Review: The Amateur by T.J. Land

the amateurRating: 4 stars
Buy Links: 
 Amazon | Amazon UK
Length: Novel


Red Velvet is a supervillain in Mercy City, along with his partners, Ares and Electric Eel. Together the threesome make up the League of Larceny, a gang of villains who excel in theft and burglary. Red can turn invisible, Ares is super strong, and Eel can conduct electricity, and together they make a great team. One day the three are just finishing a job when they are confronted by a newbie superhero who calls himself Mister Valiant. Valiant is clearly a rookie, with an embarrassingly bright yellow costume and lots of swagger, but not much to back it up. The guys are pretty much ready to laugh him off, until Valiant proposes some sexy times together and the gang is all for it. I mean, the costume is hideous, but the ass inside is great.

After a hot hook up, the guys get to talking and it is clear that Valiant is in way over his head as a superhero. No one wants to see him get hurt, so Red offers that in exchange for Valiant not coming after them for six months, Red will help mentor Valiant on the ways of a superhero (Red has a part-time gig as superhero Scarlett Web in addition to his villain duties). While Valiant works on improving his superhero skills, he continues to hang out (and hook up) with the League of Larceny guys. The gang starts to become fond of him, and when Valiant runs afoul of some super baddies, they can’t stop themselves from jumping in to help. But when the League gets in the crosshairs of some bad guys themselves, all of them must work together to get out of trouble.

Ok, I’ll admit that I pretty much snatched this one up as soon as I saw it was a superhero story with a menage and more angle. And this book turned out to just be super fun. It manages to be comedic and entertaining without taking itself too seriously, but at the same time to have a nice storyline that carries the book well. I loved the way the guys take the newbie Valiant under their wing. He exasperates them, but they also find him hot. And despite being supervillains, the guys have heart and don’t want to see anything bad happen to Valiant. I love that they are snarky and banter back and forth and have a sense of irreverence, but still have a soft side and clearly care about one another very much.

I can’t really call this story a traditional romance, though there is no question the group loves one another. They are sort of a combination of work partners, best friends, lovers, and romantic partners, all rolled into one. There isn’t much talk about their relationship, though there is no question the feelings are there. And as they begin to incorporate Valiant, feelings grow among all of them, but again, it is not a traditional romance and there is not much discussion of the relationship or feelings or anything like that. Still, the emotions are there and I feel like there is enough of a connection among them all to work. FWIW, these guys do get up to the sexy times, but it is not an all out sex fest like you often get in menage plus stories. So I found it to be a nice balance between the story and the juicy stuff.

I loved the world building here and watching these guys both commit and fight crime. They are clearly criminals, but you can’t help but root for them anyway, especially with much bigger baddies around. It is fun to see everyone use their powers and watch them all interact with their various abilities.

One particularly interesting element of the story is Red Velvet/Scarlett Web. Red is bigender, and while he is assigned female at birth, in his civilian persona and as Red Velvet he identifies as male. However, Red also has a small, part time gig as Scarlett and as the superhero, she identifies female. What makes this fun is we see the duality of Scarlett and Red in more than gender here. Because despite the fact that Red is happy as a villain and seems to have no moral qualms about his role as a thief and a bad guy, there is a part of him that also wants to save the day as a good guy as well. So while Scarlett mentors Valiant and helps protect the city, Red is out there committing crimes. It makes for a fun twist, and also a nice way to show Red/Scarlett’s connection with Valiant.

So I found this one to be a lot of fun. Like I said, I particularly enjoy superhero stories, so this was right up my alley. But I think that there is a lot to like here for any reader, especially if you are looking for a story with a lot of humor and fun. So I definitely enjoyed this one!

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