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Book Review: Starter Villain

Starter VillainStarter Villain by John Scalzi
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I dove straight into Starter Villain just after closing the third book in John Scalzi’s “The Dispatcher” series. It wasn’t too much of a jolt, as the author’s voice is so strong in his books that it carried me from one premise to the other.

But while the Dispatcher was set in an altered reality, Starter Villain is well-grounded in our world… oh, wait, except for the fact that it isn’t. I don’t want to explain why I said that, because every turn of the page reveals another layer of weird intrigue. Our protagonist, Charlie, is a fairly decent guy caught in a messed-up situation. But slowly, reluctantly, and in a perpetual state of confusion, we cheer him on towards a highly satisfying conclusion.

However. Right about the halfway mark, Scalzi’s signature style of Explaining Everything bogs down. There’s just SO MUCH EXPLAINING. It’s good stuff he’s telling us, though, and eventually the pace picks up again. I persevered and was ultimately glad I did.

By the time you finish the book, you’re going to know enough to become a Starter Villain yourself! But… I really don’t recommend it.

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Lori Alden Holuta lives between the cornfields of Mid-Michigan, where she grows vegetables and herbs when she’s not writing, editing, or playing games with a cat named Chives.

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