á Playing for Keeps · Download by Ê Mur Lafferty A freebie, and the sole written word I ve read from the First Lady of Podcasting Mur s pixie voice and soft spoken geekitude rings out in waves in this superhero novel if the guys from Cheers were C list superheroes forced into action, pitted against both superhero and supervillain This is for the Matter Eater Lads, the Bouncing Boys, and the Lasso Kids of the comic book world Well, it s a good concept anyway But the problem is the plot goes around and around and it never feels like you get anywhere It s like the middle could be taken out, and you could have the beginning go to the end without missing much This story could be a play, since it feels like they stay in one spot the entire novel They go to their base, they go outside the bar, they go back to the bar, they infiltrate the enemy base to rescue someone, they go back to the bar, they go to a cave, then back to the bar Maybe it s me, but it never felt like the characters were moving forward And if the characters don t move forward, then the plot doesn t.
I picked up Mur s book because I am a fan of her podcast and I feel it helped me to get published and I wanted to pay her back in some way I m very glad I did as I heartily enjoyed Playing for Keeps I love her basic premise that in addition to major super powers there are minor ones as well I, myself, seem to posses the inexplicable ability to turn off street lights I m a big fan of the secondary characters and of the love interest in this book I was left wanting .
I could also see an alternate writing of this book as a comedy.
The Shining Metropolis Of Seventh City Is The Birthplace Of Super Powers The First Wave Heroes Are Jerks, But They Have The Best Gifts Flight, Super Strength, Telepathy, Genius, Fire The Third Wavers Are Stuck With The Leftovers The Ability To Instantly Make Someone Sober, The Power To Smell The Past, The Grace To Carry A Tray And Never Drop Its Contents, The Power To Produce High Powered Excrement Blasts, Absolute Controlover Elevators Bar Owner Keepsie Branson Is A Third Waver With A Power That Prevents Anything In Her Possession From Being Stolen Keepsie And Her Friends Just Aren T Powerful Enough To Make A Difference At Least That S What They Ve Always Been Told But When The Villain Doodad Slips Keepsie A Mysterious Metal Sphere, The Third Wavers Become Caught In The Middle Of A Battle Between The Egotistical Heroes And The Manipulative Villains As Seventh City Begins To Melt Down, It S Hard To Tell The Good Guys From The Bad, And Even Harder To Tell Who May Become The True Heroes The misfit superhero storyline is nothing new One of my all time favorite movies is 1999 s Mystery Men about a team of wannabes who have to step up and become real heroes to save Champion City from the clutches of the evil and delightfully campy Casanova Frankenstein That movie was based on characters from the cult comic book Flaming Carrot There was also the The Specials, which followed the misadventures of the sixth or seventh best superhero team in the world Another prime example is Ben Edlund s The Tick both the comic and the cartoon series Of course, you could trace the sub sub genre back to the TV show The Greatest American Hero or even further into the comics themselves the superhero genre has never been afraid to look at its own absurdities and find the humor in them Mur Lafferty s Playing for Keeps is a fine addition to this sub sub genre, managing to adequately mine the comic possibilities while playing it straight often enough to force the reader to pay attention as they rip through the fast paced storyFor the full review, see my blog My first ever episodic audiobook and it was pretty good read by the author herself each episode covered a couple of chapters in about 30 mins, providing a nice ear sized chunk of super powers The story follows a group of uniquely powered individuals, not quite powerful enough to be either heroes or villains, but caught in the middle of a battle between the two groups Keepsie our hero, if not officially a Hero has the power to freeze anybody who tries to steal something from her, and like so many of the other low level powers you just know that these are going to turn out to be better powers than Keepsie and the others realise I didn t read the book, instead, I listen to the podcast of it I loved it This story gives you a unique twist about the whole superhero villian story Further, the powers of some of the people in this story is ridiculously funny I didn t think I d like this story as much as did It s a definite listen.
Upon discovering that Campbell Award winner Mur Lafferty had written a book about superheroes with shitty powers, I immediately bought it, and I have no regrets Playing for Keeps is a fun ride.
Keepsie Branson runs a bar for members of the Third Wave, those with powers deemed too useless to be worthy of superherodom Her power No one can take anything from her Hurrah, go fight crime with that Her best friend can balance anything on a bar tray BIG WHOOP It s not invulnerability and flight and laser eyes, I tell you what Her friends and patrons all have wonderfully stupid powers in comparison to the First Wave superheroes who protect Seventh City from the supervillains But one fateful day, Keepsie finds herself embroiled in a battle that will change her life forever Who are the real heroes Can the superheroes be trusted What about the supervillains It did take me a while to get a handle on all the characters, but once I could keep them straight, I liked them Lafferty finds very clever uses of their powers, as they discover that they may not be so useless after all It s a big day for them all, really, and I enjoyed watching them becomeconfident in themselves The First Wavers are jerks, and the villains are, well, villains, but the Third Wavers seemed like people I d love to hang out with.
The book s major strength is also its biggest flaw it s basically one long action scene Once the plot kicks off, shit just getsreal with every chapter Plot twists Double crosses Character deaths Wanton destruction It makes for an exciting read, but it s also exhausting, and it makes the book feel long when it really isn t It s like jumping into the last few episodes of an anime and getting the five episode battle royale without all the build up On the one hand, I kind of loved that it never slowed down, and on the other hand, I wanted some room to breathe.
I really dug Playing for Keeps It s fun, it s funny, it s creative, it s action packed, and it s entirely engaging If you like superhero stories especiallyoffbeat ones check it out.

Playing for Keeps by Mur Lafferty is an interesting new take on the superhero genre Just like in real life, you re not entirely sure who the good guy is, because everyone in charge has their own agenda the only difference is that these politicians have superpowers Actually, almost everyone has powers, but the only people who get to have the super prefix to their names are the ones who have really good ones like flight and invisibility Everyone else gets stuck with things like summoning elevators and perfect balance of bar trays Lafferty introduces Keepsie, who s special power is the no one can steal from her If they try, they stuck in a frozen stasis until she lets them go Naturally, her and the patrons of the bar she owns aptly named Keepsie s bar get caught in a whirlwind of adventure, wrong place at wrong time, epic showdown of good vs evil, etc A tried and true method, sure, but it works well for this story, and Lafferty makes sure it packs enough punch to unleash a literal shit storm Highly recommended for fans of Soon I Will Be Invincible and The Venture Brothers, Playing for Keeps is hits the superhero spoof nail on the head.
The collection of folks with lame powers in a supers setting is something of its own subgenre, complete with its own tropes and dangers The single greatest accomplishment of this book is how deftly it avoids most of those traps Most notably, there are very few scenes where the heroes end up in a situation where their esoteric power is exactly the right solution, and thank goodness for that Similarly, Lafferty does a great job of starting things off morally gray and keeping them there, rather than coming to some faux moral ending This does mean that the ending is perhaps a little less satisfying than it could be, but that seemed a fair tradeoff.
That said, the book is not flawless The author clearly has a strong sense of characterization, but it is communicated to the reader very slowly The initial quick sketches of supporting characters are are very lightly applied and are dumped on the reader in blocks as multiple characters show up at once My overall impression was that the author knew the character so intimately that she glossed over some of what a reader who was new to these characters might need to know.
More problematically, the writing is a little transparent in parts, includingthan one occasion where a character abruptly does something that seems out of place, which turns out to have no impact on the story other than to serve as a vehicle for some specific point of plot introduction This is not a horrible thing characters do act to move the story forward out of necessity but it happened enough to draw my attention to it.
That said, these problems do not keep it for being a fun read More than anything, they are frustrations because the good parts are strong enough that they make the flaws stand out I d really beinclined to call it 3.
5 stars if goodreads allowed for such things.
If this book was a movie it would be a low budget Direct to Video one Previously, I would have given this a 1 Star but I ve evolved as a reader and am now mature enough to save my 1 stars to those books that are an abomination Areas in which this book was lacking STORYKeepsie and her friends are Third Wave heroes, which are people with useless superpowers like keeping all bar trays upright or knowing things about people from sniffing them In a town run by real superheroes and infested with super villains, the Third Wavers are shunned by the Academy Hero training centre and by society When Keepsie gets a chance to stand up to the Academy by withholding a device given to her by a villain, she does so just to spite the Academy and her friends stick by her Interesting premise, right Well, the rest of the story went something like this Third wavers get beaten up by the Super heroes, then they hide out in Keepsie s bar.
Third Wavers get beaten up by the villains, then they hide out in Keepsie s bar.
Third Wavers get beaten up by machines, then they hide out in Keepsie s bar.
Third Wavers get beaten up by a psychotic drugged scientist, then they hide out in Keepsie s bar.
Third Wavers get beaten up by demons from another dimension, then they hide out in Keepsie s bar.
Third Wavers, heroes, villains, machines, psychotic drugged scientist and demons all end up in Keepsie s bar.
Further, the ending was not fulfilling at all WRITING H.
E Badly in need of an editor Cringe worthy dialogue Half of the time it read like a superhero spoof and the other half it read like a bold and the beautiful script Bad Just needs to be re written completely to sound plausible and real Characters Flat Did not feel for them AT ALL They did not amuse me one bit I wasn t rooting for anyone, they were all fake The deep relationships that should have existed between them was not shown properly at all I couldn t connect with the book or feel the connection between the characters I wouldn t recommend this This should have been a first draft Shame, as the premise had a positive prospect.