Title: Avengers of the Moon (2017)
Author: Allen Steele
My thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review.
Allen Steele’s Arkwright popped up on many “Best of” lists in 2016 and I gave it shot, but it was not to my liking. Steele’s writing style was tough to engage with. Luckily, I found Avengers of the Moon to be much more palatable. I was coming in blind to Steele’s previous work as well as the source material for which this novel is based — Captain Future, a 1940s pulp sci-fi hero made famous by Edmond Hamilton.
Captain Future is an orphaned renegade who seeks revenge for the death of his parents along with his trusty android sidekick, a disembodied brain, and a hulking robot. It is a fun group, but there’s not a great deal of nuance to these characters. I understand that Steele was operating within the confines of a previously established cast, so I do think he does well with what he’s given.
I very much enjoyed the classic sci-fi vibe of this world — plasma guns, rocket ships, and robot companions abound. In many ways it feels like a B-movie in book form, and as such, the story doesn’t take many creative risks. Throw in an over-the-top mustache-twirling villain and you have the makings of fun, but otherwise ephemeral story.
★★½ out of 5