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Forging Hephaestus

Villains' Code Series, Book 1
Written by: Drew Hayes
Narrated by: Amy Landon
Series: Villains' Code, Book 1
Length: 26 hrs and 58 mins
5 out of 5 stars (84 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 listeners say about Forging Hephaestus

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Un-frickin-believable

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

4 people found this helpful

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Interesting characters

I am sure this is a beginning of a series. It was the usually parade of super heroes in training. The characters were interesting and the story line interesting. Amy Landon does a great narration!!!!

1 person found this helpful

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Not so bad not so great

The story isn't a super selling point but it hold up. The writing though is cringy way too often. The narrator is average nothing to write home about. I don't care to pick up the next book in the series

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Review

I did love this story and I'm looking forward to the next book. At times it felt more like a TV show with it's moving POVs. When first listening thought it would be a negative against the book but it was not. Though, I would warn that there are a lot of characters. For me they each felt different and I was able to keep them apart but it would have been nice to have a character list.

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Can't wait

amazing book, loved every single second of it. I can't wait for the next volume!

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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.

119 people found this 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!

76 people found this helpful

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  • Steve Pagano
  • 2017-04-21

Worst book I've ever liked

While I had a good time listening to this book, I was simultaneously distracted time and time again by certain habits and tics of the author and the voice actor, so much so that I'm not going to bother with further works by the same author.

First, the good: I enjoyed most of the main characters, and there were a lot of side characters who were also fun and distinctive. I liked the story, and I especially liked the idea of a guild of villains that basically exists to keep villains from running too far afoul of the capes. There were few throwaway scenes, and while almost none of the scenes reached a depth I was hoping for, there was plenty of action and stuff to keep the reader interested.

Now, the not so good. This book is cluttered with indications that the author badly needs an editor, and there are other habits shown that indicate that the author, while a good spinner of tales, is not that proficient of an actual writer.

Examples of bad stuff:

* Jarring sentences, similar to "He was left with three dollars left."

* Too much telling and not enough showing in many cases. The author repeatedly falls into the amateur's habit of looking into the thoughts of more than one person in a scene, which is used as a shortcut to get around the more difficult, more subtle task of showing us (and letting us get the idea ourselves.)

* The author has no ear at all for word frequency. The rarer the word, the less often it should appear, unless you have a good reason to use it otherwise. When the reader hears the same rare word twice in close proximity, but there's no apparent intent behind the repetition, it's jarring.

* The author has to tell us _everything_. He cannot show us just enough to infer the remainder; no, he must explain to us in detail the exact meaning of every word and gesture. Something similar to what he might write: "She arched an eyebrow, wrinkling the skin of her forehead, as if she were about to say something sarcastic. 'Oh, really?' she said sarcastically, her tone broad and overstated. He understood her sarcasm and nodded." (Oh, and don't expect many surprises. There are very, very few. The author simply gives away too much.)

* Almost every character has the same vocabulary, which made too many of them blend together into a single voice.

* My final peeve with the author is the Exposition Hat. This book is full of long, detailed explanations, and no matter who is soliloquizing, they lose their own voice and start speaking like a story's narrator. Everyone has the same approach to explaining things, the same teaching style. No fewer than fifteen characters put on the Exposition Hat at some point or another.

I also had some issues with the voice actress. She simply had too few, well, voices in her repertoire, and she put too much of an emphasis on hyper-enunciation and too little on emoting and conveyance for my liking. Her speaking rate was good, and she never mumbled or swallowed words, but in the end I had trouble buying that every character enunciated every word so exactly, and spoke to their friends and colleagues in equally formal tones.

But again, this was not enough to really stop me from enjoying the book. I just don't think I want to spend another 20 hours with a writer and speaker whose combined habits distract me so much from an otherwise fun experience.

54 people found this 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!

19 people found this 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.

31 people found this helpful

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  • SevroTheGoblin
  • 2018-12-29

Not a waste of time but not at the top of any list

Quick review: Story was spotty and had holes. The narrator was dry and at times sounded like a generic safety video voice over. Decent fight scenes and character progression was accomplished. All in all not a bad book for people who love the genre and are looking for a "next" book. Would read a sequel.

14 people found this helpful

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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.

25 people found this 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.

27 people found this helpful

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  • Adam R.
  • 2018-05-04

Ok, good enough value

To keep it short, it was kind of like a Chinese buffet. Neither the story, nor the narration were particularly great. It was rather predictable, and the characters were a bit flat. But there was a lot of it, and all of it was at least OK. If the next book is as long, I would probably pick it up. If I had credits and nothing else I was really craving was coming up.

13 people found this 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.

6 people found this helpful