Book Review: The Rules of Supervillainy by CT Phipps

Disregarding the weirdness of reality, how far can ridiculousness go before it’s just absurd? Given that I love Douglas Adams, write my own brand of ridiculous books, and have a penchant for snark, I’m probably the wrong person to ask. C.T. Phipps, with his Rules of Supervillainy, is also probably the wrong person to ask, but by George, the book was entertaining!

1. Thoughts on the plot

This book is sort of the hero’s journey, only our hero is a villain. No, not just labelled by the readers as a Bad Guy, but actually, honestly, a supervillain. Gary Karkofsky inherited, somehow, the cape of the now-deceased superhero Nightwalker. With the sentience therein, and the powers granted to him, he decides to follow his childhood dream and become a supervillain, namely Merciless: The Villain Without Mercy. From there, he embarks on a quest to become the biggest bad in Falconcrest, only there are a bunch of other villains that get in his way. With his wife, an ex-girlfriend-slash-henchperson, and a former villain turned mentor, he has a ways to go before he reaches that goal. And it’s not only the superheros he has to worry about.

The plot was fascinating, because it read exactly as I would expect if a hero (not an MC, a hero) received some powers, discovered how to use them and went about doing noble things to save the world. Only, Gary’s not acting from noble intentions. It was intentionally twisting the bits of the hero’s journey story into something more suiting a less noble character, and it was done in such a way that you knew precisely how the plot was meant to turn out, but weren’t entirely sure if we would get there. Also, it was just plain entertaining.

2. Thoughts on the characters

As villains go, Gary isn’t particularly scary. Okay, yes, he cares more about money than noble intentions. And, yes, he doesn’t actually feel remorse for taking his villainous rivals down. But he’s otherwise perfectly normal. That’s the part that makes him a great character to read. He just has this sort of…eager, dog-like quality about him that is endearing and a little frightening. Just thrown him a bone and he’ll run with it, no matter if it’s the smart thing to do. One has to wonder, just a little, how he gets as far as he does. I’ll chalk it up to the magical cloak and the rational mind of his wife, Mandy. Who is, definitely, a favourite character of mine.

3. Favourite part

Out of all the slightly ridiculous, but somehow still logical scenarios in this book, I think the unabashed snark and sarcasm put forth by the cloak is definitely my favourite. It takes these absurd situations and makes them merely ridiculous and entertaining. That could be because I have a fondness for snark, but I think there’s probably a bit more to it than that.

4. Critique

I don’t really have a critique for this book. The prose was great, the characters entertaining, the situations perfectly ridiculous, and the ending trending just enough towards a cliff hanger to grab attention without leaving important questions unanswered. 

Overall, The Rules of Supervillainy is definitely a book worth reading. If you’re into the absurd, with a bit of logic, a whole lot of snark, and some magical powers thrown in, this is worth a read. An excellent book.