5 star reviews / Book Reviews

Review: Who Killed the Great Capes of Heropa? by Andrez Bergen

Bullet Gal_by JGMiranda_HEROPA

Bullet Gal by JGMiranda

I’ve been in the delectably wonderful center of a reading storm. I refused to function within society for two weeks as I devoured one book after another. I believe I read about eight books in that time. They’ve all been so good that I feel a bit like a book-gollum. They’re my precious. Mine…..

But I’ll share. Because I’m so awesome.

This story was the type of story you didn’t know you loved until you finished it. The power of it seeps from your toes  all the way to your hair, spreading it’s fingers into your mind. Insinuating thoughts, like which homeless person will give me the first password and will I be able to answer it correctly. Or how would I design myself as a hero and what power can I have.

“Who Killed the Great Capes of Heropa?” is a fusion of noir, heroes, romance, science fiction, and dystiopia. I suppose it’s the distant future of Melbourne. Our main hero Jack, a young poor boy, finds himself ushered into a shady building via a network of comic book passwords, to be strapped in and whisked into Heropa. Almost sounds like a comic book-wonderland-express…

Heropa is a city set in a 1960s/golden/silver age of comics. It’s inhabited by Capes (the super heroes-Equalizers), the villains ( The League of Unmitigated Rotters), and every day citizens that reside in Heropa.

Jack lands in Heropa as the Southern Cross. He meets Stan the Doorman (wink wink) who introduces him to my absolute favorite Capes EVER: Brick–a self explanatory nam– and Pretty Amazonia–a tall, pretty sailor moon/anime magic girl mixture who’s super fast.   Brick and Pretty Amazonia are the core of why I love this story so much. Once  they popped out from the page, they remained popped and have been sitting on my shoulders ever since. The wit, the heart, the strength, the weakness, the power of these two solidified this story for me. They’re so awesome.

So Jack a.k.a. Southern Cross, Brick, and Pretty Amazonia make up the Equalizers. As they travel around Heropa, they do their regular battle-fights against the villains. Except other heroes in Heropa are dying. Permanently. Not just in the alternative reality of Heropa but also in reality. Dead.

So begins the great mystery plot of the novel. A mystery so well done that I honestly did not see it coming. I was so wrapped up with Jack and his heartache that I was oblivious to the clues.

Oh what’s Jack’s heartache? He begins to fall for one of the citizens. A frowned upon rule breaker. The citizens of Heropa aren’t real. They’re just like NPCs (for the non-gamers: NPC= non-player character; a background character of the game). Having a relationship with a citizen is also pointless since Heropa goes through a reset every 24 hours–so all the damage caused by the explosions is magically gone, the people forget what happened, and the game plays on.

Southern Cross_by Paul Mason_HEROPA

Southern Cross by Paul Mason

Except now the citizens are remembering what happened the day before. Jack also realizes that these citizens are consciously aware, and they hate capes.

On a side notes, for any Guild fans out there, this really reminds me of  Zaboo and the mermaid NPC. Yup.  If you ladies have not caught the Guild, then go check it out on geekandsundry.com. It’s hi-la-ri-ous.

I can’t give out anymore info, I just can’t! It’s such an engrossing read. Even though the beginning is a bit jarring with a Cape mid moments before her death then right onto Southern Cross into Heropa, it all makes sense later on. The story is set up in fragments of the reality, alternate reality, past, present, different speakers. With a little bit of mind muscle, you get used to it.

The romance in this story is substantial. There are some sexy times, but I felt a bit sad as I read those. You could almost sense some foreboding in the cuddling. It’s Jack’s love for the banker lady that is so strong and beautiful. I want to say so much more, but it’ll ruin the story. Just know that I was sniffling then gasping. That’s all I’ll say to that.

There is a hefty supply of comic book references. I am by no means an expert so I can comfortably say that you still get the jokes.  The references are explained in exposition but in a way that made me google them up later. For once, I am a bit curious about that age in comics. I usually shy away from it because it’s so dense and the fandom is irritating-know-it-all. Bergen is definitely a know-it-all of comics but this story is done in a endearing, passionate fanboy way. Plus, he was super amazing in putting a list of comic references in the back.

Pretty Amazonia_Juan Saavedra

Pretty Amazonia by Juan Saavedra

Sprinkled between the pages, the artwork is phenomenal. For me, the art of the comic has to draw me in before I will waste my energy on the story. If the art is ugly then it distracts me from the word bubbles. The art for Heropa was amazing and I had to add it. Check out the character art for Southern Cross and Pretty Amazonia!

My only gripe with the story is how many loose ends I was left with. So many details I was curious about. Like what was the point of plugging all these people into Heropa? That’s a lot of power and maintenance care in the real world. Was happened after the story ends. Did they all continue saving Heropa? Did you get to choose to be a villain or a cape? I wonder if this is part of an ongoing series or hopes to be one. Either way, I want to know why…my curiosity must be appeased!!!

There were rules in choosing a hero’s power in Heropa, as in you couldn’t get the power to fly or be indestructible. If I was able to pass the password chain, then I would call myself the Tailed Terror and have the ability to animorph (if you get that reference then your awesome). And heck yeah I would be a villain.

This novel is not  out until September 2013!!!! So hold on to your capes!!

HeropaLength: Novel

Genre: Dystopian, pulp/science fiction

Primary Book Format: Paperback

Publisher/Imprint: Perfect Edge (September 27, 2013)

Blush Quotient: Sigh with a wisp of pink

Smart Girls Rating:  5 stars

Can preorder it here: Amazon

Find out more info about the author and series here.

(Disclaimer: This book was provided by the publisher/authors in exchange for an honest review.)

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5 thoughts on “Review: Who Killed the Great Capes of Heropa? by Andrez Bergen

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