Goon Squad – Book Review

Book Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3.5/5 stars)
Audio Book Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3.5/5 Stars)
Total Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3.5/5 stars)

Meet the Goon Squad…protectors of modern-day Manchester against rogue talents and other criminal scum. Join Nadiya Kysla as she is requisitioned as “Puppet Girl” for the Goon Squad, a name given to her due to her empathetic abilities…and more! But being a “goon” isn’t like typical law enforcement; with her new team – Ian the Dead Man, Gilbert the “Red Wolf”, and Talos the Robot – they are faced with challenges they can’t even begin to fathom.

The heart of the Goon Squad really comes from the characters. Each of these characters, called “talents” rather than superheroes, are unique not only by their abilities, but by how they stomp out different tropes in superhero fiction. When I first met Nadiya, I thought I would be getting a stereotypical, chaotic, Harley Quinn type of anti-hero. I am so glad I was wrong! Instead we receive a female lead who has innate empathic abilities…and more! She likes having fun, loves her plush panda, and wants to do what is right. Then there’s Gilbert, the Red Wolf, who is so determined to be a good person that villains often fail to find “dirt” on him. He spends his time fighting down the wolf inside of him, making him both the heart and the strength of the squad. Then there’s Ian Mears, the walking dead man: sarcastic, witty, he is probably the most stereotypical type of character…but in all the best ways! A team like this needs someone to “tell it how it is” after all. The only character that really remains elusive is Talos, but based on the ending of book 3, that is with reason.

As fun as the multiple stories throughout the audio rendition are, I think the episodic nature of each chapter didn’t always work. I understand it was supposed to be like a comic book, and I could picture each scene as a comic book, but as an audio book, it left something to be desired. Possibly if I read this on my kindle instead, I might have been a bit more engaged. So I can’t say if it was the writing or narrator that left me distracted.

I can totally picture this as a comic or TV show though! The author’s goal was to paint a comic with prose, and he did do just that! And with a cliff hanger like that…I am sure to pick up the next part when it is released!

So if you want some darker, but still heroic, deeds…check out Goon Squad! It’s fun and worth the ride!

What’s it about?

An ongoing, episodic ”prose comic” from which the pictures are summoned by the magic of words, Goon Squad is set in an alternate version of modern-day Manchester. Its biggest divergence from the real city is that it — along with most other large urban centers — has a team of superheroes to protect it against unusual threats with which the conventional forces of law and order would have problems.

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