It felt nice to be back with Ben, Chon, and O. I found myself clinging to whatever I could of them because I know what I know from Savages. I also enjoyed revisiting Winslow's writing style and wit.
Sad Fact of Life--Smart people sometimes get stupid, but stupid people never get smart.
"You can come down the revolutionary ladder," Chon has observed to Ben and O; "you can't climb up."
I enjoyed reading The Kings of Cool, even though I felt like I was reading Cliff Notes, in a way. I don't mean that negatively. In fact, I appreciate what this book does for the Savages story as a whole. Were there gaps in Savages that needed to be filled? No, but it is nice to have a stronger foundation to the story. This story wasn't as suspenseful and it didn't necessarily pull me in as much, but it did help me understand the characters better and increase their appeal (or lack-there-of, depending on their role).
The story was interesting, compelling, and exciting, just not on the same level as Savages. With that being said, it would have been a mistake for Winslow to try and match the intensity and magnitude of Savages. This book is truly a prequel, an accompaniment, not competition or an attempted repeat. I feel it was well-executed and well worth reading.
I only have two issues with this book. The first is that I feel like perhaps it was written more for the purpose of making the movie tie in better with Savages the novel. I have no way of knowing which came first. Perhaps The Kings of Cool came first and the movie was Winslow's way of bringing the two together in one place. What I do know is that this story did help redeem the movie a bit in my eyes.
My other issue, and it's a small one (not even much of an issue, but a wish), is that the start of Ben and O's romantic relationship is not discussed. We get to see Chon and O take the leap into something more, but how did the three of them take the bigger leap together? I am not interested in reading about it for the romantic aspect, but because it is clearly a big part of who they are and would show some interesting insight into the characters.
Overall, great follow-up and a nice revisit to some of my favorite antiheroes