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Forging Hephaestus

Villains' Code Series, Book 1
Written by: Drew Hayes
Narrated by: Amy Landon
Length: 26 hrs and 58 mins
5 out of 5 stars (41 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Gifted with meta-human powers in a world full of capes and villains, Tori Rivas kept away from the limelight, preferring to work as a thief in the shadows. But when she's captured trying to rob a vault that belongs to a secret guild of villains, she's offered a hard choice: prove she has what it takes to join them or be eliminated.

Apprenticed to one of the world's most powerful (and supposedly dead) villains, she is thrust into a strange world where the lines that divide superheroes and criminals are more complex than they seem. The education of a villain is not an easy one, and Tori will have to learn quickly if she wants to survive. On top of the peril she faces from her own teacher, there are also the capes and fellow apprentices to worry about, to say nothing of having to keep up a civilian cover.

Most dangerous of all, though, are those who loathe the guild's very existence. Old grudges mean some are willing to go to any length to see the guild turned to ash, along with each one of its members. Even the lowly apprentices.

©2016 Andrew Hayes (P)2017 Tantor

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Un-frickin-believable

Absolutely stellar book! I can't wait for the next installment! Cannot say enough good things about this story line!!!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Small Mountain
  • 2017-09-29

A Nice Surprise with some Really Fun Characters

I usually find superhero universes really hard to suspend disbelief in, and am thus not a big seeker of of superhero fiction. I did enjoy one of the authors' other series though, and thought the length of the book made for a decent value, so I went for Forging Hephaestus.

As the ratings imply, I am really glad I listened to this book. The story was nuanced and the author was decently skillful at leaving the sources and function of the various powers up to the reader's imagination while still establishing that there were limits. My favorite aspect of the book, though, were the characters. Their personalities were great; they were colorful, and left just enough to the imagination for me to really turn them into believable characters.The main hero suffers ever so slightly from a lack of strong motivation, but beyond that is fun to root for and see what she does next. After listening to this author's writing in different series now, I am really impressed and delighted by his characters.

There are some comments in other reviews about the narrator's performance, but I honestly did not notice any of the negative points about the narration. The voices were distinguishable and clean, and not overacted. I was very pleased with this listen and am interested in listening to the next book in the series.

54 of 55 people found this review helpful

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  • Jerry
  • 2017-04-16

Would a Guild of Han Solos be so bad?

Unlike his Super Powered series, which leans toward the optimistic side, this is more realistic (as much as a book of super heroes CAN be). The "Capes" get caught up in the glitz and glamor while the "Villians" end up doing the good (but not for noble reasons, just because "chaos" is not profitable). I love the characters and the back stories are awesome! Zealous is a personal favorite!

Keep it up and I look forward to Ivan's tiptoe on a razor's edge of power and sanity! Well done!

40 of 41 people found this review helpful

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  • Travis
  • 2017-07-03

A+++

Being a "Villan", class 101.

I love almost all of Hayes's work and this is one of the better ones.

Great worldbuilding, tons of action, unique characters.

Amy Landon did great as narrator, giving each character it's own voice.

17 of 18 people found this review helpful

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  • Heath L. Doolin
  • 2017-07-12

A solid story from the villains POV

This is an interesting one in the hero tropes...a book about the bad guys that both exemplifies why they are the bad ones and at the same time, shows you the true human qualities of each one without being one dimensional. Sure there are those who want violence for violence sake but the majority don't head in that direction for some truly logical reasons.
The story is snappy, well put together, and believable in the interactions between the individuals. I particularly like that there is really no true good or bad overall, just an interesting grey of ideals that are dealt with accordingly if crossed (and spectacularly gory in some spots).
And lo to those that bring about the inner demons of some of the big bads and unleash them on others. Fornex can be god damned terrifying when he wants to be.

Highly recommended. Would like to see more of these characters later on in a sequel!

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Eric
  • 2017-06-20

Well written and engaging anti-hero story

Would you listen to Forging Hephaestus again? Why?

When the sequel eventually drops I'll likely give this book another listen. I listen to enough books that a refresher is usually necessary. It would be fun listening again, the book was well written enough to be entertaining even with knowledge of the plot.

What other book might you compare Forging Hephaestus to and why?

Super Powereds, also by Drew Hayes. It's a similar story of anti-heroes gaining acceptance and overcoming adversity. They're both well paced and entertaining.

What does Amy Landon bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

The narrator did a great job. The voices were all distinct and memorable. She brought them to life very well.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

It didn't quite grab me enough to keep me from doing other things, but it was definitely one I looked forward to hitting play on in the morning.

12 of 13 people found this review helpful

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  • cj0679
  • 2017-09-09

Solidly entertaining

If you've ever read Brandon Sanderson's The Reckoners series - YA superheroes (anti-heroes) super villain - this is basically an adult version. Not that the plots are the same, or even similar, but the core concepts are familiar. There are elements of D.C. and Marvel comics, and just a whole lot to like in this book.

If one were to look for the weakness in this book it would be character development and world history. Not so much that we don't come to understand the characters, because we do, but that it stretches even superhero credulity that superhero or metas could master their skills and be inducted into their 'roles' (being deliberately vague to avoid spoilers) in a matter of weeks of training and testing.

This book was good. Really, good, actually. But it's missing the carefully thought out and meticulously obsessive structure and revision of the kingkiller chronicles or the deliberate almost frustratingly slow training and growth of understanding in the wheel of time.

Of course this isn't high epic fantasy, and this isn't Patrick rothfuss, Robert Jordan, or Brandon Sanderson; its Drew Hayes. But this prolific young author has published an astonishing selection of fiction and they only appear to improve with practice.

While this book could have benefited from being 30% longer and a better developed and less predictable plot; it was nevertheless good enough for me to write a real review - which I'm very rarely inspired to do.

Great book. Great start to a new series, and hopefully a sign of more goodness to come.

Whether you like fantasy, comics, or just want to lose yourself in a good book, Forging Hephaestus is a an excellent option for your next read.

10 of 11 people found this review helpful

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  • D.K.
  • 2017-05-29

GREAT BOOK

Amy does a fabulously great job. Drew has such a good mind for hero's and villains. He adds so much for the reader/listener to see in their mind as the story rolls on.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Gerthdynn
  • 2017-09-14

Surprisingly good story and narration

I bought this during the $4.95 sale a couple of weeks ago. The villains side of the super hero genre has been done seemingly to death but since I'd just finished the Sanderson Reckoners series I have this a try. The characters were likeable and had some depth. Since I just finished the Reckoners I was making constant comparisons to that universe and they certainly had similarities but that might just be the genre.

The action is well told. The author doesn't get tied down explaining every nuance of the world despite it being a long book. The character development has a good pace. There are plenty of plot hooks despite having a pretty good resolution. I hope Drew Hayes continues this series.


The reader felt to be a good fit to the female lead in the story.

10 of 12 people found this review helpful

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  • orionbertniro
  • 2017-02-28

marathon it! trust me!

an awesome new series by Drew Hayes.
Amy Landon narrates spectacularly. I turned on the audible and didn't turn it off until it was finished. I wish there would have been more jobs and even though the book was a great length as the chapters ticked away I kept wishing it would not end, as I feel about every Drew Hayes novel.

18 of 24 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • A L BLAIR
  • 2017-04-08

Good story, but not the best fit for the narrator

What made the experience of listening to Forging Hephaestus the most enjoyable?

It is a fun story.

What did you like best about this story?

I liked the play on the villains being heroic and the heroes being somewhat villainous, the grey area between moralities.

Would you be willing to try another one of Amy Landon’s performances?

Here's the thing, Amy is a good narrator, but she's not good for this kind of book. The problem is that there are so many strong characters in this book and the perspective changes often. Sometimes this causes confusion as to who is talking or who is having what thought. Given the large amount of disparate characters in this book I would have loved for it to follow the style of say "Ex-Heroes" and have multiple narrators, it would have lessened the perspective confusion and allowed someone like Amy to do a great job on the strong female characters while not having most of the male characters sounding essentially the same.

Any additional comments?

It's a really fun story that has many great moments.

I wish the author would do less perspective hopping and stay in one frame longer. I also don't like the "Later she would realize .." type thing that he often does in his novels.

The grey areas of morality are always fun to explore.

17 of 23 people found this review helpful