Sunday, July 2, 2023

Book Review: The Meister of Decimen City

Supergenius and quasi-villain Rex normally can’t go a week without accidentally endangering Decimen City with her science shenanigans. It’s been two weeks since her genetically engineered dinosaurs rampaged through town—a good streak for her—but the peace is broken when actual villain Last Dance sets his sights on Decimen. And he wants Rex’s help. Before Rex can say “I didn’t do it,” superheroes who’ve dragged her to jail on her worst days are crowding her lab to conscript her into quasi-herodom.

Rex would rather stay out of it and deal with the dinosaurs that keep calling her Mom, but she can’t ignore that she was somewhat responsible for Last Dance’s villainy. She’d kept a very disorganized lab. And he was such a nosy brother. She failed to help him back then, but maybe if she stops him now—and keeps the heroes fooled—she can finally set things right.

The Meister of Decimen City, the debut novel by Brenna Raney, was released in March 2023 from CamCat Publishing.

Followers of my reviews know that books about superheroes and villains are a staple of my reading. It has always been that way since I heavily got into comic books in the mid-1970's. My own writing has even dabbled quite a bit in that area. So, I am always open for new takes on things.

The author takes a different spin at the superhero genre story in several ways. First, we're focusing mostly on a villain (an evil genius). Next, there is the ongoing dinosaur theme (each chapter has the word in its title). And, the chapters are actually labelled as "issues" which harkens back to medium of comic books themselves. These all give the story a different feel.

Despite all these, the story just didn't keep my attention. I found myself struggling to stay interested a quarter of the way in. Rex is a reluctant "villain" at best. She is more like a mad scientist whose experiments go off the rails, leading her to be branded a menace. Her minions are sympathetic and supportive to her. Those left in charge of overseeing her are more caught up in their own relationship drama. Even Rex is involved in her own feelings and relationships. This book is really more a rom-drama with a splash of superhero paint thrown on it for some color.

I did, however, find the Protectors entertaining. I liked their personalities and dynamics the instant they were introduced.

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