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Who is Killing the Great Capes of Heropa? by [Bergen, Andrez]
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Who is Killing the Great Capes of Heropa? Kindle Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Length: 474 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Product description

About the Author

Andrez Bergen is an expatriate Australian author, journalist, DJ, photographer and musician, based in Tokyo, Japan, over the past eleven years.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 6880 KB
  • Print Length: 474 pages
  • Publisher: Perfect Edge (27 Sept. 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00EPQ7YQ8
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #655,874 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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All the while I was reading this, I was thinking about Watchmen, and Who is Killing the Great Capes of Heropa rather suffers from that comparison. It covers very similar territory, just with a bit more 40s influence (the hardboiled noir elements). As much as I liked the premise, the characters were too shallowly drawn for me to start caring about them, and by half way through, my attention was starting to flag.
This isn't a bad book, just not anywhere near as good as it could have been.
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Format: Paperback
One by one, the superheroes that protect the city of Heropa are falling. Assassinations, apparent accidents, sabotage, a myriad of incidents have one thing in common: a cape - a superhero - is dead. Trouble is, that's against the rules. Everybody knows heroes can't die.

Meanwhile, in the real world...

Andrez Bergen steers us carefully through the layered reality of an Australian dystopic future mixed into a fantasy comic book past. Equal parts Stan Lee and Raymond Chandler, with Gibsonesque twirlings, this story could easily get away from a writer. But, lacking the visual framework of the comic books that it draws on for its own legends, Bergen eschews the grandstanding and instead focuses on the characters. The novel is full of empathy and emotion. After all, when you're not sure how real your world or your fate is, what else have got to rely on except your own sense of self, of right and wrong, love and hate, friendship and enmity? And of course, your chosen superpower.

Not that you have to be into comic books to enjoy this. Comics have always been more incidental in my life than a mainstay, and yet I still got most of the references, or at least understood them. Superhero fans certainly will enjoy it, but there's as much mystery, intrigue, and romance as there is action. And Bergen does a great job in not only bringing the world to life, but also in toying with the conventions of pulp and comic book lore. When we do find ourselves out in the 'real world' it is insufferably grim and forbidding, neatly contrasted to the shiny newness of Heropa, where whole city blocks can be destroyed and repaired over night - in true comic book fashion, consequences never last longer than a story arc. At least, not when things are working right.
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Format: Paperback
Andrez Bergen is an interesting cat. His first three books, in many ways, are very different from one another. One's a classic detective fiction dystopia mash up; the next is an exploration into the nether regions of the afterlife; and his most recent, Who Is Killing the Great Capes of Heropa?, is an homage to comic books and draws from the work of Philip K. Dick.

Actually, homage isn't really what's going on here--it's almost an investigation of the assumptions comic books are based on. You see, Heropa is a futuristic virtual reality set up with super heroes, villains, and blandos (all the people who super heroes save). The world has become such a terrible place that people have totally given up on it and they journey to Heropa mentally, if not physically. Heropa is a fundamentally (and mechanically) broken place, where the super heroes and the blandos resent each other and everything seems to be falling apart.

Bergen uses this premise as a vehicle to poke at a bunch of interesting questions: What does being a super hero mean? Would a world with super heroes be better or worse? What about all those people who the super heroes "save"? Are they real people or just objects? Can virtual reality be as important as reality?

And this is what I dig about Bergen's work in general--he takes entertaining plots and characters and uses them to explore deeper issues. Yet he's never didactic or navel-gazing; he walks the tight rope expertly.

After three books, it's clear that Bergen doesn't confine himself to one genre. In fact, he prefers to mix and blend genres with gleeful abandon. Yet there is consistency. He creates some of the most wildly imaginative places you will ever encounter in fiction. He has perfect pitch for witty dialog and cultural references.
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Format: Paperback
So...the bold and wonderful Mr Bergen has been allowed yet again to give free range to his awesome creativity. One would think that after producing two of the most awe-inspiring novels of the last year or so that he'd be quite happy to rest his little Aussie shoulders and wander peacefully under the cherry blossom trees of Tokyo..but no, obviously he just can't help it. Thank goodness! What has he come up with - you guessed it - another totally different and yet related novel; WHO IS KILLING THE GREAT CAPES OF HEROPA?
From the moment I first plunged into that Tobacco Stained Mountain Goat, I have been challenged and rewarded in equal measure by Bergen. You see, I'm not his typical reader, not his target market, so actually, I shouldn't even be reading his books. Thankfully though, Bergen's irresistible Aussie charm and those crazy titles tempted me to give his books a go. I'm not a film buff and I know very little about the comic scene, gold, silver or bronze (whatever that means) so dodging all the references and nods to a plethora of nostalgic characters sometimes does nothing more than confuse me. "So why do you love his books?" I hear you roar. Easy-peasy...Bergen's writing is nothing short of brilliant, his characters demand to be loved and I always end up an emotional wreck by the end.
WHO IS KILLING THE GREAT CAPES OF HEROPA? is as expected a huge accomplishment; a dystopian virtual world populated by a surfeit of heroic characters fighting off the baddies to maintain the equilibrium of their imaginary society. I know, that all sound a bit crazy.
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