Narrator: Amy Landon
Series: Villains' Code #2.5
Published by Tantor Audio on August 29, 2023
Length: 9 hours and 28 minutes
Amazon, Audible, Libro.fm, Barnes & Noble, Apple
A town of magic and danger, where what one dons becomes who they are.
A desperate priestess in another world calling for a champion, only to receive an unstoppable monster.
A night of joy and giving, of grudges and combat, all as the winter snow falls.
Between grand adventures, what mishaps may occur in the world of the Villains’ Code? These are the smaller selections, short sagas within the greater story.
These are the Villains’ Vignettes.
This is a collection of novellas from the Drew Hayes world of Villain’s Code.
A Night in Hallowville
I’m a huge fan of Halloween stories. Halloween episodes of TV are almost always my favorite. This story is about a small town that is taken over by Spooky Trudie. Every September 30th at midnight, Spooky Trudie takes over a town and turns it into Hallowville for the entire month of October. At midnight, on October 31st, the town reverts back to normal. There are several rules about Hallowville. You must be in costume, which will give you a taste of the powers of the person you dressed up as (so you can get that meta’s power, but not at the same level as the original. WIthout your costume, you are whisked out of town. There is also a huge difference between day and night in Hallowville. During the day, it is family friendly Halloween fun. Candy, games, etc. At dusk, that all changes. Things get much darker and the risks much greater.
I love Tori/Hephestus as a character and this story, while told in third person, follows her more than anyone else. She is on the villain’s side of things, but she does have some morals that she follows (as does her mentor Fornax/Ivan). I loved spending more time with her and her group of friends from the heroes side of the spectrum. They do not know Tori is a villain, but she does know that they are heroes.
I cannot say how much I loved this story. I really enjoyed the daytime when things were all fun and games. I also loved the evening with the stakes being higher and people’s lives could actually be on the line. I loved watching the group play with powers that they don’t have themselves and learning how things are different and that control is not always easy. There is a new villain in this story, Fashionistador. He steals pieces of people’s costumes to take on their powers, which then kicks those people out of town. The more power he gets, the harder he is to fight. I will say that there is a huge spoiler for the series if you aren’t caught up or haven’t started. There is some pining as there is someone who is lost in the earlier books (I honestly don’t remember which one, it has been so long since I listened to them). That was a little bit over done. But this was still my favorite story of the three.
The Priestess and the Peril
I will be honest, as I was listening to the beginning of this story, I had no idea how it tied into the Villain’s Code world. There is a priestess fighting demons and trying to summon a champion to help her. This is not something that fits into the world of metas I’ve been reading. Then I learn that the champion is Ivan. Now, he doesn’t seem all that scary when he’s Ivan, but as Fornax, he is quite possibly the second most powerful being in the world (Helen/Lodestar being the most powerful and on the side of good). Ivan really shows why he is on the villain’s side when he doesn’t really care about the issues of this world that he’s summoned to. He is all about to leave and ignore the pleas of Perle. Then he learns who she is and owes a favor to her now deceased uncle. Ivan is out for revenge for his old friend’s death.
I did enjoy this story, but it was my least favorite of the three. I think it is the lack of the characters that I love from the series. Ivan is the only crossover. This story does have a cliffhanger, which means that I hope there will be a Volume 2 to get the rest of the story.
A Very Villainous Christmas
This was a very interesting story. I don’t love Christmas stories the way I love Halloween ones, but I do like them. This was a very interesting take on the holiday. The first weird thing is that Ivan is the Guardian of Christmas Magic. Ivan, the person who is Fornax, that scares every hero but Lodestar. He is called to the North Pole, along with his protege, Tori/Hephestus, to help Santa save Christmas. This was a fun story. We get to see into some different sides of the characters. We learn that Helen/Lodestar, the most powerful force for good, doesn’t get along with Santa. Add that to Fornax, the most powerful force of evil does get along with him. Makes you question everything you know about good and evil. I think it goes to show that nothing is 100% good and nothing is 100% evil. There are shades of gray everywhere.
We also get to see more of Ivan’s two children. Rick, the older of the two, has learned of Fornax, where the younger Beth, still sees Ivan as her Daddy. You also see how this affects the great Fornax. I want to see more of Rick and want him to learn more about his father. Ivan isn’t all that bad and I want Rick to learn to see that.
Also, we learn Lodestar has a very hidden secret. She did an educational rap video in the 90s. No one seems to remember it, except for Ivan/Fornax. He is able to obtain a copy. So far, he hasn’t done anything with this copy. And I don’t know if he has plans for it or if there are more copies out there. I want to know more. I’m sure at some point, he will hold this over Lodestar’s head. They have a very interesting relationship.
I had a great time with these stories. While they are called “vignettes”, they are not short. These three stories are nine and half hours long. But I guess when you compare them to full-length novels. Forging Hephaestus is just under 27 hours and Bones of the Past is 35 plus hours, these are short. I would not start with these stories to see if you will enjoy the series. The stories are short and there is a lot that is assumed that you know from the earlier books. If you like superhero/supervillain stories, I highly recommend this series, but start with the first book. I will say, it is well worth the time. This revisit to this world makes me want to relisten to the first two books. As I write this, I’m between books, so that sounds like the best idea ever. LOL I hope Volume 2 of the vignettes and/or book 3 are out in the near future.
Amy Landon narrates the entire series. I’ve really enjoyed her performance from the beginning. I’ve listened to other series with her narration, as well. She is always wonderful. I enjoy the voices she picks for each character, even with a large cast. The male and female voices are always spot on, and even the children for that matter. I think she really brings in the emotion of each scene and adds to the story. She makes me forget that I’m listening to a book because I get lost in the world. I highly recommend trying out her as a narrator.
Listen to a clip: HERE
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