Saturday, May 24, 2014

Early Review: Sidekick by Auralee Wallace

Release Date: June 1, 2014
Publisher: Escape Publishing
Source: NetGalley
Author Links: Twitter | Goodreads

Bremy St James, daughter of billionaire Atticus St James, has been cut off from the family fortune and is struggling to survive in a world that no longer holds its breath every time she buys a new outfit. To make matters worse, her twin sister is keeping secrets, loan sharks are circling, and the man of her dreams — a newspaper reporter — is on assignment to bring down everyone with the last name St James.
Things are certainly looking bleak for the down-and-out socialite until a good deed throws her into the path of the city’s top crime-fighter, Dark Ryder. Suddenly, Bremy has a new goal: apprentice to a superhero, and start her own crime-fighting career.
Ryder has no need for a sidekick, but it turns out the city needs Bremy’s help. Atticus St James is planning the crime of the century, and Bremy may be the only one able to get close enough to her father to stop him.
Now all she needs to do is figure out this superhero thing in less than a month, keep her identity secret from the man who could very well be The One, and save the city from total annihilation.
Well, no one ever said being a superhero would be easy...

Comic books and young adult novels. 
For me, it was like someone reached into my head, pulled out my two favorite genres, and spun them into one book! Now, will this necessarily resonate with everyone? 
But if you do enjoy comic books (or even just the movies about them) you'll probably get a kick out of this.
Kick...get it? Sidekick?!
Although, you should probably also know that there are no super-powered heroes in this thing. Sidekick is all about Batman-style crime fighting. Skill and gadgets, baby!
It's not a Batman rip-off, but it  does seem to draw heavily on that sort of character. Dark Ryder is the female version of the Dark Knight, what with all the brooding and skulking in the shadows. And Bremy reminds me of a Dick Grayson sort of character who can't shut up to save her life.
But the book itself is neither dark nor brooding. And while Ryder might belong in a Christopher Nolan film, Bremy firmly belongs next to Adam West.
It's a pretty lighthearted look at crime fighting in tights. 
Because Bremy is a tad silly sometimes.
Ok. Most of the time.
In fact, she should have been dead about a hundred times before I closed the book. But that didn't stop me from enjoying the story, because from the beginning the author set the right tone. If you get past the first page without knowing that this is a tongue-in-cheek sort of tale, then you weren't reading it right.
Suspend disbelief and go with the flow!
Maybe I'm saying this wrong.
The story isn't stupid. It's cute, fast-paced, fun, and humorous. It's a YA superhero story!

Bremy was a socialite who had a falling out with her father, and now she's living off the grid in some scummy neighborhood. When the story starts, she's being threatened by her friendly neighborhood slumlord. Her choices are to either come up with the rent, loose life and/or limb...or go to work at a place called the Pink Beaver.
Not exactly a dream job, you know?
My husband literally has nightmares about this sort of thing. It's hilarious. He'll wake up in a cold sweat mumbling something about keeping his Princesses 'Off the Pole'.
Me: You have that dream again?
Him: Yep.
Me: You gotta stop watching those stupid documentaries before you go to bed. You're a great Dad! The girls will turn out just fine, I swear.
Him: Men are scum. I  don't want any of the filthy disgusting bastards to ever touch my babies.
Me: Don't worry, Hon. I'm sure the girls will get treated with the same respect and kindness that you showed to all the women you ever dated!
*smiles evilly in the dark*
Him: *quietly sobs himself to sleep*

Hoping a career at the Beaver isn't in her future, Bremy decides to go ahead and drain her finances. While she's at the bank trying to scrape together her last bit of money, a crazy group of robbers rolls through the door. Circus themed robbers. And yes, they have a scary clown.

Turns out, Bremy is quite a bit more brave than she originally thought. It doesn't really help her stop the bank robbers, though.
It seems bravery doesn't necessarily translate into skill...
And through a series of unfortunate events, she accidentally gets in the way of Dark Ryder while she was trying to apprehend the bad guys. Of course, Bremy was just trying to help, but Ryder is less than enthused with her. However, she's nothing if not persistent, and eventually ends up convincing Dark Ryder to let her 'audition' to be her Sidekick.
You get the feeling that Ryder is only letting her do this in order to keep her out of the way...

Along the way, Bremy finds a few friends that help her, and even a reporter to fall in love with. The side characters really add a lot the story, and Wallace did a good job making them funny and interesting. Bremy's father makes a good evil villain, and finding out what he did to make Bremy run was an intriguing side-story. Her twin's involvement in everything was another fun mystery, even though it wasn't really sorted out at the end.

Speaking of, the ending was a little anti-climactic, but even the main character mentions this, so I think it was meant to be that way. I don't see any other books in the works yet, but the ending begs for a sequel.
It's wasn't perfect, but for a debut novel it was pretty damn good.
And there better be a sequel!


Jessica Haluska said...

I have to read this too, Anne. I was already looking forward to it b/c superheroes, and even with an absence of super powers, I'm still excited b/c BATMAN. I haven't read comics since I was a kid, but comic book movies are still my favorite (I know, I'm a poser. Somehow I can still stand the sight of myself though ;) ).

Great review--I'm going to have to break my rereading-binge for an arc soon, and I'm thinking this is the one . . .


Stay back, Poser! Kidding. I thought it was super-cute, and I think you'll like it.

Melissa (My words and pages) said...

Haha! This sounds awesome! :D I'm going to have to keep an eye out for it. :) Thank you!

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