Book review: Accidentally a Supervillain by H.L. Burke

So this is an odd little story. I’ve known the author for a long time, and I’ve been doing the cover art for her superhero books. Well, she was writing this new book and I got interested, because it was sort of like We Might Be Villains, that book I just read last week. So I gave it a read last night.

Superpowers are a super pain.

The non-powered middle child of a superhero family, Abigail Park has always taken pride in being “the normal one.” No flying and throwing power blasts for her, thank you. Just a safe, steady office job, evenings in with her cat, and weekly hot yoga when she’s feeling adventurous. Genetics can be cruel.

When Abigail finds herself in the line of fire during a superhero and supervillain standoff, her latent abilities literally explode—blasting the HERO unconscious and catching the eye of sound-manipulating villain Thunderstruck. Threatening to send proof of her “aiding” him to the authorities, he blackmails her into helping him in his next big heist—against her own boss.

Abigail wants out, but as her antagonistic banter with Thunderstruck turns to something weirdly resembling flirting, the smirking villain hints that his intended target isn’t as innocent as Abigail believes him to be. Can Abigail get Thunderstruck to trust her with his secrets or is it all a cover for a more malevolent plan?

If Abigail can’t figure this out, she’s never going to hear the end of it at family dinners … if she even manages to make it out alive at all.


Anyway, I dove into it and had a thoroughly good time. Abagail is normal except that she sees sounds as colors, so she wears earplugs all the time. This is fine until the battle with the bank robber in the beginning, when she uses her sound colors to blast the superhero by accident. Whoops. Now it looks like she’s a villain, herself. The superhero organization keeps asking questions about this villain’s partner who is more powerful than he is, and she gets into hotter and hotter water.

But what actually happens is that the villain guy isn’t really a villain, more of a vigilante operating from the shadows, trying to take down this corrupt banker and his pals. He drops the blackmail pretty quick in favor of training Abagail to not destroy everything around her when she hears a loud sound. There are some pretty good fight scenes as the real villains come on screen. The sound-based powers wind up being a very strategic thing, because her powers don’t work if it’s too quiet. She winds up having to do creative things like set off her most annoying ringtone, or even speak or scream to create ribbons or knives or spears.

It sort of had the same premise as We Might be Villains, especially for the first few chapters. But after that they diverge and Accidentally a Supervillain goes off and does its own thing. Being an elderly, crusty adult, I liked the adult characters and the less panic-attack-inducing heroine. There’s a bit of romance, but it’s limited to a little attraction and a kiss. And the villain in Accidentally is not a murderer, choosing nonlethal options for everything, whereas the villain in Villains was a straight-up killer and murders people on screen. So, weirdly, I would recommend Accidentally to young readers before I would recommend Villains.

Buy the book here!

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