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Thanks to Shannon at Reads & Reels Blog Tours for providing an ebook in exchange for an honest review.

Release Date: Available Now

390 Pages

Synopsis: Dr. Agon, a megalomaniacal inventor with an arsenal of lethal gadgets. Motley, a wisecracking jewel thief with nothing left to lose. Chillpill, a cryogenic drug lord who just wants a normal life. Baelphegor, a demonic psychopath with an ugly score to settle.

They’re the most dangerous supervillains on Earth, and they’re about to pull off the perfect crime. There’s just one catch: if they succeed, they might accidentally save the world.

From the skyscrapers of Apex City to the gates of Hell itself, the Antagonists are pursued by violent superheroes and billionaire vigilantes. But as loyalties are tested and old hatred are rekindled, the line between friend and foe begin to blur…

I absolutely loved Rafael Chandler’s slice and dice horror novel, Mask Beneath Her Face (2017), so when I saw that Shannon from Read & Reels was offering The Astounding Antagonists for review during the month of June, I immediately requested an ebook. 

This book was written in 2014 and is as exciting as the premise promises. It’s a nice twist where the superheroes have become villains, while the er, villains aren’t exactly perfect either, but wind up being more relatable and likable. I wish the mainly Caucasian superheroes were a little more well-rounded instead of all being selfish, self-involved, corrupt, petty, homicidal jerks, but the diversity of the Antagonists mostly made up for their lack of character development. Just about every minority and gender is represented with this group of reluctant protagonists. The dialogue between the characters is sharp and witty and I found myself laughing more than once. If I had to pick a favorite character, it would be Motley the witty, snarky jewel thief. For me, she was the heart and soul of the book. I absolutely loved her and found myself looking forward to her scenes.

The plot itself is clever and fun and provides enough twists that makes it stand apart from other books in this genre. It also covers many real world issues such as government corruption, illegal immigration, misogyny, abuse of women, pollution, internet spying, religious fanaticism, and other societal woes we’re discussing now on a daily basis. While I had absolutely no problem with the political side of this, I can see where more conservative readers might. 

The Astounding Antagonists is an enjoyable read, yet also has quite a bit of thought-provoking substance to it. It’s action-packed and brutal at times, yet imminently fun and I breezed through it in two days. If you enjoy this genre, I highly recommend it.

About the author:

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By day, I write screenplays for video games. I wrote the stories and dialogue for Dark District, Final Eden, Gangstar Rio: City of Saints, MAG, Modern Combat 3: Fallen Nation, Modern Combat 4: Zero Hour, Rainbow Six: Lockdown, and SOCOM 4. Thus far, I’ve worked as a scriptwriter and/or story designer for Gameloft, Kabam, Sony, and Ubisoft.

By night, I’m a novelist. I wrote The Astounding Antagonists, Dracula: The Modern Prometheus (written with Mary Shelley and Bram Stoker), Hexcommunicated, and Mask Beneath Her Face. I’m hard at work on my fifth novel.

In my spare time, I design tabletop role-playing games and sourcebooks, including Dread: The First Book of Pandemonium, Lusus Naturae, Night of the Slashers, No Salvation For Witches, Obscene Serpent Religion, Pandemonio, Spite: The Second Book of Pandemonio, The Starship From Hell, Teratic Tome, ViewScream, and World of the Lost.

I’ve also written nonfiction including Fundamentals of Game Development (written with Heather Chandler), The Game Writing Handbook (which was a finalist for the 2007 Game Developer Front Line Awards), and various articles for Gamasutra.com and Writers Digest.

I’m a gamer, a gorehound, a kaijuphile, and a metalhead.

Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn.

Website: http://www.rafaelchandler.com

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/default/e/B001JRYYUA/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/797404.Rafael_Chandler

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