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Sam Morris

Sam Morris

YBB Preview: Starter Villain by John Scalzi

Starter Villain, like most Scalzi books, is short, punchy, and doesn't overstay its welcome. It delivers very funny jokes in the narration and satisfying, if formulaic, plotting and characters.

Charlie Fitzer is a substitute teacher with the unattainable dream of owning the pub he used to visit with his dad. When his billionaire parking-garage-mogul uncle dies, Charlie finds himself suddenly in a world of weather-altering lasers, Evil Villain leagues, and the question of what happens when henchmen want to unionize.

This book is another “very mundane person is at the deadest of ends and then gets a ridiculous job offer that shouldn’t exist but they actually are pretty good at it and find their purpose along the way” story, like many of Scalzi’s latest books. Also like those books, it takes on pretty heavy topics with a very light wit.

Are billionaires the real-world super villains? Are billionaires actually even rich? What’s the difference between a million and a billion and a trillion dollars? Is there one at that scale? Does inherited wealth come with inherited genius? Why do we worship the very lucky and very rich?

I read this book in one sitting and enjoyed it, but it’s an appetizer of a book. It’s fun and tasty and quick, but now I’m ready for a book with a little more to sink my teeth into.

An advance reader copy of this book was provided by NetGalley, but all opinions expressed are my own.

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