Even Villains Fall in Love, by Liana Brooks
Quick description: Fun romantic comedy with deeper truths about love
How I found this book: I first noticed Liana on Twitter because her avatar was a picture of brightly rainbow-striped socks. It made her stand out from the crowd. I’m not the only one who likes the socks- she says on this link that an editor asked her to submit a picture of the socks along with her manuscript.
Once my attention was caught by the socks, I started noticing that from time to time, Liana would do long rants (20 tweets?) on social justice issues I cared about. Each tweet stood alone, but also hung together as part of a bigger picture. The passion and clear thinking intrigued me, so I clicked on her blog. Once I saw the cover of her book, I was INSTANTLY sold. I’m a sucker for any good hero-villain romance. My favorite books tend to include elements of unlikely love or unlikely friendship.
The marketing lesson here for independent authors? There’s two: 1) A quirky, unusual avatar can be a huge marketing asset. and 2) Don’t save you best thinking for just your blog. There’s room for impassioned, longer-form thoughts on Twitter too. I suppose I could say 3) Have a kickass title and cover- but everyone knows that.
Why I loved this book: It drew me in from the first sentence, the first page. Come on, this is an epic opening: “I knew from the first time I saw my wife that I wanted her naked. Of course, seven minutes later I wanted revenge. It wasn’t that she handed me my first defeat or ruined my chances for world domination that year, it was the way she kissed me good-bye.” !!???
Unlike most romances, which focus on courtship, this book takes place after the couple is already married and has four kids (quadruplets.) Romantic drama can happen inside a committed relationship- and I don’t mean adultery, I just mean the relationship can continue to grow and evolve in exciting ways. I wish there were more books and movies that focused on this side of things– because us boring engaged/married/committed folks need something WE can identify with, too. After you put a ring on it, you still need to negotiate all the different priorities and worldviews you and your spouse might have. And a supervillain marrying a superhero is a nicely extreme case study through which to look at this entire issue.
Fans of the children’s movie Despicable Me will love this book- it has some common elements, the super villain with the heart of gold struggling to keep up with the antics of hyperactive tiny girls. The supervillain even has genetically engineered minions! (Although they are somewhat brighter and more competent than those bright yellow bulbous minions the guy in the Despicable Me movie has.) This book is just also incredibly light-hearted and fun. After reading a lot of heavy & serious stuff, it was delightful to read something that was just laughing at itself the whole time, and inviting you to laugh with it.
The idealistic aspect of this book? Since I’m the Crazy Idealist, I always want to talk about how the books I read connect with my idealism. The best comedies do have a deeper meaning or serious life lesson embedded in them- usually one that floats down with the laughter so easily you don’t even realize you’re learning something.
This is what I got from Liana’s book: I think all of us are a little insecure that people won’t love us unless we pretend to be more awesome than we actually are. So we waste a lot of time pretending to be someone else. This book is about the pain, turmoil, redemption, and joy you experience when you are finally forced to embrace honesty. (It’s really hard to talk about this without dumping a crapload of spoilers on you, but I hope I managed it just now.)
Moral: Trust in love! TRUST IT! DOOOOOOO it!!! NoWwwww!!!!
And don’t forget the sequel: The sequel to this book is called Even Villains Go to the Movies and it focuses on the young adult life of one of the quadruplet children from Even Villains Fall in Love. Her superpower is being able to control emotions- but she’s a very good person, so she puts her power to good use teaching at inner city schools, helping the kids calm down and focus on their studies. I like the point that supposedly “villainous” powers can be used for ethical purposes. At times I was confused by the plot, but I was still able to enjoy the book.
Liana has told me that even more sequels are coming soon. Get writing, Liana! Your fans await!