After the Golden Age by Carrie Vaughn

Author Carrie Vaughn is best known for her Kitty Norville series of Urban Fantasy novels in which Kitty, a late night radio D.J., hosts a talk show for supernatural beings. However, in this novel she writes a different kind of speculative fiction, one which stars the daughter of Commerce City’s most powerful superheroes. Celia West knows that her lack of super-powers has always been a disappointment to her father, billionaire industrialist Warren West, a.k.a. Captain Olympus. Her mother, also known as Spark, has tried to care for and connect with her daughter, but Celia has always felt in the way of her parents heroic lives. She has very little contact with them these days and after college she got a nice normal job in an accounting firm. Now her firm is working with the District Attorney’s office to help prosecute Simon Sito, a.k.a. The Destructor, her parents’ arch nemesis for tax evasion and fraud.

Naturally, things get more complicated when a new crime spree starts while The Destructor is in custody awaiting trial. Is he masterminding this new wave of robberies and kidnappings from behind bars? Captain Olympus and the rest of the Olympiad team think so, but Celia’s not so sure, since it doesn’t seem to fit his motive of causing wanton destruction. Meanwhile, Celia starts dating a cop named Mark, who is the son of the Mayor, and they are both present at a symphony gala when one of the new gangs of criminals strikes. As much as she wants to distance herself from the world of her parents, Celia keeps getting dragged back into the thick of things related to the superheroes. In her investigation she stumbles onto the fact that Simon Sito once worked for her grandfather at West Corp as a scientist over fifty years ago. Does that have anything to do with his life of crime and what’s happening now?

I really geek out over superheroes and I just can’t get enough – from big budget movies to comics and graphic novels. My favorite Pixar movie is The Incredibles and at times I couldn’t help picturing Captain Olympus as Mr. Incredible, complete with Craig T. Nelson’s voice. Two of my favorite superhero novels are The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon and Soon I Will Be Invincible by Austin Grossman. I’m happy to say that I’m adding Vaughn’s novel to my list of recommendations and I’m even happier to learn that she’s written a new sequel, Dreams of the Golden Age, which chronicles the next generation in Commerce City, Celia’s teenage daughter Anna.

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