a week. I liked a lot of the characters - and I liked looking at them through Celia's eyes. If you liked the Disney movie "Sky High," you'll probably like this - but it's not a kids/young adult book. People die (shooting, strangulation, drowning, radiation) - but not very graphically, and mostly `off screen.' One major character dies and although the death is described, it is not excessively violent/graphic. There are corrupt politicians in the story. There are oblique references to characters having intimate relations in the book - but again, nothing graphic.

If you like comic books, and you're looking for something different, this is neat.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
If your parents were superheroes... March 7 2011
By dSavannah George-Jones - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product
Then you'd be like Celia West, the main character in this novel set in a comic book universe and peopled, as expected, by superheroes, villains, humans, cops, politicians, good vs evil, etc.

Celia is the daughter of Captain Olympus and Spark, half of the "Olympiad", the elite group of superhumans who protect Commerce City. She is also a big disappointment - she has no powers of any kind, and in her angst-ridden youth, she actually went to "work" for the Destructor, the Olympiad's great enemy, after of course he kidnapped her.

Now she's a forensic accountant, and the DA asks her to help find evidence to convict the Destructor of tax fraud, since they can't seem to find enough information on his criminal misdeeds to put him in prison. The evidence Celia finds just takes her deeper and deeper into the rabbit hole to very unexpected places. She also keeps getting kidnapped, and has to be rescued by the Olympiad numerous times (sometimes amusing, sometimes just annoying...).

Now to personal opinions on the book: the very unexpected places were interesting and engaging. I enjoyed reading about Celia's thought process and the way she tracked down the leads. The plot was intriguing and interesting, and it was definitely an interesting concept. I also liked how Celia reacted to her kidnappings... I found it to be pretty amusing.

However, there was a lot I didn't enjoy. As another reviewer stated, the book often seemed to fall into a "bratty I-hate-my-parents they-never-understand-me" kind of story - and get stuck there. It also got stuck in the "I-have-to-be-independent I-won't-let-anyone-help-me" mindset, so in places I just wanted to throttle Celia; I was thinking: yeah, we all have parent issues - get on with it.

Also, the book needed to go back to the editing table, especially the first part, which was full of repetition (we get it, Spark has red hair, you've told us already), awkward sentence construction, unnecessary words... They also never seemed to quite work out when the members of the Olympiad should be called their "superhuman" name or their "normal" name. I found myself editing as I went along, which can be really distracting. I'd prefer to edit books only if I'm getting paid for it (which yes, I have been).

Although Celia is fairly well drawn and we understand her motivations, the other characters are more like caricatures. We never really get to know them, which means we never really get to care about them either. And the ending is... okay... but it seemed like there should be more.
27 of 36 people found the following review helpful
The Not-So-Incredibles March 10 2011
By BJ Fraser - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product
Sometimes it's a good thing not to write reviews right away. I was all set to give this book four stars. Then nature called and while taking care of business, the realization hit me: most of this plot was meaningless! All the digging for clues and setting things up didn't matter at all because in the end the villain calls our hero to tell her exactly where--and who--he is. What the heck is that?

The more I thought about it, the more I realized that really this could have been chopped into a short story because the rest winds up being filler. Setting up all these relationships, what did it really matter? All but one of the superheroes wasn't even present for the grand finale!

The mostly unimportant story is like "The Incredibles" if the kids didn't have superpowers. Captain Olympus is like Superman and his wife Spark is like the Human Torch, only a girl. They have a daughter named Celia West who doesn't have any powers, except being a hostage. She's kidnapped about six times before the book starts.

The big nemesis is called the Destructor, who is like the resident Dr. Doom. The superheroes have caught him at last and now he's facing a trial. Celia is a forensic accountant assigned to the case despite that years ago she defected to the Destructor's side to get back at her parents. Meanwhile some new criminals are stealing priceless violins and fish (no fooling) and unleashing terror while also abducting Celia a couple more times.

The ride getting up to the big finish is interesting enough, though it never gets much deeper than the back cover flap description. This isn't in the vein of comics like "Watchmen" that try to have profound social messages.

The writing is pretty vanilla; it definitely is not going to challenge you. Celia is your typical spunky female just dying to be played by Rachael McAdams or Amy Adams in a movie adaptation. Though it's hard to have much respect for her since she gets kidnapped so many times before the story and four times DURING the story and yet still walks right into the trap at the end. Yeesh, after a while you'd think she'd get wise and start taking some precautions. And as I said, for all the digging for clues she does, it doesn't really have any impact. It would also have been nice if she hadn't been quite so whiny about her parents all the time.

The romance between her and a police detective who is also the mayor's son, like so much of the story just doesn't matter. In this case it's because another romance comes along, one that's a bit creepy.

Besides the end confrontation not being anything very exciting, the last chapter--which should have been an epilogue--quickly summarizes what happens to all the important characters. Besides limiting the sequel potential, there's nothing emotionally satisfying about these little blurbs.

In all it's comparable to the lesser superhero movies at your local multiplex. So long as you don't stop to think about it, it's not too bad.

That is all.
11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
AFTER THE GOLDEN AGE has a weakness that proved lethal: Celia West. April 12 2011
By AJ - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Superheroes are hotter than ever right now with two network TV shows currently airing (The Cape and No Ordinary Family) and a Wonder Woman reboot in the works, not to mention all the summer movies coming soon. Based on the cover art--which is phenomenal--and the description for AFTER THE GOLDEN AGE, I was hoping for a cool vintage like 'homage to Golden Age comics.' And that's exactly what I got with plot and worldbuilding, but like those two struggling TV shows, which will likely be canceled by the time this review runs, and superheroes in general, AFTER THE GOLDEN AGE has a weakness that proved lethal: Celia West.

It's hard to enjoy the other aspects of this book when I struggled to find even one redeeming quality about the main character. She's the most petulant, self-pitting, and miserable character I've read in a long time. She's constantly bemoaning her life and wallowing in her lot as a nonsuper kid of the two most famous supers ever. She tells everyone throughout AFTER THE GOLDEN AGE just how awful it was growing up in the shadow of her parents. Every time a new character was introduced I had to steel myself for another round of `poor Celia.'

And if her incessant bellyaching wasn't enough, Celia adds a whole new level of unreasonableness to her character. When she was seventeen, she defected to villain side and literally stood arm in arm with The Destroyer (her parents arch nemesis) when he tried to pull a 9/11 on the city. Yep, she was a terrorist who would have committed mass murder had her parents not shown up and thwarted the plan. Now I could potentially move past this if Celia as an adult expressed true remorse and regret over her actions, but she never did. She uses words like `mistake' and `indiscretion' to describe her actions. She never once apologizes, never once seeks forgiveness from her parents. On the contrary, she becomes indignant when her past is revealed and people don't try to comfort her. Unbelievable!

The story itself was fine and the superhero angle works well in an The Incredibles/Watchmen sort of way. I really enjoyed the short story from Carrie Vaughn set in this same world that was included in the SONGS OF LOVE AND DEATH anthology earlier this year, but Celia completely killed any possible enjoyment I might have taken from AFTER THE GOLDEN AGE. I found myself actually hoping at one point that the bad guys would just shoot her and put us both out of our misery. Not a good sign.

Sexual Content:
Kissing. References to sex

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