Worst thing about being a supervillain? Getting your butt handed to you by caped do-gooders. Best thing about being a supervillain? Getting your hands on caped do-gooders’ butts. Heh.
Red Velvet and his two partners in crime – super-strong beefcake Ares and proud degenerate the Electric Eel – are the League of Larceny, the most notorious gang in town. They’ve been together in every sense of the word for years, and these days everyone knows better than to mess with them. Which is why they’re surprised to have their weekly heist interrupted by a rookie hero.
His costume is hideous. His banter is corny. His body is amazing. He’s Mister Valiant and he’s here to save the day. Or if not, then at least he might prove to be an amusing distraction for a few bored bad guys…
Want a break from angst-filled drama or sweeping science fiction? The Amateur by TJ Land will definitely give you that. Right away we’re introduced to a trio of characters who come across as small-time villains, not because they’re stupid or aiming too low, but because they’ve figured out what works for them in their home city of Mercy City. Which reminds me… what’s with superhero (or supervillain) stories always being set in some city named something city? All part and parcel with the supers versus villains genre, and if you’re a fan of that, you will LOVE TJ Land’s first novel in the Villainous Love Stories series.
But mixed in with the camp, and the indignation about female heroes being named femme fatales left and right, and the sheer goodness of the push and pull of keeping up with appearances in the gossip rags and in front of the normies is a complicated relationship between the three villains which encompass alternate gender identities and sexy kinky pleasure as well as a blur of the lines between good and evil. Because you can’t have a story that combines the hero and the villains and not make them all a little bit of both and endearing in their own ways to boot.
TJ Land creates amazing characters and worlds, but I loved the playful vibe of this story. Sometimes I just want to relax, smile, and laugh along with a bunch of cool characters and The Amateur gave me just that.