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Wearing the Cape #1

Wearing the Cape: A Superhero Story

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Hope did, but she grew out of it. Which made her superhuman breakthrough in the Ashland Bombing, just before starting her freshman year at the University of Chicago, more than a little ironic. And now she has some decisions to make. Given the code-name "Astra" and invited to join the Sentinels, Chicago's premier super-team, will she take up the cape and mask and become a career superhero? Or will she get a handle on her new powers (super-strength has some serious drawbacks) and then get on with her life-plan?

In a world where superheroes join unions and have agents, and the strongest and most photogenic ones become literal supercelebrities, the temptation to become a "cape" is strong. But the price can be high-especially if you're "outed" and lose the shield of your secret identity. Becoming a sidekick puts the decision off for awhile, but Hope's life is further complicated when The Teatime Anarchist, the supervillain responsible for the Ashland Bombing, takes an interest in her. Apparently as Astra, Hope is supposed to save the world. Or at least a significant part of it.
Wearing the Cape is a 300-page superhero novel for anyone who ever loved comic-book heroes, and wonders how they might behave in the real world.

308 pages, Paperback

First published April 22, 2011

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About the author

Marion G. Harmon

28 books276 followers
Marion G. Harmon picked up a Masters of History degree because he likes stories. He resides in Las Vegas, where he dabbles in various aspects of financial planning while trying to get the people in his head onto the page so they’ll stop pestering him.

Addendum: M.G.Harmon still lives in Las Vegas, but has ceased telling other people how to invest their money to become a "professional author," whatever that is. He has written nine books, all about Astra and Company. They still won't leave him alone.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 266 reviews
Profile Image for Rachel.
67 reviews28 followers
July 4, 2011
Oooo. ALMOST great. I love the way this author tells a story. A Watchmen-esque vision of what life would be like if there were superheroes on Earth.

One of my favorite things about this book was the inclusion of certain details about the main character's life which are included where relevant, but not belabored. She's Catholic, for example, and a cancer survivor. The author works it in almost incidentally.

It was the author's treatment of Islam which rubbed me the wrong way and cost her two whole stars. SPOILER ALERT-- If Muslims become superheroes, they will be terrorists.

Ewwww: "I can't tell the difference between a Palestinian and a Persian, let alone a Syrian and an Egyptian, but I know jihadists when I see them...."

I don't belong to the camp of the politically correct who believe that we should never ever use stereotypes like Muslim terrorists in art. It's just better to be responsible and kind to readers. Throw in a good Muslim character. Avoid being a complete jerk by not having your narrator/ central character say things like the quote above.

So, it was worth a read for me, but I would never publish this book or recommend it. Too bad.
Profile Image for Sara.
72 reviews26 followers
October 13, 2011
As a rule, these days I avoid books with teenage protagonists like the plague. (Harry Potter is a big exception here.) Why? Because for some strange reason, most recent teenage characters (and not a few adult ones, sadly) are so stereotypically *teenage* that they are horrifying, over-the-top parodies of a teenager. (I'm looking at you, Bella Swan.)

I didn't know, when I impulse-bought the self-published Wearing the Cape ebook (this was right after I got my shiny new Kindle) that the protagonist was eighteen years old. Fortunately, this turned out for once to not be a Bad Thing at all. Hope Carrigan is eighteen--legally an adult, but in the eyes of everyone else (including herself), still little more than a child. She's the daughter of extremely well-to-do parents (so well-to-do that she actually had a society debut at the age of 16), and has four elder brothers. Sounds like the lineup for half a dozen or so teen soap operas on tv, right?


Setting aside the superhero elements (I'll get to those in a minute), Hope is the kind of teenager I like. I've met teenagers like her (though, mind you, without the high-society elements): an intelligent, moral, thoughtful human being who, yes, has her occasional bouts of self-pity or whining (very little, thank Heaven), but who actually tries to live up to the things her parents taught her. And who, miracle of miracles, not only HAS parents--an incredible rarity in the world of teenaged heros--but also has a good relationship with them. Her major fight with her parents in the book is the result of conflict between their desire to keep their daughter safe and her determination to live up to the principles and morals they taught her.

Is there angst? Well, of course there is. It wouldn't be a very interesting book without it. But does the angst drive the plot, Twilight-style? Heavens, no. In fact, most of the angst has to do with a very young woman coming face-to-face with very real horrors. The real joy I found in Hope's characterization (and, incidentally the joy the romantic lead also found in her) was the fact that she waited until the bad guys were locked up, the innocent were safe (or at awaiting burial), and there was no longer an immediate threat before she broke down. She's a tough cookie, because unlike far too many of her literary counterparts she relies on her brain and her upbringing rather than merely on gut emotion, and in doing so she becomes strong. Funnily enough, Hope's superpowers--awakened when a villain with the delightful moniker of The Teatime Anarchist drops an overpass on top of her car--really play second-fiddle to her overall characterization. They're not uncool powers, but they're bog-standard in terms of 'superpower' tropes: super-strength, enhanced senses, invulnerability, and (just so she has one thing to really truly enjoy) the ability to fly. Granted, they've put her in the top notches of Super-strength-type people in the world (leading to one poor, persistent supersoldier to try repeatedly to recruit her into the Army), but compared to some of the others only mildly intriguing. Other superheroes have far more entertaining powers, however, such as her teammates The Harlequin--who is more or less made out of living rubber--and Chakra--who apparently draws her psychic abilities from tantric sex. (Which the eighteen year old Hope is really, *really* uninterested in hearing details about.) She even meets (much to my personal delight) a Mormon superhero.

The true interest lies in Hope's introduction to the world of 'capes.' The author has plenty of nods to genre tropes, but also plays with them, twists them, and turns them on their head. For instance, most of the professional superheroes are not ashamed to use their supercelebrity status to make money--though that money mostly goes to pay for their bases, medical care, and replacement costumes--and there are more than a few who enjoy the groupies and superfans who trail after them. But most are also aware (and Hope--renamed 'Astra'--has this pointed out to her) that they're really there as really flashy emergency response units, and are not equipped to deal with 'normals' when it comes to law enforcement. I particularly enjoyed a scene where Atlas, Hope/Astra's trainer and the first 'official' cape, explains to her why they wear the ridiculous costumes: because in the first scary days after 'the Event' (when superpowers manifested amidst a worldwide crisis), people were, understandably, terrified of these new-made superhumans who could do all sorts of impossible things. Atlas put on a mask and a cape and a costume not because he was trying to protect his identity--everyone knew who he was--but because when people saw a flying, superstrong man wearing a cape and a mask they immediately thought 'superhero,' and it meant that Atlas and others like him could help their fellow human beings without frightening them too much: comic books and pop-culture had already eased the way for them.

Overall, Wearing the Cape is a fast and entertaining romp with a wonderful balance of character development, world-building, and some very excellently done action-scenes. It's laugh-out-loud funny in some parts, but it will also break your heart in others. I plan to go buy the next two installments of the series as soon as I'm done writing this review, and I look forward to more from this author!

Profile Image for Jim.
1,789 reviews63 followers
February 18, 2018
This reads like a parade of stereotypes. It screams “I am white, and anyone non-white I introduce will, in some way, be a stereotype.” It took me a while to figure it out. I had heard some negative stuff about this book, but figured I should read for myself - especially since it was a book of the month in my book club. And I didn’t see anything really objectionable in the first 1/3 of the book - which is free on Amazon. So I found a Special Edition of the book for 99¢ on Amazon (the regular Edition was $7.99 - go figure), so I bought it to finish it.

But that’s when I started getting this creepy feeling on the back of my neck. So far, nearly all the supervillains seemed to be (A) gang members and (B) rappers. It took me a while to make that connection - is it because it was subtle? (Supervillains don’t play a big part in this beginning of the book.) Or is it because I’m obtuse?

But I kept reading, enjoying the story so far (though there seemed to be little diversity). Overall, the writing was decent, and It was an interesting superhero story.

But the next supervillains we find out about are Mexican drug lords who live near the most dangerous border in the world. (The world?)

And it seems like the white supervillains aren’t really villains. They’re actually the good guys or have temporary insanity. All of the real bad supervillains seem to be people of color. And nearly all the POC are supervillains. Except for a couple. Like one dude who’s an islander - he’s “exotic”. That’s some white person shit right there. (Oops. Maybe I shouldn’t read have read this the same time as I’m listening to The Hate U Give on audio. Is it weird that there’s a character named Seven in both books?) Maui is “a dark-skinned, hawk-featured man with short black hair and swirling tattoos covering the right side of his face. The patterns of his layered green and black spandex bodysuit echoed his tattoos, and he wore a hook-shaped bone carving at his throat under his open collar.” Chakra is “…dressed like a vaguely Hindu tribal dancer in a midriff-baring red vest and skirt loaded down with lots of gold jewelry.” Even the good POC are stereotypes.

And then in the climax, we find out who the real bad guys are. Muslim, Chinese, and Mexican terrorists. Because, obviously.

At least the (apparently white) guy who wanted a fascist police state was the Big Bad. And not a hero.

And, wow. Apparently in this special edition, the author changed some of the most racist language. For example, this phrase I found in multiple reviews no longer exists: “I can’t tell the difference between a Palestinian and a Persian, let alone a Syrian and an Egyptian, but I know jihadists when I see them.” The only thing close to it now is: “They didn’t wear uniforms, but I knew Caliphate jihadists when I saw them.”

I mean, when your book still has race issues after you take out the most racist stuff, ugh.

Also - there’s some weird stuff going on with the words. There are lots of places that ‘black’ is used as bad or evil. This is the English language, and I know that this already exists, but it’s interesting that it seems so prevalent. “black hats”, “black magic”, “Blackout” is a supervillain. Ok; to be fair, “Blackstone” is a hero, and Rook is a black superhero. And black is often used as just a color throughout the book. And the only other place in the book that I can find that black is used as an adjective is “black box agency”. This doesn’t seem quite as negative, but the organization described thus is run by someone described as “The Root of All Evil”. Maybe this is all just coincidence, to give the benefit of the doubt. And before you scream I’m making all this up - I didn’t think about it at all until I read the Afterword. Here the author describes why he felt he had to add the epilogue. It was so the book wouldn’t be so negative. But the actually words he used were, “The story still ended so black …” I don’t think I would have noticed this with all the stuff I’ve already written above.

And I didn’t care for the relationship in the book. I know guys are fond of the older male mentor getting it on with the teenage girl, but it’s just wrong. Like a professor doing it with a freshman. I don’t care if she is legal. And it makes it worse that he’s a man-slut.

She even realizes this: “All right, nine years wasn’t that big a difference, and he was brave, sweet . . . and a divorced workaholic who threw his room key to the slut of the week!” And hello? “And at the moment, he was my teacher and mentor, and didn’t that just set off all sorts off alarm bells.”

And I don’t know. They kiss. And there’s a picture of it. And in light of all the racism, it just felt like two Aryan lovebirds.

There’s something skeevy about seeing the older superhero dudes all wanting the young hot 18-yr-old. (Atlas is 27 and her mentor. I couldn’t tell how old Seven was, but he was an older, mentor-type character, too; it was icky that he was all disappointed that he didn’t get “lucky” with her (his superhero power was luck). It was yuckier when we find out she was in love with Atlas ever since she was 10. He would have been 19.

And then they go from liking each other to saying I love you to going away to a cabin together? And suddenly agreeing to get married? (Of course she has to run to Forever 21 and Victoria Secret first.) A man definitely wrote this. And when they get to the cabin, he dresses like a cowboy. The non-cowboy superhero actually dresses like a cowboy. Definitely a white dude fantasy.

Of course, he tries to get around the skeeviness by waiting until the wedding night to have sex. Nice save.

This is why I need to look for more diversity in my authors.

For the most part, the writing was pretty good. It’s too bad the book was ruined by all that other stuff.

Though, (with regards to the writing) I was really confused about Astra’s relationships with her friends before she became a hero. When we find out that they discover that their friend is actually Astra the superhero, it’s such an offhanded comment, you don’t even realize it happened. And then, since they’re barely mentioned for the next 15 chapters you forget that her friends are in on the secret.

And, he uses the word “squire” in a very odd and obscure way. It’s a verb, used when a man escorts a woman. “…Atlas asked Seven if he could squire me around.” I’ve never heard the word used that way before, and had to look it up. Weird. Seems like an archaic sexist kind of term.

Anyway, as you can tell, this book was sort of a miss for me.
Profile Image for Noran Miss Pumkin.
463 reviews94 followers
December 6, 2012
Set in Chicago--superheroes exist to help and harm. They make up state militias and special police tactical units. The military has their own squads. Each major city has their own team-to handle major crises. Chicago is the hub of the superhero world. A giddy 18 year old girl, driving into the city, falls victim to a political assassination. Trapped in her crushed car, she transforms .....
That is where I will leave you. I got this free from kindle yesterday. I could not stop reading it. I felt it was a a mash up of several TV shows/comic series. It did well. The pace of the storyline was nice, and the characters were ones you could relate to with ease. I know Chicago, and most the locations/streets were correct. I like that fact checking, in such a book. Try it, you will like it!
385 reviews39 followers
August 19, 2021
Once again, 3.5 stars automatically rounded up--this book was quite enjoyable despite some drawbacks. The publisher's blurb, reprinted verbatim at the top of this Goodreads page, gives a very good sense of both the story and its tone. I'll add a few points for clarification.

Chapter 2 tells us
On August 18th, for 3.2 seconds, every human being in the world simultaneously experienced total sensory deprivation--no sight, hearing, or physical sensation. ...when people remember the Event, what they most remember is not the sensory blackout or the worldwide power failure that came with it, but what happened next. They remember where they were when the first superhumans appeared.
A few ordinary people here and there had breakthroughs, suddenly gaining superpowers, and ten years later when our story starts, it's still happening. Hope Corrigan was eight years old at the Event, and she and her best friend Shelly played at being famous superheroes--yes, there's lots and lots of superhero celebrity and PR. When they were fifteen, it was generally known that those breakthroughs happened when a person was facing certain death, and Hope's friend Shelly was convinced that it would happen to her if she simply jumped off a building. The fatal result caused Hope, in grief, to put away all that stuff and just lead a normal (if highly privileged) life at home in Oak Park, a Chicago suburb.

Then, when Hope was eighteen and driving under the Ashland overpass, it was bombed, crushing her car; without thinking about the impossibility of it, she lifted tons of concrete off, got out, and started rescuing others who were trapped in the rubble. Seven died, but she saved quite a few as superheroes showed up to help. Then the most famous one of all, Atlas, picked Hope up and flew off with her to the Dome (Chicago's superhero headquarters).

The blurb spells out Hope's early doubts about her life with superpowers, but Atlas wanted her as his own sidekick, and off they went. Now Hope is telling this story in first person, and she's remarkably bright and straightforward, learning good judgment the hard way sometimes--but she's had a crush on famous Atlas for years, and now he's her mentor, leader, partner, etc. That crush gets in the way, and Atlas is ten years or so older than Hope, but a sweet kind of love develops (they do stay chaste, if you were worried) and matures.

For me, Atlas's personality was one of the drawbacks; I could never get a cohesive read on him, and I see that other reviewers are sharply divided here, especially over his relationship to Hope, now code-named Astra. He does have grief in his past and strives for good in his decisions, and he deserves the label hero for his actions in crisis after crisis, so I let that be enough. It's Hope/Astra whom we really get to know, and we're right there in her interactions with her family, school friends, and the friends she makes among the Sentinels, Chicago's superhero emergency response team, who work hand in hand with police and military.

And that domestic terrorist who pulled off the Ashland bombing is something I've never encountered before. Codename: the Teatime Anarchist. We don't meet him till page 54, which I think counts as spoilerland, so . I'll leave it up to you to read the spoiler tag or not--I think if that info had been in the back-cover blurb I would still have enjoyed the story just as much if not more!

Be warned, though, that grief is not entirely in these characters' past; some of the superheroes whom you may like very much are going to die in action before it's over. And for all the genius of the Teatime Anarchist part of the story, there are other battles the superheroes fight against crudely drawn foreign adversaries in a sketchy alternative world. Copyright 2011, so imagine a quick, naive look at headlines at that time to come up with conflicts for the book. Okay, let's do China, Mexican drug cartels, and Isis/Dash. Their supervillains will attack our superheroes. The action scenes are described well, but the overall treatment of the "bad guys" is fairly insulting to people from China, Mexico, or the Middle East. Disappointing.

On a more trivial note, my edition needed a professional proof-reader!
Profile Image for Meg.
180 reviews11 followers
October 9, 2011
Writing is solid, if a little clinical, but the symbolism and message are a touch heavy handed. Not so shoved down your throat that I had to give up, but a little heavier than I prefer.

More than anything else, the romance in this novel bugged me and was what broke my enjoyment of the book. An unrealistic teen fantasy, it was too perfect and utterly boring. Also slightly creepy, a 27 year old and an 18 year old. Not to say that age gap can't work, but not at eighteen when the main character clearly does not know what she wants to do with her life.

Still, a well built world and I liked the Teatime Anarchist. He was worth reading this book for.
Profile Image for Nina.
5 reviews
October 10, 2022
I had high hopes for this book. The premise of a young girl whose path takes a drastic detour right at a critical point in her life was something that I could identify with. And Mr Harmon's prose is both entertaining and relatable.
However, the moment it became all about the romantic subplot that I couldn't stand. Having spent the first 150 pages or so identifying strongly with the young protagonist, I was completely thrown when she and Atlas were suddenly engaged! I followed their flirtation well enough, but the trip to Colorado and the subsequent proposal seemed forced. Still, I know that I grew up in a different environment where, unlike Astra, physical intimacy is more of a prerequisite for marriage than a reward for the patient.
On top of that, the adult playboy-wonder falling in love with his new sidekick and becoming celibate for her made me a bit queasy. Her love alone is enough to change his behavior? I don't think so.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Timothy Boyd.
6,652 reviews35 followers
May 23, 2023
Not a bad superhero story. Pretty standard opening but a nice overall story. Recommended
Profile Image for Iori.
589 reviews4 followers
April 15, 2019
It was awesometacular, I liked the descriptions and contrary to other superheroes book I once read this one didn't feel childish. The characters have real depth, the plot is well set. Nothing to say, just that it wasn't long enough.
Profile Image for Steve Naylor.
1,802 reviews99 followers
April 16, 2019
Rating 3.0 stars

Not for me. Not bad, but the things I am really interested in, the author didn't focus on. I know I am not supposed to compare one book with another, but the whole time reading I kept thinking about the Super Powereds series which was so much better. Not fair to this book or the author, I know, but there it is. I prefer more detail about the powers: how they work, different ways to use them, how to use different tactics in fighting. In this book there was hardly any of that. The explanations were pretty basic and quick.

In this world an event happened about 10 years ago that caused a catastrophe. During that event is when super powered individuals came about. Stressful events can trigger those powers. People who use those powers for good are called Capes. Hope is driving home in Chicago when the bridge that she is on collapses. She is trapped in her car and isn't able to get out. During this stressful situation, she got her powers. There is some theory that the type of power a person receives is based off their personality and their need at the time. Hope pretty much got supergirl's powers. She gets recruited by the Sentinels ( a Chicago based superhero team). Hope was supposed to go to College in Chicago with her friends but now she is told she can't go at least for a little while because she has to learn how to use her powers. Without training, she would be a danger to herself and others. To me there should have been 2 types of training. One type of training would be how to control her powers, and another type of training would be how to use her powers as a superhero. Those are not the same. One would teach her control and how to use less force, especially when dealing with normal people ( so she doesn't kill someone on accident just by sneezing) and the other is for maxing out her powers. The only training she seemed to receive was how to be part of a superhuman team. 2 weeks after she got her powers, they had her take down a super villain as part of her "training". By the end of the story, I almost cared for the characters and the story, but just not quite. Now I feel like reading Super Powereds again ( I know, I need to stop with the comparisons - especially when the Super Powereds is on my favorite list, it just isn't fair)
Profile Image for Paula.
733 reviews63 followers
May 12, 2017
I am pleasantly surprised at the depth to this series. I was expecting a light and fluffy story and got an excellent story with great world building. I've zipped thru the others and now am on the 4th in the series. Well worth the read. ps the h is a 19yr old but there are very few YA moments.

The newest in the series is out and I wanted to reread the rest of the series again.
Profile Image for Lukasz.
1,384 reviews222 followers
September 21, 2023
A nice, quick read with an unsurprising superhero story. The Audiobook version is available on the PLUS catalog and makes for a fun listen. Nothing new or groundbreaking but it has some charm.
Profile Image for Gilbert Stack.
Author 62 books57 followers
June 6, 2023
The first time I read this novel I had gotten a free copy of what turned out to be only the first few chapters of the book. I read a lot of free novels and unfortunately most of them do not leave me wanting to go out and find another of the author’s works. Wearing the Cape was different. The minute I finished it I got online and bought the full novel and then I just kept reading Harmon’s series until I finished all of them.

I like super hero stories. I’ve been reading them since my mother gave me my first comic books the summer before I entered fourth grade. Before that I’d watched the original Spiderman cartoon and the Super Friends on television. Many thousands of comics, a whole bunch of movies and television shows, and maybe two-to-three hundred super hero novels later I feel like I’m an expert on the genre. So it isn’t lightly that I say that Harmon’s Wearing the Cape is easily one of the three or four best superhero series out there.

It’s a series for people who take their supers seriously. Like all the other superhero novels out there, Wearing the Cape still demands a certain level of suspended disbelief, but there is a gritty realism in the way this world is envisioned that goes well beyond standard super hero fare—especially that coming out of the genre leaders at Marvel and DC comics. Yet all of that gritty realism doesn’t get in the way of genuine super heroics and the fun that comes from reading about them.

Hope Corrigan is an eighteen year old woman about to start her first year in college when a terrorist bomber drops an overpass on her and a bunch of other people driving on the highway. By a fluke of luck, she’s not immediately killed by the falling concrete, but she’s worried about all the other people around her and her need to help them generates a superhero breakthrough in her that launches her into her career as a superhero called Astra.

Chicago, where the series is based, is home to America’s premier superhero team, The Sentinels, and to Atlas, the world’s first superhero. They have a lot of experience training new supers and the Sentinels, like all super teams, has a legal status working with the local authorities to A) help them control supervillains and B) work as emergency response personnel during natural and man-made disasters. (You know, like a terrorist dropping an overpass onto the highway below.)

Astra’s training gives us the opportunity to painlessly discover how the superheroes function in society. No, that’s not fair, it’s not just painless it’s downright exciting. Superheroes are celebrities with fans, magazines, and clubs devoted to them. There are also movies, television shows and merchandising. They need insurance to cover the civil suits that happen when they’re called in to take down supervillains. There are government agencies that work with them and keep an eye on them. And all of this truly critical world building seamlessly flows from the text while Hope/Astra deals with the completely believable stresses of an incredibly difficult job. And that’s just the day to day problems of a superhero—the equivalent of Spiderman stopping a bank robbery on his way to the Daily Bugle. The actual mega-villain activity is worthy of the best story arcs Marvel and DC have ever put on paper.

To close I’d like to say a few words about the audio version of this novel which I just had the pleasure of listening to. I’ve read the kindle version two or three times, but the audio brings a whole new level of enjoyment to the story. You see, even though you know Hope’s just eighteen, you can forget that at times while reading, but not with a capable narrator like K. F. Lim. She gets the young Hope’s voice perfectly and the giggles and tongue-tied stutters and a dozen other little narrative effects really drive home that this is a teenager we’re reading about. It brings Harmon’s story to life even more effectively than he did.

If you liked this review, you can find more at www.gilbertstack.com/reviews.
Profile Image for C.T. Phipps.
Author 81 books601 followers
January 18, 2016
Wearing the Cape is one of the rare examples of superhero prose and one I really-really like. It manages to do something which very few novelists and writers are willing to do today: tell an idealistic story about superheroes. The majority of superhero novels out there are either adaptations or deconstructions. I'm surprised to say supervillain perspective novels are rather common, myself included being guilty, but Wearing the Cape starts with a simple premise: what if a nice but otherwise ordinary girl was given the power of Supergirl?

Wearing the Cape isn't a solo superhero novel. The character of Hope, soon to be the hero Astra, is part of a world which has had superheroes for over a decade. They have their own version of the Justice League/Avengers, signature superhero ("Atlas"), and an entire subculture born out of the development of superpowers. It's a well-developed world with the role of superheroes explictly defined as search and rescue operatives or assistants to police.

The novel chronicles Hope's journey from being a newly discovered "Breakthrough" to becoming a fully-fledged hero. The novel shows a remarkable take on the superhero genre, illustrating with celebrity comes perks (even when you're in a selfless business). Hope not only has to deal with being suddenly the strongest woman in the world but also the newfound fame that comes with her position.

I especially liked the character of Artemis, who swiftly becomes Hope's version of Batman. The two have a natural easy-going friendship which works despite how completely different they are. The other supporting cast members are equally enjoyable with the characters of Seven and Atlas surpassing their archetypes to become fully-realized individuals. Even the villain, the deliberately oddball named Teatime Anarchist, has many a surprise inside him.

Is Wearing the Cape perfect? No, I can't say that it is. Hope seems a bit naive and we never quite get into her psyche as deeply as I want. Likewise, the team of supervillains we meet later in the novel goes beyond stereotypical. Despite this, I absolutely adore the novel and am actively looking forward to sequels from the writer. I heartily recommend this novel to anyone with even the slightest interest in the superhero genre.

Profile Image for gabi.
1,005 reviews24 followers
November 14, 2015
Oh my goodness! What just happened? This book was great (though it had a few things that weren’t so great or appropriate).

Ever since the Event, random people have had superhuman breakthroughs and have incredible powers. Nine years after the Event, Hope, an eighteen year girl living in Chicago, is about to start he freshman year of college. Her life is pretty great, but then she has her breakthrough. Her whole life is changed upside down. She joins the Sentinels (Chicago’s own superhero team) to learn to control her powers and is code-named “Astra”. But after that, what will she do with her life? Will she take on the mask and cape and make a career as a superhero? Or will she go back to her plan for her life? Another thing is that the Teatime Anarchist, a major supervillain, has an interest in her. He thinks she is supposed to save the world, or, most of it. At other times, he seems to want to kill her as soon as he has an opportunity.

It book had a very different feel to it from others that I’ve read. It was written very frankly. I really do think that this book was awesome. Superheroes in a modern world! What could go wrong? There was action. It had that good versus evil style that is so classic. I loved it! The violence felt bitter and rough and real. It was so real.

I didn’t care for how the romance was done. Don’t get me wrong, I love a little romance here and there. But the romance between Hope and this guy got a bit, shall we say, out of control. It never got drastically horrible, but it was a bit uncomfortable for me. Also, there was a lot of times that bad and inappropriate “romance” was mentioned about certain superheroes, but it was never really explained or described.

Then that ending! Woah. It totally caught me off guard. I wanted to cry. How could you do that to her? To me? The rest of the books won’t feel the same now. That was so terrible. I’m sure that many of you that read this will sob your eyes out. Needless to say, I want the next book now!

I’d recommend this to older teens and adults who love superheroes, dystopian (it wasn’t that futuristic, but at times it felt that way), and/or fiction. It was good.

You can check out this review on my blog too, at: https://aheartredeemed.wordpress.com/... Thanks!
Profile Image for Cheryl.
5,261 reviews195 followers
May 20, 2011
The evil Teatime Anarchist has just brought destruction to the city again. Hope Corrigan is a normal eighteen year old girl. She was driving along when she was struck by hundred of pounds of concrete. Hope was lucky to survive. Before she can really comprehend what is happening, she is flown away…literally from the accident.

Hope’s savior is Atlas aka John Chandler. Atlas is a superhero and part of a network of other superheroes. Hope is recruited and becomes the newest superhero. Just call her Astra, which means star.

This book is like a combination of the younger version of the X-Men and the Incredibles. Only these superheroes don’t mind if the public know about them. This book started off with a big bang…literally. While, I liked that the superheroes were made up of all different ages and genders. At times, it felt like there was too much detail. For example, when Hope aka Astra was first learning to become a superhero, I appreciated and understood that there was a lot of training before someone just puts on the suit, cape and mask but I didn’t need several chapters of explanation. A chapter would have been fine with me and even two chapters would have been alright if it was to explain about the other characters powers, which was done but at a later point in the book. I liked Astra as a main character. She is a relatable character and a superhero that readers can get behind and cheer for. Despite some of the little things, this book is a fun read. Wearing the Cape will have you wishing you were a superhero!
Profile Image for Siobhan.
92 reviews34 followers
March 2, 2012
There is a fine line that writers of Superhero stories must walk, between having characters and plot elements which are real enough to relate to and be interesting and having ones that are too jaded, powerful or bizarre to be worth following.
"Wearing the Cape" stands firmly on the good side. Fantastic enough without giving us so many details of the whys that one loses interest.

=Harmon does a great job with Hope's voice- she is likable, bright, and quietly vulnerable in a few ways that I didn't expect. She is not perfect and has many failings that other teens (and adults- let's be honest!), can relate to. She, like all of the characters, comes across as a fairly well-rounded person that you come to care about over the course of the book.
=The powers are well done- most of your standard superhero types are in here and so are a few you might not have seen before.
=The plot itself is also interesting, and the pacing of the story moves fast enough that I was in the final chapters before I knew it. There are a few times when it veers a bit, but I don't think it ever was too strange or made the story too uneven.

I'm really looking forward to starting the sequel, and I will certainly be keeping an eye out for anything else by Mr Harmon.
Profile Image for shrug city.
628 reviews
April 27, 2017
Some of the worldbuilding in this novel was really cool (the Hollywood superheroes were awesome, and the disaster scenes particularly affecting), but the whole thing was ruined by (I kid you not) an alliance of literal evil superpowered brown people that attack the President and the incredibly creepy main romance.
Profile Image for Jay Collins.
1,533 reviews11 followers
May 27, 2019
Okay so it is a pretty sold 3 star book but it did lose me a little in the middle. The beginning was great and the ending was okay but the love interest was not really done well and felt off. I did like the characters but the story line went a little weird at times. I am on the fence if I will continue with this series.

Maybe 3.5 stars as I did enjoy most of this book.
Profile Image for Rachel.
178 reviews69 followers
June 29, 2020
I wanted to like this book. Superheroes, Chicago (my hometown!), and generally cool sounding plot. What could go wrong? Apparently a whole lot

This book is really boring. Normally, boring wouldn’t be enough of a crime to earn only one star but like the other reviews point out there’s also racism. Most, if not all, of the villains are black or foreign. The only Muslim characters in the book are terrorists.

And then there’s the romance. It honestly made me cringe. An 18 year old who isn’t much of an adult even if legally she is and a 27 year old. The author tries to make it redeeming by having the 27 year old agree to wait till marriage to have sex. But it’s still creepy. Age gaps aren’t always bad, but the gaping charm of maturity between this too was weird.

Do not recommend.
Profile Image for Daniel.
2,445 reviews38 followers
January 6, 2016
This review originally published in Looking For a Good Book. Rated 3.5 of 5

In a world where superheroes have agents and become celebrities just for having powers, it's not unusual for a child to grow up wanting to be a superhero. That's how Hope grew up, and when she was entering her freshman year in college her powers appeared. Now she's invited to join The Sentinels - a Chicago-based superhero team - as Astra (her superhero name). But does she really want to be a superhero, with all the dangers inherent in such a life, and living in the fear of having her real identity revealed? She agrees to being a side-kick for a little while, to try to understand what the life will be like, but the villain from her first superhero encounter is seeking her out.

This book is part of my "super-hero" fiction collection that I seemed to collect all at once a little while back. And with almost 500 books in Kindle queue, mostly ARCs, it just got pushed to the back for a bit because I'm often leery about self-, or small-press publications. I needn't have worried though, as this is a nicely written, strong work.

It seems fairly clear to me that this book is targeted at the YA market. The protagonist, Astra, is a teenager. She is filled with questions, longing, and the requisite pathos. These are traits common in YA books as they speak to the mood and angst so many young adults are feeling. But what I appreciate so much about this book is the positive turn(s) Astra takes and the goals that are heroes aspire to. These are heroes, after all. Super heroes.

The story moves along nicely and there's really much, much more here than simple villain-fighting or world-saving. There is a story about people, who happen to have powers, and people stories tend to be more interesting, in my book.

This is definitely worth reading, and I see that there's a follow-up book, which I look forward to reading as well.

Looking for a good book? Wearing the Cape is a strong YA story by Marion G. Harmon, using super heroes and super powers as a backdrop to tell a story about human desire.
Profile Image for Mary Catelli.
Author 52 books172 followers
June 11, 2017
Hope was driving to her mother's gallery when a supervillian called the Teatime Anarchist blew up the bridge. Thus triggering her own "breakthrough." She pushes her way out of her car and starts heaving about concrete to help.

The oldest superhero team shows up -- superheroes, after all, started only ten years ago, during the Event. Hope, indeed, was eight at the time, though young enough that the disruption didn't really fully register. Atlas, the first superhero, takes her off scene and to their Dome, so that her identity does not become public. They test her, finding her superstrong, capable of flight, tough, heals quickly, supersenses -- and recruit her as Astra.

At one point, Atlas explains why he adopted the get-up, mask, and codename, even though he, like most superheroes, broke through in public: things were terrifying enough for people after the Event and the disasters it brought about; to label these people with powers as "superheroes" helped calm things down.

Further adventures ensue. More about the Teatime Anarchist. A character Hope meets in a club and notices is room-temperature and breathes only when she needs to speak. Rescuing a cat from a tree. The growing supervillain subculture and its problems. Disaster relief and a sudden attack. and much more. I really liked one.
10 reviews
November 20, 2013
I was able to borrow this book on Lendle, and was very happy that I did.

Phenomenally interesting storyline, and characters that one can really care about. Hope is just your normal, average almost-college student when the Teatime Anarchist's plots transform her into an honest-to-goodness superhero. Of course, she's not the only one; she's immediately invited to join the Sentinels, and even gets to train under the most well-known hero, Atlas.

The author does a great job of showing the trials and frustrations of trying to cope with sudden superpowers, sudden fame, and sudden enemies. Not to mention that she's now an invited guest to her mother's Christmas Ball.

I especially enjoyed the complete lack of swearing and explicit sexuality. Major kudos to Hope for her moral code.
Profile Image for Cloak88.
918 reviews16 followers
September 7, 2016
What if superheroes really existed and for once were depicted in a realistic fashion...?

Well you would get Wearing the Cape. An interesting take on everything "Super" and an interesting story to boot. After a terrorist attack of a supervillain Hope discovers she is a breakthrough (gained superpowers). Now super strong and able to fly, she is offered to become a Sentinel and be trained by Atlas. The first and an most iconic superhero the word has.

A good story with some interesting characters and an upbeat character to it.
Recommended for teens and up.
Profile Image for Cloak88.
918 reviews16 followers
October 29, 2017
What if superheroes really existed and for once were depicted in a realistic fashion...?

Well you would get Wearing the Cape. An interesting take on everything "Super" and an interesting story to boot. After a terrorist attack of a supervillain Hope discovers she is a breakthrough (gained superpowers). Now super strong and able to fly, she is offered to become a Sentinel and be trained by Atlas. The first and an most iconic superhero the word has.

A good story with some interesting characters and an upbeat character to it.
Recommended for teens and up.
Profile Image for Daniel.
3 reviews
November 6, 2012
Great book. A little girly... I survived because the story held up past the fashion accessories.
Profile Image for Powerschnute.
245 reviews23 followers
December 13, 2017
Superhelden gibt es ja viele und jeder hat seine eigene Geschichte. In "Karriere: Superheldin" folgen wir der achtzehnjährigen Hope, die bei einem Anschlag ihre Superkräfte entdeckt und danach als Superhelden-Sidekick ihre Ausbildung als Vollzeit-Superheldin beginnt. Frau Schnute liest ja eher selten Bücher mit jugendlichen Hauptfiguren, aber bei diesem Buch hat sich das "Ich mach mal eine Ausnahme, weil es irgendwie cool klingt" ehrlich gelohnt. Frau Schnute wurde nicht enttäuscht.

Hope ist eine äußerst erfrischende Hauptfigur. Mit 18 ist sie kein typischer Teenager mehr aber eigentlich auch noch nicht wirklich erwachsen. Noch dazu kommt sie aus einer intakten Familie mit sich-immer-noch liebenden Eltern und einem intakten sozialen Netz. Spätestens dann, als ich erwartete, dass ihre Jugend mich endlich nerven würde, wurde ich immer wieder positiv überrascht. Sie erinnert mich von der Persönlichkeit in vielerlei Hinsicht an mich selbst und das habe ich bisher noch in keinem Jugendbuch erlebt, dass ich mich mit der jugendlichen, weiblichen Hauptfigur identifizieren kann. Schon allein dafür hätte das Buch 5 Sterne verdient. Wenn man mal die Superhelden-Elemente beiseite lässt, ist Hope echt eine coole Socke. Sie weiß wer sie ist. Sie hat im Leben schon einiges durch (Krebs, Tod der besten Freundin) und auch sonst hat sie einen recht nüchternen Kopf, und einen äußerst trockenen Humor. Es ist wahrhaftig erfrischend für mich als Leserin, die mehr als doppelt so alt ist wie Hope.

Hope lässt sich nicht einfach von Instinkten und ihrem Bauchgefühl leiten. Ganz im Gegenteil, sie verlässt sich auf ihren Kopf und darauf, dass ihre Eltern schon wussten, was sie bei ihrer Erziehung richtig gemacht haben. Eigentlich kann ich gar nicht aufhören zu schwärmen. Man trifft sowas einfach viel zu selten. Und selbst als die Liebe Einzug hält in der Geschichte und aus Hopes Schwärmerei mehr wird, bleibt sie besonnen und mutiert nicht zum gefühlsgesteuerten, unterwürfigen Weiblein. Einfach ganz große Klasse.

Natürlich muss es auch etwas Kritik geben und die richte ich gegen die USA-Zentriertheit des Romans. Überhaupt waren da einige Aspekte drin, die mich haben grübeln lassen. Schönheit fand eigentlich nur Erwähnung, wenn die oder der erwähnte blond gelockt und blauäugig war. In Rezensionen konnte ich lesen, dass Mr. Harmon das wohl in den weiteren Bänden verbessert hat, also bleibt das erstmal abzuwarten. Aber hey, die Amis haben eine Indianerin als Präsidentin (Hut ab!) die noch dazu ebenfalls Superkräfte hat (ehrlich mal, wie geil ist das denn?)

Die Bandbreite der Superhelden und Superschurken ist äußerst groß, die beschriebenen Superkräfte äußerst beeindruckend. Besonders gefallen hat mir, dass jedes Kapitel mit Zitaten eingeleitet wurde, die Einblick in die Hintergrundgeschichte der Welt geben.

Harmon schafft damit eine Welt voller Wunder und Schrecken mit einer großen Auswahl an Figuren und Charakteren. Band 2 werde ich definitiv lesen und ich weiß noch nicht, ob ich hier auch bis zur deutschen Übersetzung warte oder mir schon die englische Originalversion besorge. Es ist einfach eine tolle Welt, die er da geschaffen hat (Ja, Marion G. Harmon ist männlich, lasst Euch nicht von dem Vornamen täuschen).

Ein tolles Superheldenbuch und der einzige Punkt, den ich abziehen muss ist wirklich der, dass mich dieses "USA über alles" arg gestört hat. Ansonsten bin ich super gespannt auf den nächsten Teil und freue mich riesig darüber, dass ich dieses Buch lesen durfte.
Profile Image for Autumn.
1 review
September 24, 2019
I don't normally leave detailed reviews, but I've had this book sitting on my shelf for a while now, I finally got around to it, and I have some thoughts.

Nothing really happens in this book until the last 50 pages or so. Okay, that's not exactly charitable. Things happen and, looking at, say, a plot summary, some pretty exciting things happen, but there's no real conflict. Our main character, Astra, essentially becomes Supergirl when the bridge she's on is bombed by a supervillain, and is immediately whisked away by Atlas (Superman but he's from Texas and also a cowboy) to become his sidekick. She then spends most of the rest of the book training with the Sentinals (Atlas's superhero team), moping about how her life's been turned upside down and how generally dire this world is, and solving the episodic conflicts that come along with very little trouble. I'm simplifying here, but not by much. Astra is empathetic, tough as nails, impeccably polite and well-mannered, and handles every single situation she's placed in with ease even though, nominally, she's a rookie who's never been in a real fight before and has almost no control over her god-like strength.

The problem here is that Astra never really struggles, never really fails in a way that has meaningful consequences, never really loses anything until the bat-shit insane fight at the end, where she still hasn't really failed because the opponent is literally a giant avenging angel who rends his way through dozens of high ranking superheroes without really breaking a sweat. This all before the book goes straight off the rails into insanity when the book finally gets back around to the time travel plot. It's intense, but you'd be forgiven for not making it to the intense part, because it starts at about page 250 out of 300. And, as I said, before that, nothing really happens.

Now, if being boring was this book's only crime, I would not be here writing a multi-paragraph one star review. To Mr. Harmon's credit, he's clearly done a lot of world-building here. The world is very well thought out, and one thing I do like about the book is the way different superpowers manifest. I'd say he's very creative when it comes to what powers people have and how those powers actually manifest and affect them. Unfortunately, the world-building also reveals Mr. Harmon's biases. In a not-good kind of way.

Other reviews have mentioned the racism and, yes, all the villains are either minorities or, more likely, foreign terrorists. That big fight at the end with the avenging angel was caused by a group of Islam, Mexican, and Chinese terrorists who have banded together to kill America. Because...America. A lot of the negative reviews here have gone into the cringy stuff about Islam, but since it's a little closer to home for me, I'd like to briefly go into the cringy stuff about Mexico.

In Mr. Harmon's mind, if a bunch of random people in Mexico are given superpowers, then Mexico will be overrun by drug cartels. We get the most detail about the situation on the border between El Paso, TX and Juarez, Mexico, when the team of superheroes from El Paso, called "The Guard" show up at superhero con. The Guard are, in Astra's words, spooky; they all wear black jumpsuits and opaque black helmets that completely hide their faces, they're one of the few superhero teams in which all of the members have secret identities, and there's a rumor that none of them are even from El Paso, presumably so their families are safe if a bad guy finds out who they are. The reason for all of this is that the El Paso/Juarez border is "the most dangerous border in the world." We continue, "the murder rate in Juarez...is six times the Mexican national average, kidnapping is practically an industry, and there's a narcotics-driven civil war going on."

Now, I will grant Mr. Harmon that Juarez and El Paso have a crime problem. I will also grant Mr. Harmon that this crime problem is by no means helped by the appearance of superhumans. However, I have a hard time believing that there aren't plenty of Hispanic people in both El Paso and Juarez who would be exposed to the kind of trauma that creates superhumans in this world and are good people who would become superheroes to protect their city. The idea that the situation is so dire as to require a militaristic force of Americans from other parts of the country to come hold the border is, frankly, insulting.

The other major way the book gets cringy is in the "romance" between Astra and Atlas. I say romance in big glowing quotation marks because it isn't really present in the book until suddenly Astra has fallen for Atlas, and then later when Astra has suddenly decided she loves Atlas so much she wants to marry him immediately. The parts that I think are supposed to be the developing romance are loaded with yikes moments, especially when you take into account that Astra is 18 and Atlas is a divorcee in his late 20s who, before he meets Astra, sleeps with a different woman multiple times a week.

At one point, when Atlas is training Astra, he slaps her on the butt "like [she] was a stubborn horse he was trying to move," which is, um, blatant sexual assault. I think this technically happens before the romance is supposed to start, but I also hope it's not a controversial claim that a teacher should not be slapping his student on the butt. Yikes.

The entire romance reads like a sleazy man taking advantage of his student's naivete to get her to sleep with him. If that was the intent, that wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing to happen in a novel, and would inject some much needed drama into the story. However, given that this is framed as a straight-forward romance, and there's no twist moment (like in Frozen) where Astra realizes that Atlas isn't exactly prince charming, I can only assume that this is supposed to be a straight-forward romance. Which isn't great since every signal Atlas sends in this entire book leads me to believe that he does not care about Astra any more deeply than as a sexual object or, as Astra herself wonders, as something that needs to be protected.

All in all, this book doesn't have a lot of redeeming qualities. Most of it is boring, and if you can make it through the boring bits, you're hit over the head with the racism and sexism, and if you can make it through that you get hit with an insane climax and a downer ending.
Profile Image for Fatesocruel.
29 reviews56 followers
August 19, 2012
There 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.

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.
Profile Image for Niall Teasdale.
Author 68 books282 followers
April 19, 2018
While pushing for a relatively realistic world with superheroes in it, this book doesn't go the whole hog and give us a grimdark universe (like, say, Wild Cards). That gives it a big plus in my book. It seems like the majority of people who write this kind of fiction want to write horror stories and not superhero-horror stories, just horror. This book has some down-to-earth bad stuff in it, but it actually means something, rather than just being there to have horrible things happen to the protagonists.

Criticism... Despite this being an updated and re-edited version, it could use a good proofreader. (As a side-note: the artwork added to the book doesn't do much for it on a standard Kindle, but it doesn't look too bad either, even in greyscale. Really must flick through it on a PC and see the colours.)

Also, the romance in here is fairly important to the plot for one reason or another (I'll avoid spoiling that here), but it's kind of boring. It feels kind of superfluous which is possibly because it is important and therefore has to happen.

All in all, I quite enjoyed the book and I think I'll try another in the series. And that's not entirely because it's possibly the first superhero fiction I've ever read which hasn't made me want to read a Harley Quinn comic so I remember what having a sense of humour feels like.
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