Look! We’re reviewing stuff!
This time it’s “Playing for Keeps” by Mur Lafferty.
Now, Mur, is a sound I like to make to myself sometimes when I am thinking and occasionally when disappointed. So you can imagine my excitement when I discovered someone with the name, Mur. I’m not trying to be insulting or anything, I really enjoy names. So when I happen upon one that’s nontraditional it makes me smile.
My name is Kyllan after all. Can’t tell you how many times that is even pronounced right and don’t get me started on the number of people who are shocked to discover that I’m not a woman.
I first stumbled upon Lafferty by way of a Chuck Wendig interview. A friend had directed me to a podcast “I should be writing”, hosted by, of course, Mur Lafferty. The interview was great and she was a rather entertaining host.
Fast forward a month or two.
I was poking about Matt Forbeck’s website and what do you suppose I notice while browsing a post on his 12 for 12 project? A book by Mur Lafferty called “Playing for Keeps”.
Naturally I took this to be a sign and did what any other rational human being would do. So following a quick goat sacrifice and naked moonlight ritual-dance, I bought the book off of Amazon.
So how about a blurb?
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 control. Over 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.
Who doesn’t enjoy a nontraditional spin on established story telling?
I didn’t know what to expect heading into the book but I can tell you with the exception of some strange kindle formatting errors, I really enjoyed it.
Lafferty has a knack for humor that comes out of nowhere. From unexpected comments during super powered combat to the very nature of some of the characters super powers, it came off as fresh and entertaining.
You could take a lot from this book.
For instance we have a story that is the tale of the downtrodden, third-rate (or third wave) citizen’s rising to meet the challenge of overcoming powers far greater than theirs. And succeeding through team work and the knowledge that they might fail.
We also have a touch of commentary perhaps on the sometimes less than wholesome methods by which ‘the good guys’ gather information for the greater benefit of all.
Regardless of whether Lafferty intended it or not of course, that is entirely up to interpretation.
Or you could just ignore all that deeper meaning stuff and enjoy the hell out of a well crafted take on the super hero genre.
I hope that someday we might see Keepsie in a whole new story!
And if you missed that link up above near the beginning… go buy the book here!