Cover Image: Under The Cape

Under The Cape

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Member Reviews

Superheroes and sex - two big topics in today's market.  I've read a number of superhero-related books in the past couple of years, but never one specifically one looking at erotic/sometimes-graphic sexual scenarios, but, why not?  I would think this is the perfect time for a book like this. This particular book is a collection of short fiction and like nearly every anthology I've ever read, there are some stories here that i liked, some I didn't, and some that were fairly average.

The first of three that stood out in a positive light was "Time for No Mercy" by Elizabeth Schechter. I liked the look at politics and political correctness, but I also liked the science and the idea of developing a widespread morning-after type spray that would allow women to not get pregnant any time they didn't want to, and here the hero was trying to stop it.  This was well written and thoughtful and it really had me thinking afterward.

Next was "No Words Needed" by David T. Valentin in which a young man can't decide what's caught his attention the most - that he has superpowers he's only just discovered, or that the guy he likes happens to like him back. This was well-written and tasteful.

And finally, by the editor of the anthology, Rachel Kenley, we have "Just Be Yourself."  This was probably the best written story here. The 'romance' is dialed up a notch - in fact gets pretty graphic.  But unlike a lot of erotica, where the sex drives a meager plot, this is definitely plot-driven with some steamy sex.  And I chuckled at the sentence: "She had a moment to wish her underwear was sexier, then decided it didn’t matter because she wouldn’t be wearing it much longer."

On the negative end I'd start with "Swiftly in Love" by Stella B. James. I don't even want to go into it.  This was just a big 'no' for me.

"The Little Push" by Christopher Peruzzi was also at the bottom.  the story, the writing, the characters ... nothing clicked.

The rest were quite average.  Nothing was interesting enough that I wanted to read more by any particular author (other than Rachel Kenley).  For an anthology, especially one with only a dozen or so stories, average is about what I would expect.

This anthology includes:

Introduction by Rachel Kenley
"Flying Fast, Falling Hard" by Kim Strattford
"Where There's Smoke" by E.D. Gonzalez
"Trust Paradox" by Naomi Hinchen
"Time for No Mercy" by Elizabeth Schechter
"No Words Needed" by David T. Valentin
"Swiftly in Love" by Stella B. James
"Supergay" by Julie Behrens
"The Little Push" by Christopher Peruzzi
"Foolproof" by Louisa Bacio
"Just Be Yourself" by Rachel Kenley
"Love, Law, and the Whippoorwill" by Austin Worley
Author Bios

Looking for a good book? The anthology, Under the Cape, edited by Rachel Kenley is a pretty average collection of short fiction featuring superheroes and romance/erotica.

I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
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Under the Cape, was a very interesting mix of quick superhero love/ sex stories. When I say quick, I mean quick. I have read books like these before and enjoyed them. Most of these stories just got right to the sex part and gave almost zero story lines. I liked Trust the Paradox, No Time for Mercy, and Swiftly in love the best out of all of them.
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trigger warning
 suicide, misogyny, rape, victim blaming, trauma 

They have the most amazing tech, they can fly, shoot fireballs from their hands, and have dedicated their life to justice: Superheroes. But what about their private lifes, their relationships? 
This anthology explores different scenarios of how that might look like.

We have hetero and gay relationships sorted in two categories: Sweet and all in.
Or in other words: I forgot that romance books often include sex scenes. Again. Maybe, some day, this ace person will remember this when picking up a book.

Most of the short stories are pretty much what you'd expect: People on a mission, maybe falling in love with work mates, maybe with the enemy, maybe with a totally random person they once met. I  liked those stories best that played with the readers expectations, twisted the tropes.

I'd been hoping for more trans and non binary rep, as far as I am aware there was only one side character who used they/them pronouns.

I liked the premise, but not the execution, but it may be that this is a mood thing.
There was nothing obviously bad about this, I just didn't vibe with it.

I recieved a copy of this book in exchange for a honest review.
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Who are superheroes outside of work? What challenges do they face and who do they go home to? If you've ever asked these types of questions, this book is for you. Each short story focuses on a pair or more of superheroes and their passion and love partners. There are some unconventional romances and some that are old fashioned, boy meets girl. This was a good book. Funny and memorable.
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The collected "Under the Cape" is a series of short stories that revolve around a fresh fleet of meta-humans and heroes in love. The pitch at first glance is strong, it's presenting a concept that should work. We know that Marvel and DC have built strong comics universes built on the mix of action, adventure, escapism, and romance that superhero tales have. Yet, the collection suffers from a lack of density. Due to the nature of the format, none of the stories really have time to breathe and flesh out the sketches within. Any one of these would be a strong pitch for a larger story, but the world-building involved in a new type of hero story needed to be given time to take shape. 

The strongest stories in the series, "Where There's Smoke" by E.D. Gonzalez and editor Rachel Kenley's "Just Be Yourself" worked so well because they relied more heavily on character development than heroics. There are moments of fun and "what if" that show that this type of collection can work if only every piece found that alchemy.
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The first few stories were good, and then I hit a couple in a row I didn't like at all and struggled through, and then I started DNFing stories when they weren't great and never did come across another one I liked. Pretty sure they put the good ones at the front to lure you in and the rest was just kind of crappy - either not great writing, unlikable leads, or both. A bunch of the leads were just outright misogynistic assholes, and no thank you to that. I liked 5 of the 11 stories, but sadly the stories I didn't like were the really long ones in the back half of the book.

Flying Fast, Falling Hard - Cute and I really liked it. The focus was more on their relationship and their superhero-ness was more background noise. 4 stars.

Where There's Smoke - Also cute, even if I have to agree with Smoke about Damager's name. 4 stars

Trust Paradox - Interesting insight into the development of trust for a superhero to reveal their identity, and needing a certain amount of trust also being a greater risk at breaking that trust. 5 stars

Time for No Mercy - MWAHAHAHAHA I love this one, and this is what I was looking for when I picked up this book. 5 stars and my favorite story of the book.

No Words Needed - Uh, whut? Didn't care for this one very much, it just didn't draw me in and wasn't exciting or very interesting. 2 stars

Swiftly in Love - Gross, misogynistic asshole lead. No thanks. 1 star

Supergay - Yessssss for some anti-hero badassery! Love it. 4 stars

The Little Push - Again, guy feels threatened by a woman superhero daring to come on the scene. After "Swiftly in Love" I just was not here for it and DNF'd this one. DNF

Foolproof - This was just too hard to read, as it's told in the first person past tense and switches between the leads (I think?) with no indication on whose POV it is now. DNF'd because at this point I'm just sort of over this book as a whole, but I might have had more patience for this one if I hadn't just struggled to get through "The Little Push." DNF

Just Be Yourself and Law, Love and the Whippoorwill - I didn't even bother to read this, I was just burnt out from the previous two stories I barely skimmed them enough to decide I probably wasn't missing out on much.
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This is a Anthology of Superhero Romance. This book was a easy afternoon read.  It has eleven stories that range from sweet to hot. Each story is different and it shows the murky line between good and evil in the stories. 

If you like your superhero’s and the added sprinkle of romance that I recommended this book for you. 

I liked the declaration at the front of the book to all the heroes who out there in the COVID-19 pandemic. These people are heroes and should never be forgotten. 

I received a ARC from Netgalley and Riverdale Avenue Books for an objection review.
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This book was really fun! It's a collection of short stories that are all about superheros and their romantic lives. They range from sweet to sexy, so there's really something for everyone. As you might expect from a collection with 11 different stories, I enjoyed some of them more than others. The first story had a lot of mansplaining from the hero, which was not at all appealing to me, but the other stories were much better. I most enjoyed the stories that provided some social commentary about what's currently going on in our world and explored what it really means to be good and evil and the gray area that exists in between.

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who wants some fun, sometimes funny, sweet stories. If nothing else, you could pop in and out of the book as each story can be read in well under an hour.
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