Okay, I'll bite because it's about ballet and actually sounds kind of interesting. So we'll see. But "From the creators of Lauren Kate's Fallen"? WHATOkay, I'll bite because it's about ballet and actually sounds kind of interesting. So we'll see. But "From the creators of Lauren Kate's Fallen"? WHAT is up with that?...more
There are some books that are shining examples of their genres, and can bring readers previously scornful of fantasy or science fiction or mysteries oThere are some books that are shining examples of their genres, and can bring readers previously scornful of fantasy or science fiction or mysteries open their minds and try something new. There are some books that are regarded as the worst the genre has to offer, which should be avoided by everybody. This book is neither. It is good, but if you’re not already a fan of superhero stories you probably won’t develop a deep passion for them after reading this book.
Most of my problems with Wearing the Cape are nitpicky, and you shouldn’t let them keep you from reading the book because it still has a lot to offer. Almost all have to do with writing quality – the writing wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t good enough to wholly draw me into the story, which made reading slightly uncomfortable. It just needs more polishing and consistency, especially in the beginning. There’s an overfondness for hyphens, too many italicizations of “so” for emphasis (as in, “I so wasn’t ready for this”) and a little too much repetition of the phrase “’Go.’ We got.” There’s a bit of telling instead of showing, pop culture references that, while they do add to the story, don’t add enough to make me think they’re necessary, and a lot of little proofreading mistakes like “you’re” for “your.” So, the writing isn’t bad, in general; it just needs to be refined.
Hope, our protagonist, is enjoyable to read about. She’s kind of bland at first, but she does grow as a character and is easy to relate to. At first Harmon tries too hard to get a teenage girl’s voice “right” and ends up bringing in some stereotypes, but he seems to find what he’s going for about 70 pages in. One thing I liked was that she was Catholic, but it wasn’t just some random fact thrown out for “characterization”; Hope’s faith is actually shown as an important and influential part of her life, and at one point she visits her priest in order to have someone to talk to that isn’t part of her family or the Sentinels, but knows her and can give good advice.
All of the characters are fairly well realized, particularly Artemis and the Teatime Anarchist. Artemis is an excellent contrast to Hope and has a fascinating story and skill set. She is also different from the other heroes, in that she prefers to work underground as a myth. I wanted to dislike Atlas for a long time (not quite sure why, to be honest), but by the time the Sentinels went to California I couldn’t. There’s a particularly good character moment when we first see Andrew the designer and the Harlequin together that reminds us other people are the stars of their own lives, even in books.
The worldbuilding is definitely unique, especially among superhero stories, and easily one of the most interesting parts of the book. Breakthroughs, how they happen, and their degrees of power were especially fascinating, and I wouldn’t mind seeing them explored more in the sequel. Glances at how the Event affected other parts of the world are also refreshing, though a touch hit and miss (I’m also not positive that 3.2 seconds of blackout is enough time for such widespread disaster to occur, but I could be wrong). Supervillain is also an aspect that I’d never considered before, and it added depth to the world. The book belongs to the subset of superhero stories that examine what traditional superheroes would be like in the real world, and explores the details of their existence. Trying to find non-lethal methods of crowd control, government regulations concerning supers, public relations, and the expected image of perfect bodied superheroes as seen in comic books all form the backdrop of the story’s action.
But then, there is the time travel. It caught me by surprise, and it’s very different from your standard time machine time travel. This time travel has to do with Schrodinger’s Cat, split personalities, and multiple universes formed by people’s choices. And as much as I’d like to talk about it more, I don’t think I can without spoiling part of the book, so suffice it to say that it elevated the story and the stakes a couple of notches, and that the way the ending tied everything up was quite interesting and satisfying.
But…there’s one other problem I had with this book. It involves spoilers and a less problematic form of a trend one usually sees more of in bad YA paranormal romance. (view spoiler)[Hope starts out as a decently intelligent, self-aware heroine, and mostly remains so. Except in her relationship with Atlas. I feel like this could have been a much bigger problem, except that both she and Atlas are at least somewhat aware of the more problematic aspects of their relationship, and that the relationship isn’t quite insta-love. It takes Hope at least a couple of months to develop a crush and realize it, and then when Atlas finds out she tries to tell him don’t worry about it, it’s just a stupid crush and it will go away. At which point I thought, “Problematic, but she’s handling it well,” because Atas is nine years older and divorced so he’s going to be pretty different emotionally in a relationship, especially when Hope is 18. Then...they actually start a relationship that proceeds very quickly to engagement which made me freak out because um, Hope, you’re 18 (19 at this point?) and you yourself had said this would go away if it were let alone. And then – Atlas died. And I wasn’t sure how to feel about it because I didn’t want the relationship to work out, but death is pretty harsh and the manner in which he died was awfully depressing. I’m still confused about my feelings for this part of the book, if you couldn’t tell. (hide spoiler)]
I’m definitely interested in what else goes on in this world, and I do think Wearing the Cape is a great addition to superhero mythology. But if you have an interest in them and don’t know where to start, or your friends are pushing you to try them and you pick this up, you should know there’s better things out there too. This book is mainly for people who already like superheroes, and that’s fine. It’s a good book and worth reading; it just won’t break out of the genre anytime soon. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more