Tuesday 13 October 2015

Clare Reviews: Otto Von Trapezoid and the Empress of Thieves by Jesse Baruffi

Title: Otto Von Trapezoid and The Empress of Thieves
Author: Jesse Baruffi
Pages: 264
Format: E-Arc received from publisher in exchange for an honest review
Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press
Rating: 4/5
Blurb: OTTO VON TRAPEZOID AND THE EMPRESS OF THIEVES is the story of two criminal masterminds who can conquer anything except their own feelings. Otto Von Trapezoid is a mad scientist who rules an army of robots from his orbital space station. Angry and grumpy, he sees no value in humanity except becoming their ruler. Esmerelda Santa Monica is the stylish self-proclaimed “Empress of Thieves,” who values her own legend and the thrill of the theft over actual wealth. Both live lonely lives, the desire to become the greatest villains of all time primarily on their minds 
When the two meet in simultaneous attempts to blackmail the UN, their instincts are to attempt to kill one another, but soon they discover a mutual attraction that neither thought possible. Once they begin to pool their resources, the pair seems on track to become the most successful evil-doers of all time and set out to conquer the world itself. But what happens when their villainous natures emerge, and both realize there can only be one absolute ruler of Earth? Can either be satisfied with being second to another? 
To make matters worse, they must deal with the protestations of Otto’s sidekick robot SCRAP, the meddling of their fellow villains, their families, and worst of all, heroic superspy Jake Indestructible is determined to bring them both down, once and for all. 
Filled with robot dinosaurs, exploding dinner parties, and villainous poker games, OTTO VON TRAPEZOID AND THE EMPRESS OF THIEVES is a hilarious sci-fi comedy that will leave you falling in love with the bad guys!

"Good evening, Earth. Tomorrow... you are ours."

This book was like Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy meets Doofenschmirtz from Phineas and Ferb. It was a very funny book and, as someone who really loves nonsense and puns, there was a lot to enjoy. Puns especially, there's a character in this book who speaks pretty much only in puns - which made me so very happy.

The main characters both exceeded my expectations. As well as being quite funny, both individually and as a couple, and getting up to lots of great villainous hi-jinks, they were also way better developed than I had expected. The character development across the board was brilliant, but for Otto and Esmerelda especially I loved how they grew and improved as the novel progressed. Otto starts slightly goofy, a little bit sexist and looking down on everyone. And if, at the end, he still looks down on pretty much everyone, he does at least allow for some equals. Esmerelda was probably my favourite character, I can't remember the last time I wanted to be a character this much. She was stylish and talented and it was amazing how prepared she always seemed for every eventuality.

The side characters are some of the best written I have seen in a while, they were all individual and had their own character quirks and they all developed so much. I really liked Meg and her cats, I could probably read a whole book just about her. I loved the UN, those scenes were always a lot of fun to read. It is not often I become as attached to side characters as I do the main characters. Esmerelda's family infuriated me whilst Otto's family made me so happy every time the popped up. 

I do feel like the plot wasn't really there for the first half of the book, it was more a series of events than a cohesive whole until Otto's plan really kicked in. Which is not necessarily a bad thing, the first half of the book was arguably the funniest section and the beginnings of their romance was interesting to read. Their first date especially was incredibly entertaining. However it did mean the first half wasn't as compulsively readable as the second half - which I raced through. 

The plan itself was pretty surprising and very super-villainesque (returning again to Doofenschmirtz). I love over the top plans to take over the world and this was a great one. And of course, I always enjoy it when an author can make me root for the super-villains over the "good" guys. There was a plot twist I didn't see coming (although in retrospect I probably should have done) and I loved it. I totally thought it was going in a different direction. I really loved how often I could be surprised by what was happening and yet completely unsurprised that I was being surprised again. At some point I just accepted that nothing was going to happen quite like it seemed it would and to just go with it.

I really enjoyed reading this book, it was a great experience and I loved all the characters, there was not a single character that I didn't enjoy reading about. I do think this would make an amazing movie! There was a lot of action and funny one liners. I would recommend this if you like the humour of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, the action and couple rivalry of Mr & Mrs Smith and lots of villainous fun!

Author Bio:
Jesse Baruffi was born in a West Virginia college and quickly became the adorable dorm mascot of his parents’ alma mater. While other little boys dreamed of being astronauts and firemen, Jesse dreamed of creating stories, a curse which failed to subside, even in adulthood. He has been a teacher, tutor, caseworker, cat rescuer, filmmaker, and accidental kite-flying champion. He currently resides in Chattanooga, Tennessee with two demanding feline overlords. Otto Von Trapezoid and the Empress of Thieves is his first novel.

Find Jesse Baruffi Online:

Facebook | Goodreads

You can also find us on Goodreads (Ann and Clare) to keep up with what we are reading


  1. Hello Clare,

    Thank you so much for the good review. I'm glad you enjoyed the book, and I'm glad someone out there other than myself appreciates goofy old Whetmore and his awful puns.

    1. Thank you for writing such a good book! Whetmore made me so happy, I am glad he (and this book) exist! Thank you for visiting