How can you go wrong with a book where the main characters have super powers like being able to throw a bar tray or shooting fecal matter from your hands or not being able to be stolen from?
And that last one, that’s the one which gives this book its name. It’s the one that matters. Because Keepsie (the main character) has a very special ability. Anything that is her’s is her’s, unless she chooses otherwise. And that’s what kicks this book into motion.
Keepsie and her pals aren’t exactly A squad superheroes. They’re way down that list. But that doesn’t mean they don’t wish they could use their powers for good. However, the man (in this case, the big name celebrity superheroes) have told them they just aren’t good enough. And they, understandably, have a pretty bad case of sour grapes about the whole thing. However, when they get put in the middle of a battle between good and evil, they have a pretty difficult time knowing which way they should swing. Go with the “good” guys who seem to not be all that great, or go with the “bad” guys who, well, they certainly aren’t good, are they?
Instead, these intrepid heroes choose to go with option C…which is a bit more convoluted than I’m going to go into here.
Needless to say, Keepsie and Co. are required to save the world, and their powers, at least at first, appear to not be up to par against these good guys and these bad guys.
Which is where Lafferty’s real talent shines. She gave these folks some really odd powers. One person has the special ability to know exactly what any one person wants to eat at any given time. But Lafferty points out, through the narrative, that even these seemingly pitiful powers have some really great advantages. You know, if you get a little creative in how you use them.
Playing for Keeps is an incredibly unique look at the superhero genre. Not only does Lafferty develop some truly original superpowers, but she manages to showcase how each of them could be used to its greatest effect. And it’s this ability which is incredibly necessary for the narrative, for the protagonists, to succeed.
I’ve read a lot of superhero novels over the years and this one is truly unique and well worth the read for anyone who likes the genre.