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Editorial Reviews

When Reaver is captured by his nemesis Octagon, he is allowed a two-week stay of execution to get his life in order before he is to be killed. He decides to return to his old life - before the chemical spill that turned him into a superhero - as Steve Clarke, and back to the girl he has always loved. Paul Tobin creates a moving meditation on mortality and regret in Prepare to Die!, a powerful demystification of superhero myth. Ray Chase gives an indelible performance, augmenting the broken, yearning, and rueful emotion behind Steve Clarke's final days.
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Publisher's Summary

Nine years ago, Steve Clarke was just a teenage boy in love with the girl of his dreams. Then a freak chemical spill transformed him into Reaver, the man whose super-powerful fists can literally take a year off a bad guy’s life. Days ago, he found himself at the mercy of his archnemesis, Octagon, and a whole crew of fiendish super-villains, who gave him two weeks to settle his affairs - and prepare to die. Now, after years of extraordinary adventures and crushing tragedies, the world’s greatest hero is returning to where it all began in search of the boy he once was...and the girl he never forgot.
Exciting, scandalous, and ultimately moving, Prepare to Die! is a unique new look at the last days of a legend.
©2012 Paul Tobin (P)2012 Audible, Inc.
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Critic Reviews

"This is something of a comic book without drawings, and Chase brings his A-game, further energizing the action scenes and making for a guilty pleasure of a listen." (AudioFile)
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Customer Reviews

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By Michael C on 05-06-13

A Superhero's "Behind the Music"

Imagine if Wolverine from the X-Men had written a tell-all autobiography á la Rob Lowe's Stories I Only Tell My Friends or _The Kid Stays in the Picture_ by Robert Evans. You'll be pretty close to the overall flavor of _Prepare to Die!_. It dishes up action, existential ruminations, feel-good nostalgia, adolescent angst, and a few genuine surprises along the way.

Prepare to Die! imagines a superhero universe from the ground-up, replete with the internecine conflicts, epic battles, and agonizing betrayals that normally unfold over the run of a comic book series. The book is written in an in-universe, autobiographical voice. Its "author" is a superhero known as Reaver -- so-called because he can take a year off a person's life with each of his punches. Reaver is writing for an audience that already reads about superheroes in tabloids and watches them on TMZ. Superheroes are are as much a target of the paparazzi as they are of supervillains. The in-universe audience already knows the characters. They know their stories, but they don't know the _whole_ story.

The story starts off with our hero, Reaver, facing down his arch-nemesis Octagon. Reaver is losing badly. He's cornered, out of options, and has literally no fight left in him. As Octagon prepares to administer the coup de grâce, he delivers the bad guy boilerplate: "Prepare to Die!" Reaver ponders this and responds: "Ok. How long do I have to prepare?" Surprisingly, Octagon agrees to give him some time to prepare to die. This sets off an existential journey through Reaver's past. He examines the genesis of his superhero powers and persona. He takes a trip back to his childhood hometown to see the love he lost when he took up the superhero-ing life.

I'm not a comic book afficionado by any means. Case in point: I was completely unaware that Paul Tobin has a day job as a comic book writer, writing storylines for Spidey, the Fantastic Four, etc. He may be sticking to the writer's adage of "write what you know", but the book is much better for it. Tobin writes well, and uses the novel format to meander seamlessly from the present-day story through Reaver's past triumphs and tragedies.

Ray Chase's gravelly narration is a perfect fit for the world-weary Reaver. Great casting, and a great example of a book that should be listened to rather than read. Next story Chase narrates, I'm going to have a hard time separating him from the Reaver.

Criticisms? Well, the female characters tend towards the one-dimensional. Not entirely, and not in all cases, but more often than not. Also, the ending doesn't entirely make sense when you think about the book's intended in-universe audience. But, what the heck. This is a really, really fun book. By turns, it's thrilling, heartbreaking, and, above all, genuinely surprising. I came to it with no expectations, was hooked within a few chapters. By the end I was completely won over, and can't wait for Tobin's next book.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

By Bags on 02-13-13

Captivating, Right Up To The Last Word

Would you listen to Prepare to Die! again? Why?

Yes. I would like to focus on some of the conversations between the main characters to see if I missed any clues that might have been given. There is so much revealed in the last two chapters that I found myself wondering if I had missed any hint of what was to come.

What other book might you compare Prepare to Die! to and why?

Rather than compare it to another book, I would compare the author to another author and that would be Ray Bradbury. Bradbury had the gift of making the unbelievable, believable, and that's the way I feel about Tobin's work.

Which character – as performed by Ray Chase – was your favorite?

Reaver. I finished the book about a week ago, and I have found myself missing his character. He is an endearing and complex hero.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

Many times, while listening to this book, I thought to myself "This would be a fantastic movie!" So, while not terribly creative nor imaginative, my tag line would be "A Fantastic Movie!"

Any additional comments?

When will another book by Paul Tobin be available?

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Anonymous User on 04-16-13

nice book

I really enjoyed the book and when I heard that last sentence, I wondered if it was leaving a door open for a sequel and immediately checked back here. Now I just have to wait for the rest of the trilogy and hope they are as engaging and entertaining!

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By emil on 01-18-13

This was great!

I was hesitant at first since i saw it had no rating and no reviews, but this audiobook is something i recommend to everyone. it will suck you inn and leave you wanting more.

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Customer Reviews

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By Frost on 08-01-14

We all know it's gonna be 'Take some time off!'

What did you like most about Prepare to Die!?

I loved the initial set up. All of the other heroes are gone and the book opens with the last of them, Reaver, getting beaten to a pulp and being told he has two weeks to put his life in order before he too is killed.

What does Ray Chase bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

I love the cigar-and-whiskey quality of his voice. He brings a toughness to Reaver that I wouldn't have imagined.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

I'm not a fan of romance and don't like how nearly every story seems to have to have a love interest. But this book used that to tell the story of Reaver's past and how difficult being a hero has been, shaking off his history and trying to move forwards.

Any additional comments?

This is the best superhero book I have ever read.

I don't usually like the comic book hero stories, especially how nothing really seems to change (how many times have major characters died and come back?) but this book pulls no punches. It will tell you in wonderful detail about the lives of heroes and villains and how even the world's best keep their own shameful secrets. Love it.

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