Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Wearing the Cape by Marion G. Harmon (Quote Breakdown Review)

Wearing the Cape by Marion G. Harmon
Series: Wearing the Cape #1
Genre: Sci-Fi
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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. Hope’s life is further complicated when the supervillain responsible for the Ashland Bombing takes an interest in her. Apparently as Astra, Hope is supposed to save the world. (This novella contains the first 13 chapters of "Wearing the Cape".)

This is a review of the free 96 page ebook available at Amazon. That, unbeknownst to me at the time, is not a novella or anything resembling a self-contained story, but the first 13 chapters of the book proper. (I had thought I was getting a full story at the time I downloaded it - when I realized I wasn't I thought I might as well read it. If it turned out amazing, I could just buy the full version and pick up where I left off. Yeah…)

I seem doomed to find superpower stories that aren't even close to what I want to read. I was predisposed to like the book, but within the first chapter, I could already tell I wouldn't. But, in an effort to give books more of a chance, I pushed on. (Trying to ignore the first 'action' scene where I couldn't figure out what the hell was going on.) I was following my 'rule' to read the first fifty pages before calling it quits, but by that point I would have read over half this sample so I forced myself through it.

And it was a slog, let me tell you. (I blame it for my migraine.)

I hadn't grown an inch since my debutante ball and was always being told I could use a milkshake.

Seriously, my first thought when I read that statement was 'what era is this?' Then I realized that this is probably supposed to be some upper-crust, fabulously wealthy young miss. Whose father seems to work on site in construction?

"…worry about A-class Black Hats…"

lol 'Black Hat' like on those old westerns. Who would even call supervillains that?

"Where did all the muscles go? They're sculpted into the suit; not that I don't keep a six pack, but muscle mass has nothing to do with what we are - it's just what people expect."

I both love this, and think this guy couldn't let a moment pass without assuring us - and the teen girl by default - that he does indeed have a six pack. Honestly, it would be such a travesty if he didn't.

Dad worked on it [the house] for years but all of us helped, and we still spend a few days together each summer repainting the trim.

So, the girl that had a debutante ball also helped remodel their house? The parents of the girl that had a debutante ball worked for years remodeling their house? Maybe my preconceived notions are wrong and there is a whole culture of rich people that go around fixing up their house. I've never come across one though. (But, really, this girl needs to be an all or nothing sort for me: either rich as sin and acts it with servants to wait on her every whim, or the sort of girl that helped fix up the house because there's no way that the family could afford to hire it done - or afford such a nice house and other way.)

…I played field hockey in high school…

Of course she did. The little five foot nothing, 97 pounds soaking wet deb played field hockey. -.- (Okay, so I don't know that's what she is, but she talks about how little she is and field hockey is a contact sport.)

Mom had enrolled me in a self-defense course when I turned sixteen, but small is small; the best I could reasonably do in a real fight was kick the Bad Guy in the knee and run like hell while he hopped on the other leg.

What is this? I don't even know. If that's all she can 'reasonably do' in whatever the hell a 'real fight' is, then she must either be the worst learner of self-defense ever or had the suckiest instructor imaginable. Even a small woman skilled in martial arts can take down an opponent larger than her if he's unskilled. (And, face it, most thugs are.) Ever heard of Judo? Using your opponent's size against them? Ring a bell?

And self-defense is formulated more to use for small women on large men and to target their weaknesses. When I was taking Tae Kwan Do, my instructor did a feature class teaching the women self-defense. He taught us things like using car keys as weapons and about that soft part of the neck that you can jam a middle finger into and force the assailant out of the way. And, besides, if you can kick a knee, aim for the crotch. It'll do a lot more damage and last a lot longer.

Who even uses the term major-domo any more?

When he opened the door and ushered us into "my" apartment I stopped and stared, momentarily distracted from my misery by shock at the luxury of my jail.

A 'jail' huh? Poor girl, her family's wealthy, she just discovered she has superpowers - and some of the coolest imaginable - and she's upset because the other 'capes' have taken her into their headquarters, to train her, and - oh, the horror - she will have to be incognito in public for a while. Bad simile. Or analogy. Or whatever. She's got it so bad in this 'jail.' Ungrateful brat.

The vest hugged my small waist and hid inserts that changed my immature bust to a more grown up one[…]

Oh, for pities sake! That's just what the eighteen year old 'pixie' needs - a less immature bust. Cripes. (And I'm officially squicked out because this is written by a man.)

Taken all together it seemed to hide nothing and exaggerate nothing[…]

So… the breast inserts don't exaggerate your 'immature bust' and make it 'more grown up?'

"I still get mistaken for a middle-schooler[…]"

So, we give a girl that looks like she's fourteen inserts to make her breasts bigger? Lovely.

The costume didn't have the "do me" look that modish super heroines were adopting[…]

Bitch. Sorry, but she really is. She really couldn't come up with a better way to describe it? Really?

"It's true that new ivory is comparatively rare[…]"

Uhm, maybe because there shouldn't even be 'new' ivory. Entitled brat.

"Too much knowledge rots the brain."

I don't know if this is good or bad, but I take offence. Then again, by this point I'd take offense at a sneeze.

As a few parishioners shifted in their own seats he praised the jade sculpture, which he called Mary of the Pagans, and went on to suggest that, as love is the primary attribute of God, so a statue of a foreign goddess of love and mercy is also an image of God.

I'm not sure what bothers me the most with this sentence; the general racism and cultural appropriation - or the fact that this smacks of blasphemy.

Thankfully enough, this sample ended before I got to deal with that infamous 'I can recognize a Jihadi anywhere' quote from that main girl.

I did find the world building curious. It is definitely something I would have wanted to learn more about. Besides that, there were excerpts at the beginning of each chapter that I found mostly interesting - I say mostly because the one's that were excerpted from the main girls 'journal' or records or whatever, were rubbish.

Also, there was the curious introduction of time travel and the time traveler brought to the forefront the plot I love when it comes to supes and espers. I would have rather followed the time traveler.