Book Review: The BackUp Superhero by Kayla Hicks. null
The BackUp Superhero by Kayla Hicks. null
Series Number: 1
Published: March 5th 2021
Page Count: 68
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 a fan of and the Marvel Cinematic Universe, The BackUp Superhero caught my eye as an alternate approach to the superhero genre. In a world where superheroes don’t have actual superpowers, what does that mean for superheroes? My interest was definitely piqued by this review request.

This book was provided for free by the author in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to the author for the opportunity to read and review The BackUp Superhero!


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First Impressions

There are a few things that caught my attention about this book. First of all, the title; the “BackUp” Superhero. The synopsis offers just enough teases about what this could be referring, mentioning heroes that do all the work and get no credit, and then the mysterious “level D”.  In our world, D is not a good number in any system. It’s mentioned that one superhero from level D, Tanser girl, has come to terms with her non-celebrity status. So if we assume that level D is similar to celebrity ranks, then yep, D is a very low rank.

That opens up a bunch of new questions for me. What is the superhero level system? What’s the difference between levels, and who decides what level a superhero is placed in? It also brings me to the other thing that caught my attention. As I mentioned in my introduction, the superheroes in this book have no superpowers. That’s quite unusual, and I’m interesting to see what that means. What is the difference between a superhero and, say, just an ordinary member of the emergency services or armed forces?

Lots of questions about this one and as always, the only way to find out the answers is to read the book 🙂

The Review

The BackUp Superhero is a novella and therefore, it’s a quick and easy read. It was an enjoyable and an interesting take on the superhero genre which picks up on some of the inherent flaws of the genre, namely the huge issue of accountability and the destruction of property that superheroes often leave in their way. In Hicks’ superhero world, superheroes enjoy a celebrity status, with Level A superheroes at the top and Level D at the bottom. To become a superhero you must go through rigorous training and if you become injured at any point you have to start all over again. At the end of the training, if successful, heroes are placed into a Level and each Level “knows their place”.

Level D’s place is to stay out of the way, help out as much as they can, and never ever get in the spotlight. As the title of the book suggests, they are “the backup”. Like all systems it’s hugely broken and there’s a lot more happening beneath the surface which is what the book is about. The plot is interesting, and the protagonist, Tanser girl, is likeable, as is the barkeeper Frank. I couldn’t stand the other level D superhero, Dwighter, who was extremely irritating throughout.

I personally favour novels over novellas, and that certainly did affect how much I enjoyed The BackUp Superhero. While I enjoyed the story, I felt like I was just getting the first part of a novel rather than a complete novella, or even a complete short story. The way the novella end felt a little incomplete to me, with one event being concluded while the wider story arc was only just beginning. Just as I was getting into the story, it abruptly ended. Despite my preference for novels, this isn’t my first time reading fiction in an episodic format, and in this case it felt like the end of a chapter rather than the end of a novella.

Book Review: The BackUp Superhero by Kayla Hicks - My book review for The BackUp Superhero by Kayla Hicks, a novella about superheroes without superpowers. null


The BackUp Superhero is an interesting and enjoyable start to The BackUp Superhero series, however, for me personally the emphasis there is on the start. Thankfully book two is already available to read so if you loved book one you can head straight onto book two to continue the story. Both are available to read on Kindle Unlimited. While The BackUp Superhero had some intriguing world-building, it just didn’t quite get there for me in terms of plot and characters. For readers looking for a fun quick read it’s right on track, but for readers who prefer a bit more of a meatier read, like myself, you might find it not quite your thing.

Kayla Hicks. null
Meet the Author

Kayla Hicks

Hicks has always had a love for writing. Having been in the school Newspaper (what schools have those anymore??), she wrote two that never saw the light of day. It wasn’t until college when she wrote her first book “Kale Stone: An Outliers Tale” that she finally caught her stride. (Which took her 4 years!!!)

You can find Hicks outdoors with her husband and daughter, her nose in a good book, or playing video games. Some of her favorite include Under the Never Sky, 28 and a Half Wishes, and anything by Colleen Hoover. Writing however is her greatest passion and has been since high school. Hicks is also the author of Kale Stone: An Outliers Tale available on Amazon.

You can find out more about her work over at her website. You can browse her on Goodreads. Or connect with her on social media; she’s on Twitter and Facebook!

by Kayla Hicks

Interested in more by Kayla Hicks? Check out a selection of titles in my store. You can find the other in the series here!

Over to you

Thanks for reading my review for the The BackUp Superhero by Kayla Hicks. Do you like to read novellas or are you more of a novel reading like me? Let me know in the comments 🙂

Don’t forget to check out the rest of my reviews if you’re looking for some more book recommendations 🙂 You can also now sign up for my newsletter to get an email each month with a list of my new reviews!

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