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Marvel Captain America: Sub Rosa Paperback – July 13, 2016
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About the Author
David McDonald is a mild#45;mannered editor by day, and a wild#45;eyed writer by night. Based in Melbourne, Australia, he works for an international welfare organization, and divides his spare time between playing cricket and writing.
In 2013 David won the Ditmar Award for Best New Talent, and in 2014 won the William J. Atheling Jr. Award for Criticism or Review and was shortlisted for the WSFA Small Press Award. His short fiction has appeared in anthologies from publishers such as Moonstone Books, Satalyte Publishing, Crazy 8 Press, and FableCroft Publishing. In 2015, his first movie novelization, Backcountry, was released by HarperCollins.
David is a member of the Horror Writers Association, The International Association of Media Tie#45;In Writers, and the Melbourne based writers group, SuperNOVA.
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In Captain America: Sub Rosa, research uncovered by one of Maria Hill’s colleagues shows a means of infiltrating web communications between nations. Suddenly, everyone’s after the young researcher, including her own government. Afraid for her colleague’s life, Hill contracts Steve Rogers as Katherine’s body guard and given his highly polished sense of chivalry—perhaps too keen for his own good—Rogers, aka Captain America, feels honour bound to accept. What follows is the traditional Captain America story arc that genre readers demand—a story packed with AK47s, Glocks, motorbike chases, and our hero hanging off helicopter skids. But McDonald shows particular skill in the way he writes a traditional story arc, in a modern context, and yet using a voice that is entirely the character’s own. No small feat. The language and turn of phrase that McDonald gives Rogers places our hero right back in a time of cherry lipstick, polished shoes, and swing bands. Rogers struggles with modern phrases, for example, the awkwardness apparent when he tries use the term BFF, and fails. He is the last surviving gentleman in a world turned sordid, and, accordingly, the text is imbued with a wonderful sense of floundering, the confusion and loneliness of a man out of his time.
And there’s more, because like any accomplished writer, McDonald layers his story, exploring the underlying ideological theme of tension between a government keeping secrets from its people versus secrets kept in the interests of protecting those same people. McDonald doesn’t club you over the head with it. Instead, it is tightly-woven into the narrative along with the age-old Captain America themes of protecting the weak, and standing up to bullies.
I particularly liked the sci-fi comic book decoder ring subterfuge in the early part of the book—a fun plot beat. A thoroughly enjoyable read. And of course, Captain America’s penchant for clean language and gentlemanly conduct (fight scenes not withstanding) make Captain America: Sub Rosa a perfect choice for teen readers.
Here, Captain America is asked to look after the niece of Maria Hill ... a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent. Hill's niece developed a computer program and now she's being threatened. But walking around in his Captain America costume would draw attention, and so it is Steve Rogers who does the babysitting.
This book suffers from the same issues that plagued the other two mentioned above. Dull, lifeless, and the known characters don't seem much like those we've come to know through the comics or the movies. Rogers/Cap acts like the jocks that used to pick on him when he was a scrawny kid. He also never seems comfortable around the computer genius, Katherine. Surely this was intended to be a relationship in the making with hero and damsel skirting the sexual tension between them. But for this reader, it never works.
Katherine has no character. She's a stereotypical computer nerd, and then she's the stereotypical young woman being pursued by bad guys. Cap has no interest in her, and for good reason, but it also means there's not much to the story.
This is a case of way too much narrative. We're told almost everything and get to experience almost nothing. Instead of being pulled in to a story - and a book based on a comic book superhero and a movie action thriller hero, we should very much be drawn in to this story - we are told to sit back while a story is explained. This is not the way to get teens interested in reading and not a particularly good way to get the older, more dedicated comic book fans to follow along.
I'm disappointed that this was such a dud. I really have liked a number of comic book hero-to novel adaptations and would have loved to have added this to my list of interesting comic-related books.
Looking for a good book? <em>Marvel's Captain America: Sub Rosa</em> by David McDonald is not a particularly good substitute for the adventurous comics or the thrilling movies.
I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
This novel is full of action and doesn't let up. I really liked the attention to detail the author takes to make this novel more realistic than the comics. If you look at the writers credits, he's an advocate for net neutrality and bringing the internet to places that don't have access.
Overall I really enjoyed this novel. It was written for young adults, however the net freedom aspect of it resonated with me. The poor and the uneducated should have the opportunity to have internet to have access to news,books and education .....the positive aspects the net offers.