Playing for Keeps Cover

Playing for Keeps” is a superhero novel, written by  Mur Lafferty, the current editor of my favourite science fiction podcast, Escape Pod.

I listened to this novel as a podiobook, and it made my commute  a lot easier to deal with for a little while. It is still available as a free podiobook, which is how I originally listened to

The novel is set in what looks like a standard superhero universe, and starts of with a battle of the heroes vs. the villains. The main character Keepsie, ends up as a hostage to a super-villain, Doodad, who leaves a mysterious sphere with her. Keepsie is a third-waver, a person with minor super powers, not considered good enough to be accepted to the superhero academy. Her power is that nothing she owns can be taken from her.

From here, things go seriously haywire, as both the superheroes and the villains want access to the sphere, and Keepsie and her fellow third-wavers end up caught in the middle of everything.

I really enjoyed listening to the book, and the powers of the third wavers kept things interesting, since they were all on the somewhat amusing side, yet were used very cleverly, such as the man with the detachable legs.

The characters felt real and likeable, and all of them seem to have sufficient depth to keep things interesting. They really came across as real people, with their own interests and concerns.

The book’s pacing was excellent, and it kept me interested throughout my listening to it. The plot takes some unusual and unexpected turns, and it is fascinating as little bits of the setting are revealed step by step.

I found the setting fascinating, especially since I am a sucker for twists on the superhero genre. I think that this book is a worthy addition to it.