Hello humans! Does anyone remember when I reviewed Killer T? If not I’ll hit you with the highlights. Essentially, Robert Muchamore was an author I had read as a teen but stopped reading when his main characters became abominable teenage boys who I just hated. I gave his new book Killer T a chance but found that nothing had changed. Why am I telling you this? Well, today I’m reviewing Michael Grant’s latest book Villain, which is part of his continuation of the Gone series – which I read as a teen and quite enjoyed. I then read Monster earlier in the year and found that pretty good too, so, when I had the opportunity to read and review Villain I thought I would give it a go. The fact that I lead with that Killer T reminder should give you an idea of how this went…
The Perdido Beach dome is down, but the horrors within have spread, and now all of humanity is in danger. The alien virus-infested rock that created the FAYZ is creating monsters–monsters that walk the cities and countryside, terrorizing all. There are tanks in the street and predator drones in the sky, doomed efforts to stop the disintegration of civilization. Into this chaos comes a villain with the power to control anyone with just the sound of his voice.
Dillon Poe wanted to be a comedian once… but everyone made fun of him. Dillon the loser. Dillon the freak. Now he’s sending thousands to their death. Who’s laughing now?
The only people who can stop a superpowered villain are superpowered heroes. Dekka, Shade, Cruz, Malik, Armo, and a new mutant with unmatched powers, are all that stand in Dillon’s way. But when the lines begin to blur between hero and villain—some begin to wonder who’s really the monster. The fight will be bloody. This isn’t another battle, this is the war to save the human race.
I should stress that this isn’t all going to be a comparison to Killer T. A lot of aspects of this book are far better than Muchamore’s attempt to write teenagers who don’t make me want to bang my head repeatedly on my bookshelf. For instance, I think Grant does a fairly good job of making his characters diverse and intersectional. Does it always work? No. But the attempt is there and that’s important. I also think Grant’s plot is a lot more high stakes, it certainly takes the Gone books and adds a whole lot more to them.
So, why will I not be reading any more of this series?
In part, this comes down to personal preference. I’m not a person who enjoys a lot of gore and violence in what I read. That’s not to say I want everything to be sunshine and lollipops, but I don’t need graphic depictions of dead bodies every other chapter. So, if you enjoy that – this may be the book for you. I can also see how this might be a good book for, say, a librarian to recommend to teenage boys, because it has a lot of great female characters in roles that ten years ago would have just been teenage boys. In the mission to get young adults who would rather be shooting each other in video games into reading, this isn’t a bad example. But for me – I’m just not that into you.
So aside from the heaping violence, this book starts messing with one of my least favourite ‘superpowers’ which is mind control. I can’t be dealing with anything that screws around with consent. Again, that’s personal preference and, as far as I could tell, no-one is mind controlled into sleeping with anyone else, but there’s always the worry that it could happen and that makes for quite a stressful read on my part.
Now onto the main reason I don’t want to continue this series. And this is a spoiler alert for those who care about those.
Bringing back a character who ‘died’ in previous books who is just…horrible. Violent and damaged and rapey and…just no. There are enough terrible people in this book, there are enough awful perspectives you have to read, this was not necessary. What particularly bothered me was how every character, upon learning this, talked about how he was going to go after another character, and how powerless that character was at this point. I didn’t need that. I didn’t want that. This wasn’t relevant to the plot that was happening, it was just danger and fear for danger and fear’s sake.
So, if you want to read a book that is essentially awful people doing awful things interspersed with arguably good people making difficult and often terrible decisions then this is certainly the book for you. As I say, a lot of this is personal preference, and there will be people who will appreciate this story. I can also praise the attempts at diversifying the story. But I won’t be reading more of these books.
My rating: 2/5 stars
I received a free digital advanced review copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
What say you? Will you be reading this book? Let me know in the comments below!