Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Review: H2KAS3 Transformation Fetish (Book Review)

The penultimate book in the How to Kill a Superhero series came out in late February. I was definitely excited to buy and read it after being left on the edge of my seat last summer. I consumed the first two books quickly, but they left a big impression on me. As soon as I saw on Twitter that Transformation Fetish was out I downloaded it.

Book 3 of 4: Transformation Fetish

My August review of the first two books is here, but as a refresher, H2KAS is a first person narrative telling the story of Roland as he gets sucked into a mind-bending adventure that takes him halfway around the world in search of the secrets of The Golden Man. He's on a mission of discovery and it’s fraught with peril. There's a ton of sex, bondage and superhero fetish action along the way, but the whole thing is deadly serious.

As with the last time, the photo-manipulations are interpretations based on the descriptions within the book with a little creative license taken as necessary.

One of Roland's comic book heroes, Pharaoh

Transformation Fetish is a very different book than the first two. They led the reader on a fast-paced, globe-spanning experience that shifted location and even genre with every new encounter. This book not only confines almost the entire novel to one city, but actually to one building. Genre-wise, it's pretty consistent as a psychological thriller. And there are only two significant additions to the cast, but mostly we're focused on Roland and his goals.

This was a very smart choice. The series is at that awkward stage where the book is a bridge to the finale, like the middle part of a trilogy. Even as I read it, I knew questions would remain unanswered, plots would be unresolved and we'd end on a cliffhanger of sorts. All of that is true, but it works. By focusing on one plot in one location, it enables Greene to deliver an intense, in-depth narrative that had me hating to put the book down for the last half.

Much of the tension in the book comes from what we learn about the main characters. It feels like there are no actual superheroes to kill in this book, except for the ones in Roland's memories and dreams. Every character, even our erstwhile Golden Man, is morally grey (with the exception of the Crimson Hand, who remains pure evil). The great part is that every character has a selfish motivation to help advance the plot from Roland on down. One of my pet peeves in fiction are characters who exist only to serve and sacrifice for the protagonist, even if it makes no sense for them to do it. No worries about that here.

So the mystery, the characters and the action all step up another level in Transformation Fetish. It's all very intriguing and exciting, serving as a great tease for the eventual finale.

Crimson Hand is more evil than ever


The editing is still the only real problem with this series. There are a ton of errors, including missing words, incorrect pronouns and names, double words and periods, and misplaced quotes. You can figure most of them out, but it does take you out of the moment as you stumble over the prose. I know it's really, really hard to proof your own work, but I worry that this will hold it back from being taken more seriously.

Actually, there is another downside, which is that we're likely at least a year away from the final chapter of Roland's adventure. If it was out now, I would consume it faster than Roland downs a stack of pancakes. Of course I really, really want to see where this is going.

Steve Moriarty back as The Fighter

And a Fighter with a little more "fight"

The Overfiend

Overall, the third chapter of the four-part series keeps the momentum going strong. It successfully manages to tighten the focus while accelerating the action to a spine-tingling, page-turning intensity that had me holding my breath.

The book is now out in both paperback and Kindle, whichever you prefer.

If you haven't read any of the books, I strongly suggest starting at the beginning with A Gay Bondage Manual otherwise you'd be pretty lost. And I really recommend reading the fantastic World Without Daylight.

Covers for Books 1 & 2


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