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on 1 August 2008
Being a fan of the superhero genre is not in anyway necessary to realy enjoy this novel.
Mur has crafted a plassable world with some very likeable and equally evil characters (not always the ones you think), that make this story a joy ride from start to finish.
This may be her first published work of fiction, but is not her first novel. If you're unsure of trying a unheard of author there is a very easy solution. Go to her web site There she has many of her stories, recorded in her own voice, as audio files to download for free. If you like these books, her sence of humour, her writing style and prose, i guarantee you will like this as well.
I am a fan of murs and have been for a number of years. I hope that i have helped you become one too.
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on 25 August 2008
Mur Lafferty's first published novel is set in Seventh City, where superheroes form part of the local government infrastructure, with superpowers resulting from unexpected side effects of a drug administered during pregnancy. In this way the author grounds the fantastical element in just enough plausible scientific rationalisation to make it believable.

But the novel isn't about the superpowers, quirky and imaginative though many of them are (my favourite is the waitress's power of being able lift anything - so long as it's on a tray). No, the focus of the story is the effect on a group of people denied the coveted 'hero' designation because their powers are simply not good enough to qualify for government endorsement and funding at the Academy. These are the Third Wavers, many of whom hang out at Keepsie's Bar - the proprietor so nicknamed for her power of being able to 'keep' anything she owns safe from loss or theft. The Third Wavers regard the Academy with understandable suspicion and resentment, and the feeling is mutual. Add the fact that some of the actual superheroes are insufferably smug and arrogant and you have the makings of a superpowered conflict.

There's also a good deal of comedy, and some adult language, though nothing with which a teenager wouldn't already be familiar. And while there's plenty of action, right from page one, the personal lives of Keepsie and her friends are portrayed with sensitivity, giving the novel depth and realism.
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on 7 September 2012
I would say the book was highly average.

For one, the author had priced the book higher than similar books. Maybe it was my fault, but I was hence expecting a better book.

The book is about a group of second rate heroes, with powers like making drunk people sober, healing 1 mm of skin, and the heroine Keepsie, who can keep anything safe from being stolen.

The books started off good, and is a good read. However, I didnt like the character of Keepise, the main heroine. For one, she cant seem to make up her mind about who is good or bad. The so called "Good guys" (the superheroes supposed to fight the evil etc, who work for the government and draw a salary) in the book are a bunch of bullies, who torture and try to kill Keepsie and her friends. And yet, when one of Keepsies friend (who had been tortured) tries to fight them, she calls him a traitor. Its like she is Miss Perfect, 'oh we will take the high road'. And the next second she is fighting them herself.

The ending wasn't satisfying either. The evil scientist is defeated, but the most of the evil "super heroes" who had tortured Keepsie's friends get no punishment. There is no investigation into their actions. The books ends with Keepsie training with the same organisation that tried to murder her.

I would have like Keepsie to take a moral stand, to fight, to choose the right path. Instead, she comes off as a whiny loser, who mistreats her friends because they fail to keep up with her own moral standards.
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on 4 March 2016
This is a fun little book, I was immediately sucked into the story, I'm a sucker for Superhero/Supervillain stories - and this one focuses on the poor schmucks caught between the Virtuous and the Devilish.

The main focus of the story is on the "Third Wavers", folk who also got powers, but powers that have been written off as useless or downright disgusting. Ability to sober someone up with a touch, Able to smell the history of something, ability to never drop a bar tray! Get the picture?

The title is a play on the location of much of the book, a bar - as well as the bar owners nickname "Keepsie", a name she earns for obvious reasons when you read the book.

I really wanted to love this book more than I did, the story is fantastic - but the pacing was a little off and some of the dialogue between characters just didn't come across as naturally as I would have liked.

But overall, this is a nice novel with some fantastic ideas.

You should definitely check this out if you enjoyed the Velveteen V's books/stories by Seanan McGuire!
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on 13 March 2013
Funny, witty, entertaining.

Mur has opened up an entire world of podiobooks for me, and for this I thank her!!!

Love Playing for Keeps!
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on 1 September 2015
Not as good as the Shambling series. Too many different semi-heroes to keep track off.
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