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V is for Villain


V is for Villain

Living in your brother’s shadow is hard, especially when he has every superpower you’ve ever wanted and you simply have intelligence. This has always been Brad Baron’s life, but it has just taken a turn for the worse. After an incident in gym class involving a broken neck, he is deemed unworthy of being in the Academy --- an intense program for powered teens destined to one day become heroes --- and is put into the A-program for the kids who aren’t quite at the hero level. Here, Brad meets Layla, a girl who will change everything and lead him down a road of villainy. Brad must choose to stay with the heroes and his family or unmask the truth behind what makes someone a hero. Overall, V IS FOR VILLAIN was very interesting and unique; it’s not very often that you get a story from the villain’s point of view.

This book is basically a crossover between the Disney movie Sky High and STEELHEART. In Peter Moore’s world, superheroes serve the public and fight Phaetons, the “antagonists” of the world, yet there is obviously something off about the heroes, at least in Brad’s eyes. They are a bit conceited and only act for the camera. For example, Blake, Brad’s golden boy brother, is very condescending to anyone without powers and practically calls himself superior to them. He’s a jerk, which is weird to see since he is a protagonist. Also, the villains in the story aren’t what you think of when you hear that word. Sometimes, they are just anti-heroes; other times, they don’t even know why they are fighting heroes. I’m not going to say much more about the Phaetons to avoid spoilers, but it is definitely different from other stories I’ve read.

V IS FOR VILLAIN was very interesting and unique; it’s not very often that you get a story from the villain’s point of view.

The next unique thing about Brad’s story is that even though he has such potential, he’s sort of useless. He doesn’t have the powers of strength, flight, or anything to really defend himself when confronted. He does have one gift --- which I won’t spoil for you --- that gives him strength in a really fascinating way. As for the rest of his friends, they are virtually useless even though they have such high dreams. This leads to very awkward interactions with real villains, who look down upon these amateurs. You root for them, nevertheless, but as a reader, you can tell how the scene is going to end.

The way Moore wrote this story was very…well, it was perfect, actually. At times, you feel like you are in Brad’s head and feeling, hearing and seeing what he does, which is quite a feat given how many bad mistakes could have been made with a power like his. He could have been obnoxiously smart, completely unlikable, or just a plain Gary-Stu, but he wasn’t. There was so much balance in his character. Just the way he controlled his impatience and his resentment towards his brother and channeled it into motivation was phenomenal. Then, the layout of the book complemented everything wonderfully. Between every few chapters, there would be a clipping of evidence or quotes that connected with the events going on and foreshadowed the ending.

The only thing I didn’t like about the book was the ending. Of all the possible outcomes, I felt like more could have happened or been said, but instead I was left on the edge of my seat. Worst of all, the cliffhanger was in a book without a sequel. Regardless, I still thoroughly enjoyed this story.

Reviewed by Sydney L., Teen Board Member on May 16, 2014

V is for Villain
by Peter Moore