Friday, October 2, 2015

Please Don't Tell My Parents I Blew Up The Moon by Richard Roberts

I loved "Please Don't Tell My Parents I'm a Supervillain". That book was great fun so I didn’t waste much time in getting the sequel. "Please Don't Tell My Parents I Blew Up the Moon" is that sequel and once again author Richard Roberts had gave us a fun delightful read.

The story picks up one month after the end of “Supervillain”. Our three protagonists; Penelope Akk, Ray Viles, and Claire Lutre, are now card-carrying supervillains. However even 13 year-old supervillains need to attend school but as you would expect, the trio are bored out of their minds.

After the high of taking on and defeating adult superheroes, school is just boring. Penny, Ray and Claire are just itching to do some villainary so when criminal mastermind, Spider, offered them a job to go into space, the trio literally jumped at the opportunity.

Before you can say “Kids going to space”, Penny had built a bio-spaceship called the Red Herring and off they go towards Jupiter. Once there, they discovered that they weren’t the first humans to go so far from Earth and that human colonists from Earth has been there for decades. Not only that, the colonists are spilt into several groups that don’t like each other very much and they are all at war against aliens from beyond the solar system.

She may be a supervillain, but Penny still thinks of herself as a good person so she tries her best to help out the colonists. She even thinks she could forge a superhero identity in Jupiter, far from the villainous reputation she built on Earth. However after some initial success, her inventions made things decidedly worse and Penny has to go back to what she do best; be the supervillain that saves the day!

Now one of the things I love about "Please Don't Tell My Parents I'm a Supervillain" was how fun it was. Like they say, don’t spoil a good thing and "Please Don't Tell My Parents I Blew Up the Moon" followed that advice to a T. The wild fun hijinks are all here with The Inscrutable Machine (T.I.M) trio facing their problems with villainous panache.

Richard Roberts also got a lot of world-building done in this book. Not only did he make “History” Penny’s favorite subject in school, he also went into the history of the space colonists. We basically got the general details of what happen in WW 2, the discovery of America, all the way to the story of Achilles and Troy. Achilles as a bulletproof superhuman? Yes, more of that please. If Roberts ever get tired of T.I.M, I would suggest he try his hand at writing a novel featuring historical figures as people with superpowers. That would be fun.  

“Blew Up the Moon” is also a much more serious book than “Supervillain”. Unlike the first book where the heroes and villains walked away from conflicts relatively unscathed, many characters in this book got severely injured due to all the fighting. There's even terrible genetic horrors which were created by mad scientists but are now went out of control and intend to eat humans.

The ending of the book is also something I enjoy. The colonists dislike each other with a passion but they know they have to work together at times to face off against outside forces like the aliens. Having failed to help them as a hero, Penny went to what works best; be the villain. She became the “Big Bad” that the colonists have to unite against and even managed to inspire the colonists’ every first superhero “The Kluge”. Now that’s not something you read about often.

As fun as “Blew Up the Moon” is, I have to agree with the people that say it does not match up to the quality of “Supervillain”. The main problem I have is the fact that the space adventure brought T.I.M so far from Earth. Most of the side characters in the first book did not show up in “Blew Up the Moon” and that is a big minus in my mind. Instead of Bull and Master Scorpion, we got Chief, Fabulous and Remmy. Sorry but the Fawkes siblings just aren’t as interesting.

I also can’t help but feel the book was rushed. I read somewhere that the writer sped up the writing of this book due to the success of “Supervillain” and I think it shows. There were parts of the book where I had to go back to figure out what happened; when did that character showed up; where did that invention came from? Perhaps more time with the editors would have served the book better.

Overall, "Please Don't Tell My Parents I Blew Up the Moon" is still a book I would recommend. It’s not as good as "Please Don't Tell My Parents I'm a Supervillain", but that is a high bar to clear. Take it on its’ own, and you will find that this book is great fun. I can’t wait for Book 3.

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