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I really enjoyed the book and when I heard that last sentence, I wondered if it was leaving a door open for a sequel and immediately checked back here. Now I just have to wait for the rest of the trilogy and hope they are as engaging and entertaining!
Imagine if Wolverine from the X-Men had written a tell-all autobiography á la Rob Lowe's Stories I Only Tell My Friends or _The Kid Stays in the Picture_ by Robert Evans. You'll be pretty close to the overall flavor of _Prepare to Die!_. It dishes up action, existential ruminations, feel-good nostalgia, adolescent angst, and a few genuine surprises along the way.
Prepare to Die! imagines a superhero universe from the ground-up, replete with the internecine conflicts, epic battles, and agonizing betrayals that normally unfold over the run of a comic book series. The book is written in an in-universe, autobiographical voice. Its "author" is a superhero known as Reaver -- so-called because he can take a year off a person's life with each of his punches. Reaver is writing for an audience that already reads about superheroes in tabloids and watches them on TMZ. Superheroes are are as much a target of the paparazzi as they are of supervillains. The in-universe audience already knows the characters. They know their stories, but they don't know the _whole_ story.
The story starts off with our hero, Reaver, facing down his arch-nemesis Octagon. Reaver is losing badly. He's cornered, out of options, and has literally no fight left in him. As Octagon prepares to administer the coup de grâce, he delivers the bad guy boilerplate: "Prepare to Die!" Reaver ponders this and responds: "Ok. How long do I have to prepare?" Surprisingly, Octagon agrees to give him some time to prepare to die. This sets off an existential journey through Reaver's past. He examines the genesis of his superhero powers and persona. He takes a trip back to his childhood hometown to see the love he lost when he took up the superhero-ing life.
I'm not a comic book afficionado by any means. Case in point: I was completely unaware that Paul Tobin has a day job as a comic book writer, writing storylines for Spidey, the Fantastic Four, etc. He may be sticking to the writer's adage of "write what you know", but the book is much better for it. Tobin writes well, and uses the novel format to meander seamlessly from the present-day story through Reaver's past triumphs and tragedies.
Ray Chase's gravelly narration is a perfect fit for the world-weary Reaver. Great casting, and a great example of a book that should be listened to rather than read. Next story Chase narrates, I'm going to have a hard time separating him from the Reaver.
Criticisms? Well, the female characters tend towards the one-dimensional. Not entirely, and not in all cases, but more often than not. Also, the ending doesn't entirely make sense when you think about the book's intended in-universe audience. But, what the heck. This is a really, really fun book. By turns, it's thrilling, heartbreaking, and, above all, genuinely surprising. I came to it with no expectations, was hooked within a few chapters. By the end I was completely won over, and can't wait for Tobin's next book.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
Would you listen to Prepare to Die! again? Why?
Yes. I would like to focus on some of the conversations between the main characters to see if I missed any clues that might have been given. There is so much revealed in the last two chapters that I found myself wondering if I had missed any hint of what was to come.
What other book might you compare Prepare to Die! to and why?
Rather than compare it to another book, I would compare the author to another author and that would be Ray Bradbury. Bradbury had the gift of making the unbelievable, believable, and that's the way I feel about Tobin's work.
Which character – as performed by Ray Chase – was your favorite?
Reaver. I finished the book about a week ago, and I have found myself missing his character. He is an endearing and complex hero.
If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?
Many times, while listening to this book, I thought to myself "This would be a fantastic movie!" So, while not terribly creative nor imaginative, my tag line would be "A Fantastic Movie!"
Any additional comments?
When will another book by Paul Tobin be available?
3 of 3 people found this review helpful