Wearing the Cape Series by Marion G. Harmon

Wearing the Cape banner

A Superhero Story

Wearing the Cape: A Superhero Story (Wearing the Cape #1)
Marion G. Harmon
Published: 22nd April, 2011
CreateSpace
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Science Fiction
Age: Young Adult
From: Lola’s Blog Tours; Author

Summary:

Who wants to be a superhero?

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.

What I liked: I’ve never been the biggest fan of superhuman centered stories, mainly because for some reason they always left me wanting more in different ways, whether it was the fact that I wanted more variety in powers for the girls or because I wanted to read about more superheros who were women (take your pick, that seemed to always be my problem). Yet, from the start of this book I got what I always wanted, a heroine with superpowers that gave her abilities on par with Superman (minus the laser eye and weakness to Kryptonite) but in an even more interesting twist, the superhumans with similar abilities are classed under the name of the original superhuman who had those abilities after the Event. And those classes have classes (A, B, and C from what I’ve seen with A being the most powerful). There’s also plenty of humor in the book which I really enjoyed, plus the current President is a Native American woman who has some pretty cool abilities of her own (she’s an aerokinetic). The story was filled with tension in all the right parts and left me with some questions right until the end, and even more questions about what was going to happen to Astra after everything that has happened to her in this book. Each of the characters brings something to the table in this book that works its way in, even Hope’s faith (she’s Catholic) gets brought into the story and plays an important role in the book. Each piece we’re given does plenty to build up the world we’ve been set in with real superhumans, some heroes, some villains, and some just people who want to be normal even with their abilities. It makes for a very interesting mix of people. There’s also this sub-culture that’s grown with “villain rappers” and it was really interesting to see that there were people who joined in on this even though the people are classified as villains while others were a part of the hero culture (and then those people without powers who want them restricted and watched simply because of the superhumans powers). We also learned about how the superhumans affected certain parts of the world (Mexico, China, the Middle East) but I would have loved to see how it affected other parts of the world as well, not just the really bad parts of the world in this series.

What I didn’t like: I had some big problems with some parts of the book. Astra at one point says “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.” and personally, I’m pretty sure that’s offensive to say. Just because you can’t tell the difference between those people doesn’t mean anything, because it sounds like you’re lumping all those people together. Jihād is an Arabic word meaning “struggle” or “resisting,”  which many Muslims use as a way of talking about their own and used in what we accept as a morally right way, but here in America it has taken on a severely negative and wrong connotation. So, not a good thing to say. Also, you have a band of extremist Muslim terrorists, Mexican cartel fighters, and angry Chinese who all have superpowers and they’ve banded together why exactly? I just felt like it was very inappropriate to have all of them make a group to take out America because it just felt forced, why would they even band together really? It just didn’t make much sense and seemed to have happened just to move the plot into a dramatic turn of events.

Overall Review: I really liked this book despite some of its misgivings, because it makes it seem realistic and gives a glimpse as to what would have happened had something like this happened. The world building is done very smoothly and creates a sense of what it would be like to be a superhuman in this age, and what it would be like to fight supervillains and just regular villains. Astra shows herself as a person who can make mistakes and learn from them throughout the story and she is a very well written heroine. The writing was very engaging in this book and I really liked it, I seriously can’t wait to read the next book in this series, Bite Me!

Recommend?: Definitely! It has a very interesting story and it was a book I never wanted to put down!

Goodreads: 3.9/5 Amazon: 4.4/5 Barnes&Noble: 3.9/5

My Rating: 4.4/5

Rated Materials:
Cover: 4.3
Idea: 4.2
Story: 4.5
Characters: 4.5

Bite Me

Bite Me: Big Easy Nights (Wearing the Cape #1.5)
Marion G. Harmon
Published: 27th September, 2012
CreateSpace
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Science Fiction
Age: Young Adult
From: Lola’s Blog Tours; Author

Summary:

It was supposed to be a working vacation…

For Jacky Bouchard (aka, Artemis: vampire, night-stalking dark avenger, and reluctant superhero), a trip to the Big Easy was a chance to solidify her new Bouchard identity, meet the grandmother she didn’t know she had, and do a favor for the New Orleans Police Department by helping them keep an eye on their local vampires.

Watching a bunch of fashion-obsessed goths with fangs should have been easy, but now she’s dressing in black and sleeping in a coffin even though living the whole Fiend of The Night stereotype makes her want to vomit. And for someone working undercover, she is getting attacked a lot.

When Jacky learns that a master vampire capable of siring progeny with his blood (an urban myth—vampires don’t reproduce that way) may be haunting New Orleans, she decides to go hunting. But the streets of the French Quarter are dangerous when you don’t know who is hunting you, and Jacky finds herself in trouble up to her neck and needing all the help she can get…

What I liked: I really liked Artemis’s character in book one, and so I was excited to read about her time in New Orleans, and see what happens to her while also wondering what she was doing in the city. It was a really easy book to get into, and I found myself captivated by the “underworld” Harmon wove into his books that has vampires and werewolves, and presumably many other types of mythical beings come to life because of the “breakthroughs” and the way they were explained in book one. I loved the feel of the city when Jacky goes out and talks about it, and the whole thing about vampires having courts of their own. I loved the culture and problems he set up that vampires would have, and it just all came together to make a really interesting book. Plus the ghost in the story, not really sure about that part since I’m not sure where it was going but it was rather entertaining to see how Jacky handled it. She also didn’t give in to the whole stereotype for vampires and it was entertaining to see her go about doing what she must in stereotypical vampire fashion while at the same time trying to get something done. Also, non-permanent death scenes were sorta entertaining for some reason.

What I didn’t like: The gun Jacky picked out. A Desert Eagle, really? From personal experience and from my friends/family who are former military and/or people who like shooting at gun ranges they aren’t a very good gun choice if you’re trying to shoot people. Not very accurate and kinda heavy and clunky for a gun, so poor quality.

Overall Review: This was a fun read, something that brings the reader closer to Jacky and who she really is while at the same time teaching us more about the world being steadily built. It was a refreshing look about how the breakthroughs truly work and how they can happen to a person, while at the same time we’re introduced to some very interesting side characters who play an important role in the story and the way it unfolds. There are some interesting points that are added to the story and it reads incredibly well, because I couldn’t put this one down either. I can’t wait to read Villains Inc.!

Recommend?: Yes! It’s a very engaging novel and you’ll love Jacky!

Goodreads: 3.8/5 Amazon: 4.3/5 Barnes& Noble: -/5

My Rating: 4.5/5

Rated Materials:
Cover: 4.5
Idea: 4.4
Story: 4.6
Characters: 4.5

Villains Inc.

Villains Inc. (Wearing the Cape #2)
Marion G. Harmon
Published: December 29th, 2011
CreateSpace
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Science Fiction
Age: Young Adult
From: Lola’s Blog Tours; Author

Summery:

Astra has finished her training and is now a full-fledged Sentinel, but things are not going well. She suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and the public revelation of her relationship with Atlas has caused her popularity to nose-dive.

To complicate things, the Teatime Anarchist’s intervention has changed the course of events–leaving her with lots of knowledge about the way the future was before the Big One, a complete future-history that is now out of date.

And just when she thinks she’s getting a handle on things, unfolding events (a bank-robbery and a horrific murder) show that one of the nastier pieces of the old future isn’t so out of date after all; unless she solves a murder before it happens, Blackstone is going to die.

What I liked: This story throws us for quite a few spins, and manages to still entertain and make me laugh at some of the strange things that happen (or at least smile). We also see how Astra deals with the negative backlash the media (and therefore many regular people) is giving her because of what happened between her and Atlas in book one, and has to also deal with media assumptions for her sudden costume change. Fame is such a fickle thing. Then there’s the new threat she’s faced with, trying to save Blackstone from dying. We learned lots about different characters and their origins, plus Hope makes some…well, interesting choices so I don’t really spoil anything but it made me question if the situation would end in the same way as book one. The pace is really nice and I really liked the action scenes, they always seem to be really well thought out and written wonderfully!

What I didn’t like: I wanted to know more about the team of villains we meet in this book, and I was also hoping for a little more character development out of Hope than I got. Or you know, some decisions that wouldn’t potentially end up like book one.

Overall Review: This was yet another entertaining read that I read as soon as I finished Bite Me, simply because I really love the world that Harmon has written. It is incredibly interesting to read about all the thing that happen to the characters, and how they go about to solve these problems while tackling other problems at the same time, like Godzilla-esque monsters (no I’m seriously not joking about that). Suffice to say that I really liked it and will continue on with Omega Nights.

Recommend?: Of course! This series hasn’t lost its touch yet and you should really read it!

Goodreads: 4/5 Amazon: 4.6/5 Barnes&Noble: -/5

My Rating: 4.6/5

Rated Materials:
Cover: 4.3
Idea: 4.6
Story: 4.8
Characters: 4.7

Omega Night

Omega Night (Wearing the Cape #2.5)
Marion G. Harmon
Published: 1st January, 2013
CreateSpace
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Science Fiction
Age: Young Adult
From: Lola’s Blog Tours; Author

Summary:

Astra, Hope Corrigan, has survived to see nineteen and is trying to balance her superhero career with school and a whiff of a social life. But the world is bigger than Chicago, and with a handful of other capes, she finds herself on a mission to save America.

Omega Night (Wearing the Cape) is a 5,000-word short story taking place between the events of Villains Inc. and Young Sentinels.

Thoughts: This is a very short, quick read that reads like a connecting thread between Villains Inc. and Young Sentinels, so while I would like to I feel like I can’t say too much about it without giving things away (and where’s the fun in that?). Suffice to say, it’s a nice read that I enjoyed, and really liked.

Need to read?: It might be a good idea because it gives you a little more insight about what may be coming up next. It’s a fun read though.

Goodreads: 3.9/5 Amazon: 4.2/5

Young Sentinels

Young Sentinels (Wearing the Cape #3)
Marion G. Harmon
Published: 25th August, 2013
CreateSpace
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Science Fiction
Age: Young Adult
From: Lola’s Blog Tours; Author

Summary:

The reward for a job well done is another job.

After the Sentinels’ takedown of the second incarnation of Villains Inc., things are relatively quiet in the great metropolis of Chicago. Astra, aka Hope Corrigan, is able to breathe a little, to hang out with her friends, and even to attend classes (where her professors are starting to think she is a myth). But Blackstone is loading more training and responsibilities on her, and converging events threaten the compromises she has made to balance her superhero career and student life and to protect her family and friends.

Worse, a new supervillain has come to town, and it will take all of Chicago’s capes to defeat the threat of the Green Man — if he can be defeated at all. When a new supervillain group begins targeting anti-superhuman groups, it becomes apparent that even the Sentinels are going to need help.

Because one thing is certain: Chicago is going to have a very bad day.

Small Town Heroes

Small Town Heroes (Wearing the Cape #4)
Marion G. Harmon
Published: 29th September, 2014
CreateSpace
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Science Fiction
Age: Young Adult
From: Lola’s Blog Tours; Author

Summary:

Astra has become one of the most popular Sentinels in Chicago, past scandals notwithstanding, and is now the team leader of the Young Sentinels. But on their first big solo outing, the new junior Sentinels fall into a new scandal—one which could cost them the team. And Astra has a dream visit from Kitsune, the odd shapeshifter-thief who precipitated the battle between the Sentinels and Villains Inc. the year before. The dream warns of a fresh disaster, in a town Astra has never seen before and that may not actually exist.

Astra’s efforts to find the town from her dream leads to her “recruitment” by the shadowy Department of Superhuman Affairs, and she leaves the team behind in Chicago to learn more about the DSA’s secrets than are good for her, face old enemies, and discover a little town called Littleton. Fortunately for Astra, “leaving the team” does not mean she’s on her own.

The Finale

I planned on doing regular reviews of the final two books, but so much happens that I really don’t want to give anything away (even slightly). The switching views that started in Young Sentinels was a bit startling at first, but I did like it because it gave us an expanded scope to work with. There were drawbacks to the books because of the amount of action sequences took away from seeing the characters just be people like before, but there is a huge twist that I’ve been waiting to see if it happens the entire series. Of course we had new threats of villains and some interesting new breakthroughs for new superhumans so that was fun as well.

Small Town Heroes brings out a whole new ballgame though, and brings Hope’s friends more into the mix than they were in earlier books. It’s a lot less action-y than previous books but brings back characters from the previous book and there’s still an interesting and engaging plot. The writing for both books is still as fantastic as ever, and managed to draw me back in very quickly.

They both feel like at least four star books, and could quite well fit nicely into the four and a half star category, so that’s what both these books get! That rounds out this series into basically an entirely four and a half star series (not bad!).

Young Sentinels: Goodreads: 4.1/5 Amazon: 4.5/5 Barnes&Noble: -/5

Small Town Heroes: Goodreads: 4.1/5 Amazon: 4.5/5 Barnes&Noble: -/5


Final Thoughts

Wearing the Cape is an incredibly addictive series that I just seriously could not put down! I read it from start to finish as quick as I could, devouring the first four parts of the series in one day! This series was beautifully written by an incredibly talented writer, and I seriously want everyone who’s ever dreamed about being a superhuman to read these immediately. I was never the biggest fan of comic book superheroes, but even then I couldn’t help but be sucked in by the world that Harmon has carefully weaved for us, never spilling out more about the world he built than necessary and always making me want to know more about the world that wasn’t being mentioned. While I’ve never heard of “Capepunk” as it seems to be called, I’m definitely thinking about reading some others in the sub-genre and will definitely be reading any of Harmon’s future novels for this series. The overall feel I have for this series though? I’d buy it in hardback in an instant. They’re just that good. However, I appear to have to settle with paperback copies (which is completely fine, making hardback copies has to be expensive). So, that’s what I’ll be doing very soon!

You can follow the rest of the tour for this series here!

Marion author picture

About the Author

Marion G. Harmon has read and written all of his life (well, ever since first grade). He finished his first novel, Wearing the Cape, in 2010, and after failing to find an agent who knew what to do with a superhero story, decided to self-publish (mainly so he’d stop rewriting the book). He published through KDP and Createspace in mid 2011 with some success; Wearing the Cape earned a 4.5 star Amazon rating and spent most of 2012 ranked #1 in its Amazon category.

Marion has since written four more novels set in the same world (Bite Me: Big Easy Nights, Villains Inc., Young Sentinels, and Small Town Heroes), astonished each time at the enthusiastic response of his readers. He is currently working hard on a sixth book, this one also featuring Astra and company, while polishing the plot of his deeply unserious space epic, Worst Contact. Really.

You can find and contact Marion here:

Series Website | Blog | Facebook | Goodreads

Advertisements

One response to “Wearing the Cape Series by Marion G. Harmon

  1. Pingback: 2014 End Of The Year Wrap-Up | Books and Ashes

Comments are always welcome and greatly accepted! Please comment as you please :)

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s