- Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
- Publisher: Tor Fantasy; Reprint edition (Jan. 31 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0765364603
- ISBN-13: 978-0765364609
- Product Dimensions: 10.6 x 2.4 x 17.1 cm
- Shipping Weight: 159 g
- Average Customer Review: 5 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #660,463 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
After the Golden Age Mass Market Paperback – Jan 31 2012
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“Brilliantly structured, beautifully written…. Vaughn brings together mythology, fairy tales, and very human lives, immersing readers in the stories these complex characters tell themselves to make sense of their war-torn worlds.” ―Publishers Weekly, starred review, on Discord’s Apple
“Carrie Vaughn weaves a gorgeous tapestry of the human condition in a postapocalyptic world filled with mystery, magic, and immortals. Her world-building is masterful!” ―L. A. Banks, New York Times bestselling author of The Thirteenth, on Discord’s Apple
“Carrie Vaughn masterfully weaves together comic books, Greek gods, King Arthur, and a world on the brink of nuclear war. Discord's Apple is phenomenal!” ―Jackie Kessler, co-author of Shades of Gray, on Discord’s Apple
“Enough excitement, astonishment, pathos, and victory to satisfy any reader.” ―Charlaine Harris on Kitty and the Midnight Hour
About the Author
Carrie Vaughn is the New York Times bestselling author of the Kitty Norville books, including Kitty's Big Trouble, Kitty Goes to War, and Kitty and the Midnight Hour. She is also the author of the stand-alone novel Discord's Apple, and the young adult books Voice of Dragons and Steel. Vaughn had the nomadic childhood of the typical Air Force brat, with stops across the country from California to Florida. She earned her B.A. from Occidental College in Los Angeles, and a master's in English from the University of Colorado at Boulder. She has worked as a Renaissance Festival counter wench, a theater usher, an editor, a buyer at an independent bookstore, and an administrative assistant. She lives in Boulder, Colorado.
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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.
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".
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.
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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