Council of Evil (Villain.Net) by Andy Briggs

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Council of Evil (Villain.Net) by Andy Briggs

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Category: Teens
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Jason Mark Curley
Reviewed by Jason Mark Curley
Summary: If you could download superpowers from the web, would you go to Hero.Com or Villain.Net?
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 192 Date: June 2008
Publisher: Oxford University Press
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-0192755445

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Jake Hunter is a good looking, blond fourteen year old. His parents seem unconcerned with his life; he sees them as a conduit for money, a roof over his head and little else. At school he's the unofficial head of a gang of bullies. He can see his life has gone wrong somewhere, but he feels incapable of doing anything about it. During a computer class, one of his lackeys hands him a USB stick, and tells him it contains a virus that his uncle's computer picked up; so new the virus checker didn't catch it. Jake distracts another student and slips the USB stick in his terminal.

When the boy gets back to his screen it seems to be frozen, but nothing else. Jake checks his email on his own machine. As the boy next to him shouts out he thinks he's got a virus, Jake finds a new email that seems to come from his own account, the subject is 'JAKE, JOIN ME AND RULE!' He doesn't get the chance to open it; as the virus begins to wipe the data from the school machines, his teacher insists everyone turns off their terminals.

Jake opens the mail when he gets home. It offers him the chance to visit Villain.Net. The site tells him he'll be granted a single temporary power for demonstration purposes. Then he will be met by one of the sites representatives. He clicks on a radiation symbol but nothing seems to happen. The next day at school he is given detention. He gets angry with his teacher and burns the classroom down with his trial power.

Later on he is met by Basilisk, who asks Jake to become his student. Excited with a real chance to leave his boring life behind, Jake agrees, and quickly finds himself embroiled in a scheme to take over the world.

This book has been published at the same time as Rise of the Heroes and the books really deserve to be read together. Though both of the books are, unsurprisingly, almost identical in style, the plots and characters are radically different. Of the two, I preferred the Villain side, as it was less subject to falling into cliché, it was a lot darker and I liked the central character a great deal more (that might say more about me than the book however). At the start of the Hero side, the four characters seem to be there just to make up numbers. It's hard to highlight major differences between the two girls and the two boys. This does get a little better as the book progresses, and the characters seem to find themselves.

This is pretty much a classic superhero style story. I think the translation to this format has offered the chance to utilise some literary effects that might not be thought worthwhile in comic books. The novel form gives you the chance to get much closer to the characters, and step right down from the action when needed. Both books are paced very well and keep you going all the way through.

Yes the story lines interlink, but not as much as you would expect, and also with little to no damage to the mystery of the plot lines – quite an achievement if you ask me. It's all very well written and readable, not to mention, a lot of fun!

Coming, as this does, post Heroes (TV Show) I think this is going to be a popular title and attract a lot of comic book fans who might not otherwise want to pick up a novel. I can see strong sequel possibilities here too, especially with the character development and unique concepts evident in this first bi-novel.

Here at Bookbag Towers we've seen an edition where both books were issued in one 'flip' volume. The two in one, reversible book format is great fun, and seems like a novel idea (I know, it's like you can see that joke coming a mile off and there's just nothing you can do about it). We really hope that the publishers will take this idea further.

I'm giving Hero.Com four stars, and Villain.Net four and a half. So that means the joint book gets four and a quarter. Hmm, that might mess up The Bookbag's star ratings system; maybe this book has brought out the villain in me!

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Buy Council of Evil (Villain.Net) by Andy Briggs at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Council of Evil (Villain.Net) by Andy Briggs at


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