Book Reviews

The BackUp Superhero: Book One in the BackUp Superhero Series

Becoming a superhero isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be. Let’s be realistic, people don’t have super-powers. But if you have enough determination to make it through training, you have a chance to be the modern-day superhero, stopping one criminal at a time…or doing everyone else’s job and getting none of the credit. After Tanser Girl comes to terms with her non-celebrity level status in the superhero world, someone else from Level D decides it’s their moment to shine, shaking up the entire system, while leaving her to pick up the pieces.

As anybody who has ever met me can attest, I like superheroes. I like superheroes a lot. Over the years, you could probably say that I have read too many superhero stories, though personally, I would say there’s no such thing. So it stands to reason The BackUp Superhero would grab my attention.

The BackUp Superhero is a brief story; a novella about Tanser Girl, a superhero in a world where superheroes have no superpowers, just plenty of training, Batman style. After superheroes started appearing, to reassure the public they are more than simply vigilantes, they fall under the jurisdiction of the Superhero League Board. All superheroes are ranked by their level of importance: Level A are the top-level superheroes, those who get the credit for solving crimes, front the media, and are the shining examples of heroism to the community. Level B heroes are the sidekicks, assisting the level A heroes; Level C are the back-up sidekicks. And finally, we have the Level D heroes, responsible for the grunt work when nobody else is available, who need to stay out of the public eye.

As you can probably guess from the book’s title, Tanser Girl is a Level D superhero. When fellow Level D-er, Dwighter, appears on television, taking credit for his actions, it leads to all sorts of trouble for him that Tanser Girl gets caught up in, building to a conspiracy she must stop. It’s a fun hook that unfolds nicely through the course of the book.

At only 66 pages in paperback (or an estimated 68 pages on Kindle), I couldn’t help but wish there was more space to flesh the characters and world out. As entertaining a story as author Kayla Hicks tells, this length doesn’t give it room to breathe. More space would have added additional depth to the world and the surrounding mystery, and would have helped the climax that felt like it wrapped up too quickly and easily.

Another casualty of this novella’s length is its cast of characters. Tanser Girl prefers to go by the book and is a staunch believer in following the rules. Dwighter is irresponsible, particularly in relation to his excessive drinking. Frank, the grumpy but kindly owner of the Heroes Cave bar sees and hears everything, but surely knows more than he lets on. Goffman is the apex of superheroism that the others aspire to be, but there is another side to him (which I won’t reveal for fear of spoiling it). While these characters are all engaging, the novella’s length doesn’t allow for any of these characters to grow past their archetypes.

With The BackUp Superhero being the first book in a series, there is obviously more story to be told in its subsequent entries, which will provide additional space to deepen the world and its cast as it continues to move Tanser Girl’s story forward and into new territory. The BackUp Superhero leaves a lot to be resolved in subsequent entries, resulting in it feeling very much like the first chapter of an ongoing story. While this may frustrate readers who prefer to read stories that feel complete without having to read the next book, the serialised nature Hicks uses mirrors the ongoing superhero comic books, where there is always more to come.

Throughout The BackUp Superhero, Hicks writes in an engaging style, and throughout this novella, she uses her voice to invite the reader to enjoy the story. It’s a lighthearted romp that brings the reader along with plenty of nudges and winks along the way. The story, action and drama are inoffensive, being suitable for readers of most ages and sensibilities. This is a fun book that knows it’s fun as it brings the reader along, determined to put a smile on their face.

The BackUp Superhero is a light story that knows how to entertain the reader. While I would have preferred it to be expanded into a full-length novel which could have added more depth to the characters and world, it remains a fun tale that serves as the first part of a continuing adventure.

Favourite Passage

If creeping down a dark abandoned alley in the middle of the night wasn’t terrible, trying not to scream while rats clambered over your feet was even worse.

The BackUp Superhero: Book One in the BackUp Superhero Series, Chapter 6: “Something’s Fishy”

The BackUp Superhero: Book One in the BackUp Superhero Series was purchased for the purpose of an honest review.

The BackUp Superhero is available in paperback and on Kindle, exclusive to Amazon).

You can follow Kayla Hicks online, via:

Note: I do not post scores on reviews on this website, but do post them on my Amazon and Goodreads reviews:

Interested in purchasing The BackUp Superhero?

Why not get it from Amazon, via the handy link below? Please note, not only will you be supporting the author, you may also be supporting me by way of a small commission from any items purchased (and no, it won’t cost you anything extra!).

The Backup Superhero: Book One in The Backup Superhero Series

Leave a Reply

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

You are commenting using your 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 )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: