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Young Sentinels (Wearing the Cape Series Book 3) Kindle Edition
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Just finished it, after reading the first two in about a week and a half.
Mr Harmon, if you read this bring out the next soon!
I like the changing perspectives and the new characters introduced.
Though on an even bigger scale, it felt like a more personal story.
Would read the other first but would not miss this one either :)
cant wait to read the next!
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Wearing the Cape brings back Astra, and once again focuses on events in Chicago. This was a very nice change after the last book went to New Orleans and in my opinion tried too hard to play in the urban fantasy realm rather than stick with superheroes.
The returning characters remained the same fun group. So I found the story easy to get into and I definitely enjoyed the story.
HOWEVER, I nearly gave this book 3 stars. My love of the first 2 books, and the fact that I enjoyed seeing several characters return ended up with me at the 3.5-3.6 score range and I was willing to round up. The problems are not insurmountable, but they were considerable. Sadly, to explain them will require delving into the plot a little which I'll do a bit later in the review.
There was one other concern that caused me to nearly mark this down to 3 or even 2 stars. This story doesn't really end the plot thread. It's an introduction to several new characters as well as a way to mutate the purpose/position of a couple of other characters. This book is setup rather than the meat of the story. It's better at setup than some, but its still setup and at the ending I was left thinking that Marion could have done a lot more before publishing this story.
This story was difficult to give stars to because of that. In all honesty, the biggest feeling I had was that Marion rushed this story out to meet a deadline. And in doing so, he was unable to really develop the plot and consider what he was doing. The introductions to the new "Young Sentinels" was abbreviated and left two of them as mysteries. one is not much more than a name, a powerset and a very limited set of personal interactions. Only the two who play narrator give us much insight into who they are.
**** warning some might consider the rest of this to contain spoilers ****
And then I had 3 other concerns.
1) Marion has joined the legion of those writing superhero tales who can't stick with one main character. Marion had Astra start as the focal character, but later added Megaton and Grendel as narrative characters. This diluted the story, and in a couple cases ended up fogging up the plot threads. It was definitely intentional. I was willing to accept it for this story, but I hope he turns back to a single narrator character in future stories.
2) Power escalation abounds. This seems to be a popular trick with many authors who write superhero tales. In this case Marion introduces a villain who can enhance or depower characters. This is a cute plot twist, but after his skill in writing Wearing the Cape and Villains where the enemy was smart and crafty rather than just powerful, the escalation here seemed to eliminate much of the fun of the stories. The fight setups became beatdowns.
3) Teen angst and confusion. I don't mind a little angst. It happens, but here it seemed like Marion introduced some potential issues and characters just to give Astra reasons to go into angsty mental monologues. I absolutely hate these, and they did not add to the story. Some of the plot threads might add more in a future book, but I found that it really failed to make this story more interesting. It just made Astra seem far more immature than she should be after a year in the Sentinels.
TL & DR - Lovers of the first two books will enjoy seeing Astra return and will likely love the new villains, characters and plot twists. However, this story is not as good as the first two books and I felt that Marion rushed the writing of this, which limited the plot and character development.
There are a lot of new crises — a new villain called the Green Man periodically tries to destroy the city with out-of-control plant life, and a new villain group called the Wreckers are targeting anti-metahuman organizations. And there are lots of changes in store for Astra, too — chiefly, she’s being put in charge of a new junior branch of the Sentinels.
And that means we get to meet a bunch of new young superheroes, including angsty exploding kid Megaton, shapeshifting teen monster Grendel, arrogant aerokinetic Tsuris, and Ozma, a magic user who claims to be the actual Empress of Oz. Can Astra mold them into a serious team, especially with the colossal personal changes going on in her life?
The characterization and dialogue are first-rate. The personalities of almost every character are incredibly strong and distinctive, and most of them are charismatic enough that you want to read more about them. When things are going well for them, you want to celebrate — when things are not going well, you wanna commiserate with them. When they’re in danger, you get worried about ’em, because they all feel like real people.
The action is fantastic, too — it always feels desperate, painful, panicked, and exciting, and that’s really perfect for this series. Superhero action should be above and beyond anything in any other genre, and the action in the “Wearing the Cape” series is breathtakingly great. And it’s not just the superheroic crises and disasters — the personal crises that come up genuinely feel like crises, too. When an injury to a sibling feels just as terrifying as a wave of killer vegetation preparing to destroy Chicago O’Hare International Airport, you’ve definitely got the Superhero Angst-and-Crisis Meter pegged in the right direction.
Maybe my favorite thing about this series is that it’s realistic without being boring or depressing. There are a lot of superhero stories that opt for realism that kills the superheroic mood and turns into gritty military sci-fi, but Harmon realizes that you can have realism in superhero fiction as long as you give your story permission to ignore realism and just let superheroes testify in court while wearing masks, let superheroes get into super-fights without killing everyone, let fictional magic items from Oz show up and work just like they did in Baum’s novels. These books are realistic and fun, and we need more of those, in every possible genre.
This is a seriously fantastic novel. If you haven’t read it — or if you want to get it for a friend who enjoys superhero novels — you should definitely pick it up.