Title: Zephyr I
Author: Warren Hately
Book procurement: Received for free on Amazon.
Zephyr tells the story of a major, if somewhat jaded superhero in an alternate universe where New York City has been abandoned and the Beatles were a superhero team. Zephyr is a regular guy with massive powers, but it’s easy to wonder if his life might have been better without them as supervillains and other problems that only superhumans can deal with derail his efforts handling life.
When I saw Warren Hately promote Zephyr somewhere on the social media space, I wasn’t sure what to expect of the book. The cover image at first glance looked like a black and white version of the Joker, which I must admit was what drew me to it. Also, he was giving Zephyr kindle edition away for free on Amazon, and well… free stuff. Zephyr.
As a comic book reader, I was yet to read a novel type version of the same genre. The beauty of comic books is in seeing the colourful characters come to life in vivid detail, facial expressions more expressive than words, action sequences spanning across the panels with exaggerated font detailing the action. I must admit that I had no problem imagining the world and characters in Zephyr with the same amount of detail. The description is just as vivid, bringing Warren Hately’s world to life in my mind. I loved this about his writing style.
A unique set of characters exist across the story. Bearing in mind that superheroes are as ubiquitous as the skyscrapers they destroy, it is not an uncommon sight to see the costumed crusaders in the day to day happenings of life. Which sets a unique world for the story. Considering that powers are quite common, many of the celebrities are super powered beings; villains and heroes. The law knows they exist and do what they can to assist them. Newspapers and glamour magazines write-up about these heroes like celebrities and in essence that’s exactly what they are. The world-building was weaved into the story so the world felt real, factual. Nothing seemed out of place even though it was an alternate history and world. One where the Beatles were an influential band and a famous superhero team… perhaps more?
Zephyr himself is supposedly another run-of-the-mill hero but really he’s not. The situations that occur and how he handles them, the villains and the heroes involved, show a much more intricate character. He’s also trying to balance his life as a hero and life as a father and husband, which has it’s own complications. Let’s nor forget the friends in his life, human and super, who add their own complications to an already conflicted man. Zephyr is not the great moral being we want to be, the Superman of our souls, but instead he is the human condition exacerbated by powers. If we were granted these unique and amazing abilities, how much of them would we use for personal gain and how much for the good of others? Would we turn to heroes or villains? Why? How would those around us be affected by our abilities? At what great lengths would we go to save our families and keep them from the dangers that come with being related to a super? And let’s not mention the big reveal right at the end. Zephry as a character is real.
And then it get’s weird. I mean really weird. I had quite a few “What is this!?” moments. And Zephyr has a mouth on him. I love his humour and his sarcasm (who doesn’t like a little wit with their punches) and sometimes he just says what he’s thinking without filter. The villains aren’t so villainous as they are desperate, and human. It’s easy to see a villain as a bad guy who doesn’t care, but Warren Hately paints humanity into some of them that is real. And then the others, the main villains who propel the story forward… well you just have to read this novel to understand the fear that it invokes within me.
Overall a really great intro novel to the world of Zephyr.
Rating: A gusty 3 out of 5