Friday, April 04, 2008

REVIEW: 'Playing for Keeps' by Mur Lafferty

Title: Playing for Keeps
Author: Mur Lafferty
Price: free ebook, $16.99 paperback
Genre: Fantasy and Sci Fi
ISBN: --
Point of Sale: author's site, Lulu

There are a few fictional touchstones that most people have in common. The Bible, Shakespeare, Tolkien... superheroes. Several generations of us how now grown up with superhero comics. I bonded with the soap opera style 80's X-Men, and indies like Zot and Distant Soil. I worked my way back into the older books from there, Dr. Strange, Dazzler, Warlord.... And the latest development is superpowers with a hefty dose of satire, parody or just a straight out, good ol' reality check. And this was more or less what I was expecting from 'Playing for Keeps'.

The story starts strongly with Keepsie, a woman whose power of stopping people from stealing her stuff just isn't good enough to get her a place in the academy. I loved the opening scene of a gal just trying to get to work through a battle between a pompous hero and robot-riding villain. The villain slips Keepsie a mysterious sphere and her suspicions about their motives and her wounded pride mean she refuses to give it to the so-called heroes.

From there things get more interesting in some ways as we meet the cast of Keepsie's band on not-very-super-powered friends and hangers on. But the action also devolves into a lot of running here and there and instead of playing with super-hero cliches the plot seems to depend on them. That is to say, people bump into each other coincidentally, the action and fight scenes play become increasingly implausible, 'normal' people are basically invisible except as occasional victims... and the main solution to problems seems to involve getting more power.

So although I still kind of liked Keepsie at the end I felt the book ended up endorsing the very ideas it started out poking fun at.


4 comments: (Mur Lafferty) said...

Thanks so much for taking the time to read and review! Your feedback is something I'll definitely be thinking about with my next book.

Edward said...

Really liked Mur's other works but just could not get past the first chapter of this one.

Steve said...

I had doubts about the initial premise, but having wilfully suspended my disbelief in the first couple of chapters found my self pulled through to the end of the novel and really enjoyed the ride. I really wasn't looking for any deep meaning from the story just reading (listening) for the shear escapism and entertainment value, and it certainly met my expectations in that respect.

Wigiting said...

edward - i think you missed out. Youo may want to give it another chance.

I listened to the podiocast, and read the PDF's, and loved them both. I

It was nice to have a story that didn't focus just on the mega hero. Not everyone gets to be Superman. Some of us have be the ant man.

I can't wait to get mine from amazon on aug.25