Sorry for posting late, guys. Hope you didn’t miss me too much. (Also, you have no idea how many times I attempted to write / publish this post, only to be stymied by the computers crashing on me. Damn these school computers and their outdated Firefox…)
This month’s Teens Can Write Too! prompt is part of our ‘month of the indie’ — celebrating self-published and small press authors. Therefore, we’ve been asked to “Choose one self-published book to read, then briefly review it or talk about your experiences reading it.”
I decided to write a book that was given to me by Mark (of Mark Williams international Digital Publishing, while we’re talking about small presses — they’re the guys who published St Mallory’s Forever). This particular book is self-published using CreateSpace. While it’s some time since I read it, I’m using the review I wrote on Amazon at the time to remind me of anything I might have forgotten. I did intend to read something new for this post, but alas, I’m still working my way through Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell and didn’t want to start another book before I’d finished it (I’ve had very little time to read recently!).
This particular book is Wearing The Cape by Marion G Harmon. It’s a superhero story. Now if you’re a recent reader, you’ll know that I’m slightly obsessive over the Avengers, so you’d think it obvious that I’d enjoy it. But actually, I read this long before that particular interest, back in the days when superheros weren’t of interest to me.
I was 15 at the time, so just a couple of years younger than Hope, the main character (I feel like I should re-read it now, which I’ll do when I have time!). She’s always been interested in superheroes and after a ‘breakthrough’ in which she gains extraordinary powers, suddenly finds she has the opportunity to be one, and to join a group called the Sentinels under the name of Astra. But that means abandoning her life plan — not something she’s particularly keen to do.
As I said in my Amazon review at the time, it puts a whole new spin on the traditional superhero idea, poking fun at the skimpy costumes that girls always end up wearing in comics (something I think the Hawkeye Initiative would appreciate) and the reasoning behind them. It’s also hilarious — I remember laughing out loud at several points.
What was more, I could relate to Astra. Her problems were blown up and plastered all over the media, but they’re still the same sort of problems that most young people go through, and her thoughts were the thoughts that young people have. It was a chance for 15-year-old me to see how others coped in my situation, even if the context wasn’t entirely the same.
Admittedly, I was a little annoyed when romance entered the story — I’m never keen and it seemed unnecessary at the time. What is it with YA fiction HAVING to have romance? Some of us manage perfectly well without! However, when reading the sequel (Villains Inc. Episode 1), I began to think that it wasn’t a bad thing, as it allowed the story to travel in a new direction and provided extra motivation for the characters. At the same time, I have to admit I’m guilty of my characters falling for each other, so I appreciate that Marion G Harmon took it in a direction I would have … which for those who know my writing (I write tragedies) does not bode well for those involved.
If you cry easily at books, you might want tissues. I didn’t cry, but that was back in the day when I was a heartless beast and wasn’t reduced to an emotional wreck by TV shows on a regular basis (coughMerlincough), so I have a feeling I’ll need them the second time around.
On the whole, it was a very enjoyable experience. And if you’re an older reader, don’t be put off by a youthful protagonist. Hope is considerably younger than the other superheroes, for a start, so we’ve got them to bounce off, and anyway I believe it would appeal both to teens and to adults.
It’s a great book, thoroughly enjoyable. The sequel is in ‘episodes’ – I’ve read the first two, which were all that were available at the time, though I feel I ought to check if there are more (fairly sure there will be, given that well over a year has passed). Yup, that’s right — it came out in 2011, making it older than a lot of its indie friends, especially for the YA e-book market in the UK (which is fairly slow, though gaining speed).
So, if superhero books that parody stereotypes are your thing, you might want to check it out! (Clicking the image above should take you to Amazon UK.)
February 5th – http://the-writing-junkie.blogspot.com/
February 7th – http://musingsfromnevillesnavel.wordpress.com/
February 8th – http://fida-islaih.blogspot.com/
February 9th – http://sarahhudsonscribbles.blogspot.ca/
February 10th http://avonsbabbles.wordpress.com/
February 11th http://notebooksisters.blogspot.com/
February 12th http://mirrormadeofwords.wordpress.com/
February 13th http://www.lilyjenness.blogspot.com/
February 14th http://www.writerbewildered.blogspot.com/
February 15th http://realteenreader.wordpress.com/
February 16th http://epistolarygirl.wordpress.com/
February 17th http://incessantdroningofaboredwriter.wordpress.com/
February 18th http://teenscanwritetoo.wordpress.com/ (We’ll announce the topic for next month’s chain)