What Would You Give to be a Hero?
Stephen Russ never expected to have to answer that question; he went to work, he stayed in his apartment, sometimes had friends over, and the worst thing he’d had to face was looking for a new job after losing his old one.
But that was before a child’s desperate scream led him into an alley filled with faceless winged things that almost killed him, before the strange white rat spoke to him, calling itself Silvertail Heartseeker and telling him that this was but the beginning, that the Stars were almost Right and the forces of Azathoth Nine-Armed would soon be unleashed against the world… before Silvertail said that his courage and willingness to risk himself made him the perfect choice to be one of the defenders of the world against this evil.
A defender named Princess Holy Aura, the first of the five Apocalypse Maidens.
Now Steve understands the choice: not whether he is willing to die, but whether he is willing to live… by giving up “Stephen Russ” to become the one chance that the world has against the monstrous forces that wait on the other side of forever.
I picked this out of the stack because it looked like it was different than most of the BAEN books. My first thought was that this was going to be a typical mahou shoujo, anime/manga based novel with magic teenage girls. I wasn’t expecting much different than Sailor Moon. I thought I was getting a cheesy adventure novel and instead I got an enjoyable urban fantasy that parodies the magic girl warrior genre.
WOW! Was I wrong. Yes, this book has the magical girl warriors, the cute little animal, the big baddy with minions and the potential end of the world, but it also has SO much more. This novel takes all of the standard magic girl tropes, breaks them down and recycles them in ways you might not have expected.
Characters by Morinekozion
The base story of this novel is about the appearance of magical girls in our world, who must save the world from Lovecraftian-type horrors. This book addresses many questions you’ve always asked yourself about the typical anime tropes – everything from grooming to parents. The best part is the biggest twist in the stereotypical plot.
Silvertail is the cute magical animal who becomes a mentor to the Apocalypse Maidens every time they are created. After spending centuries watching children battle nightmarish creatures, he has had enough and decides to do something different. He wants someone who is mentally capable of dealing with the horrors, so he recruits Steve Russ, a 35-year-old man to be the first of Apocalypse Maidens, Princess Holy Aura.
Steve is now in the body of a 14-year-old girl. This leaves him/her in the very odd position of being a teenager, complete with everything that goes along with it including hormones, high school and homework. Now Steve must learn to live as a teen girl, attend high school and finding other members of her team, while fighting bad guys and maintaining his/her secret identity.
I found Princess Holy Aura hilariously enjoyable and had trouble putting it down. The story takes itself seriously while spoofing the typical memes and anime tropes that exist in our modern society.
I give it a full five-stars.
How we rate our Books
1 = We finished the book with effort
2 = Readable, but more fluff than substance
3 = Good
4 = Pretty Good and worth passing on to your friends
5 = We couldn’t put the book down