Somebody Stop Her
In a world of villains and heroes, the Kilborne family moved to the small town of Saint Mary. Their new neighbors, living in the 1888 Saint Mary cathedral, turned out to be a family of supervillains. Martin Kilborne would find school perfectly mundane if it wasn't for Alexa Terranova who is: constantly bothering him with a pocket raygun, demanding he become her minion and threatening to blow up the principal's office in a series of unnecessarily complicated, wacky plots.
The more Martin learns about Alexa, the more dangerous and insane his life becomes as he is dragged into terrible, misfortunate, no good adventures of doom.
A wholesome, slice of life, superhero / supervillain sci-fi comedy, sprinkled with elements of horror.
Participant in the Royal Road Writathon challenge - 55'555 words in 35 days!
Dedicated to my daugher who has an unbendable stubborn spirit and my friends at the Silver Pen server who motivated me to write new things!
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I’ve read this novel a few chapters ahead as one of Vitaly’s beta readers on discord as he was live writing/sharing concepts and excerpts from it and let me tell you, great things are awaiting you as a reader within its depths. It’s a wild ride! As the chapters progress, the characters become profound in unexpected ways and the world expands from its base foundation to much more intense places. It’s like a 10cm deceptively shallow looking puddle, which suddenly leads into the near-bottomless Marianas trench.
The dynamism of the two protagonists in this book is its bedrock. Alexa and Martin start their journey as natural enemies - daughter of a villain and son of a hero, but are bound together by the coming disaster which threatens all of humanity in the future. Alexa is at the heart of this global catastrophe and Martin is dragged along for the ride right into the eye of the storm. In this way it’s similar to the comedy of Rick and Morty. One character is a mad scientist, a flawed, disturbed, sort of broken plot driver and the other is a mundane observer who is dragged along for the ride across space and time, suffering along the way as the brutal, harsh, mad truth of the universe is revealed in all of its splendor and existential horror.
This story also reminds me a bit of “quantum leap” - at its heart it’s a wholesome tale of adventure. Both villains and heroes in this novel do terrible things and neither see themselves as evil people, only as people who want to fix the world. Some see themselves as victims of consequences and others dream of a better world, which as it turns out doesn’t come.
The world of “Somebody Stop Her” is rather intriguing - its a mixture of 1950’s, 90’s and futurism tech such as holographics as the Superstate is holding biggest technological advancement such as supercomputers in the sky city of heroes, inside the giant space station Titanomachy. You can see this in the book as Martin wears a wind up wristwatch and enjoys the arcade and the school tech is quite low end, their teacher having to work with a transparency projector.
The style of this novel is an interesting combination of a comedy, mixed with superheroes, with a horror movie spliced in. The action is very fast paced and visually appealing.
The spelling is decent and whatever mistakes are there exist because Vitaly is writing it rapidly live for the wriathalon contest and such are eliminated by beta readers such as myself.
As the book progresses it ventures into unexpected lovecraft territory, which provides a nice contrast with the normal-everyday school life of Martin and Alexa. Martin starts as a clueless schoolboy who does almost nothing, tagging along and mostly observing and evolves into a character who learns to take action. Alexa starts as a bit of a bossy/mean girl, but the true depths of her character are revealed as the book progresses into chapter two, showing her as a person greatly impacted by her adventures in the future.
Whew, okay. Somebody Stop Her is a tough one for me to review. Not because I'm undecided - far from it - but because, at risk of sounding like I've had a few screws knocked loose, it's one of those rare fictions that really speaks to me. And that can be tricky to describe, but here goes.
There are plenty of stories out there with professional execution and many more I find just downright fun, thought-provoking or satisfying. But for me, the best of the best - the ones I enthusiastically look forward to and will probably have linger with me for the rest of my life - are the ones which fill me with a powerful sense of awe and yearning.
This is one of those. And if you've read Vitaly's other work, Romantically Apocalyptic, this may not come as a surprise. If you haven't, excuse me while I interrupt this review to punt you towards it.
I had to stop and give serious consideration to how exactly this breaks down. What gives certain rare stories this quality and not others? And here's what I think:
Making the mundane... not. Somebody Stop Her does this amazingly well. For a story about supervillians and superheroes, it's not really about dramatic battles to take over the world. (Well, okay, maybe a little bit.) It's about everyday actions transforming from the mundane into the fantastic and unexpected. A visit to the local fast food restaurant, for instance, may uncover evidence of creepy cult surveillance and an icon (in more ways than one) from the 1990s doing heroic product promotion on the side.
It's about ingenuity in a hundred little ways you wouldn't expect, from gadgets to minor background details, subtly twisted or overtly, and every tiny piece coming together to contribute to a wonderfully rich whole, where anything could be a hiding a secret, surprise or hidden purpose and probably is. It should go without saying this goes for the characters, too.
Meaningful human connection. Okay, so the world may possibly be doomed, but its characters' relationships don't have to be. So far, the characters in Somebody Stop Her represent the best of what humanity can be. Alexa and Martin are 100% the people you'd love to be friends with. Yes, there's a little supervillany at times, just a tiny smidge, but they care, they laugh, they reach out to others and you relate to their motivations. No melodrama or poor communication here, and frankly, if it wasn't for the whole 'might die horribly' aspect, I expect this story could be responsible for recruiting quite a few people to a rewarding new career in wholesome supervillainry. You didn't hear it from me.
Logic in the madness. Smart characters are great, and smart plots are even better. A particular trait of Vitaly's stories is to toy with your surface assumptions by including seemingly absurd humour or hijinks which in reality make a great deal of sense once you discover more about the underlying context. The end result leaves you with incredibly satisfying answers to some truly fascinating scenarios. Somebody Stop Her in particular dials this storytelling aspect up to eleven due to its breakneck pace and I can't get enough of it. The plot is always pushing forward, revelations are always being uncovered, and it works seamlessly.
Scale. Some stories achieve this with big events and big consequences. Some, with the breadth of their detail. Somebody Stop Her does it with both. Not to spoil too much, but mixed in with Martin's daily school and family life are world-shattering revelations and terrifying horrors, and it's just perfect.
Back to the main review now - there are, of course, other aspects I'd like to highlight, the most significant being the writing style, which is fun-loving, eloquent and witty. But I think this is a good place to leave it.
Obviously, I think this is fantastic. When next your life needs a little more adventure and madness in it combined with inspiring optimism during horrifying nightmare situations, Somebody Stop Her will be waiting for you, impatiently, demanding a ransom. As it should be.
Somebody Stop Her is, in my opinion, one of the most unique stories on all of RoyalRoad. It reads like if a cartoon were crossed with a comic and adapted in the form of a novel. Meaning: it is very, very good. It does not follow the typical RoyalRoad tropes, nor does waste any time with progressing its plot. It follows the shenanigans of the 14 year old supervillain, Alexa, and Mr Mittens... I mean, Martin, the boy next door.
First of all, the style Somebody Stop Her is written in paints a very vvivid image of the world it is set in. The feel of the world is distinct from most other School Life novels, so if that tag is putting you off? Don't be put off.
Grammar is great, probably thanks to all the beta readers Vitaly employed for this haha
Story is, as I said, tightly paced. It wastes very little time with fluff, which is phenomenal considering it is almost Slice of Life.
And again, the characters are fantastic. Same thing as before with the School Life tag applies here with the Multiple Lead Characters tag. Because unlike other novels where you only care about the first perspective you're introduced to, you will love both Alexa and Martin.
All in all, I rate it a 5/5 across the board. Anything else would be criminal.
Somebody Stop Her is a tale set in a world where superpowers, super villains, and pocket bacon are an everyday occurrence. The story follows Martin "Mittens" Killborne on his self-assigned mission to stop his new neighbor, the precocious super villain Alexa Cassiopeia Terror Nova from blowing up the moon... or something.
Being a teen superhero isn't easy, but it's a lot harder when you have no powers, and you've agreed to be the minion for the first villain you meet.
This story is a cute take on a superhero story, following the children of heroes and villains who want to walk in the footsteps of their parents. There's only one chapter as of this review but Martin is shaping up to be the straight laced nervous Nelly and Alexa, I'm sure, will find ways to drag him into all sorts of ridiculous scenarios.
As always Vitaly injects humor into every character interaction, making the conversations feel like lively banter. Alexa and Martin, or Mittens, make a good comedy double act. Mittens is the straight man canvas on which Alexa paints her ridiculousness on.
There's also some hints and mystery and world building thrown in that leave a lot to wonder.
This looks to be a good start to a fun superhero story and I'm looking forward to seeing where it goes. The horror tag has me preemptively feeling bad for Martin.
Teenage boy tries to stop teenage girl neighbour from doing villainous things. Hijinks ensue. Crazy yet utterly absorbing hijinks. At home, at school and all across town.
The writing style itself is excellent. Very absorbing and I had to read until the latest chapter. The characters are great. Almost caricaturish at the beginning, they gain some additional complexity as the story develops. Scenes are mostly seen from the boy's perspective and some of his initial and even later thoughts and beliefs are constrained by the relatively small amounts of information he has available. He is not an unreliable narrator but he definitely is not a very well-informed one and his opinions change as he obtain more information. Only to sometimes change again when he finds that this 'new information' he has learnt is false or maybe false.
The grammar is very good and the story is very readable. There are a few errors, but most of them seem to have been found and mentioned in the comments and corrected by the author. Being willing to read and act on these comments meant I gave the book an extra star on the style score.
I would recommend this story to anyone. I tried it out because Void Herald recommended it, but stayed because it is just really entertaining. It's not perfect, but it comes pretty darn close in my book. One of its main imperfections being that it only has 17 chapters. If you like reading and don't mind the fact that it has relatively few chapters at the moment, I recommend you give this story a try.
Hope this helps.
Review initially written when Chapter 17 was the latest chapter. It is still quite new, so I will update this review as more chapters are uploaded. And I will definitely continue reading this story.
Holy shit this is insane. Turns are Tabled and tables are turned. You are let to make assumptions based on stereotypes. These assumptions are shattered within minutes.
In a world where people tend to manifest superpowers heroes and villains tend to pop up.
Some villains are dang proud of the fact that the law does not constrain them. So proud, in fact that they proclaim loudly that they are villains. Meet Alexa. Her sanity is slightly questionable.
Some heroes work undercover. Their job is to identify villains so heroes that can deal with them can deal with them. Some have families and they set an example for their kids. Those kids end up wanting to be heroes. Meet Martin. He does not like villains but can do nothing directly against them.
Their first encounter is when they see each other on the street on the morning of the first day of school (they are neighbours) where the first thing Alexa does is procalim he is her minion. The Wattson to her Sherlock, if you will. She bullies and humiliates him publicly in order to ensure his compliance until school starts. What happens next will take a bit to process.
Somebody Stop Her subverts the reader's expectations at every occasion. Alexa is immediately likable, for one. Personaly, I have found myself grinning the entire way through what is currently available. It is obvious that whatever this story will shape up to be, it will be grand.
This story is... it's weird. But in a super fun way. It's mixing up Invader Zim and Adventure Time, Rick and Morty and Haruhi Suzumiya. Plus super heroes. So just drink some Red Bull and get ready for a whacky adventure.
So the son of a super hero is sure his neighbor is a villain. He meets the daughter of said neighbor, who confirms she (and her father) are supervillains. And then she decides he will now be her minion-- Mittens.
And that's just the first time they meet.
Then they go to school.
The story is a comedic mix of fun, tropes, and whackiness that you get when you take the idea of superheroes and villains to the extreme. And once in a while it'll get randomly dark and serious (honestly, my favorite parts). If you like comedy and slice of life and superheroes I highly recommend to at least check it out.
Grammar is good, a few errors here and there, but nothing major. For an early/quick draft it's still quite polshed. The story is just something else, but don't go into this thinking it'll be dark and gritty and realistic because it will not be. I do love the characters and the world and seeing where this will go.
Somebody Stop Her is a not-so-classic boy meets girl coming of age story that is fast becoming one of my favorite reads on RoyalRoad.
Young Martin Kilborne, born into a superhero family, is determined to investigate and expose the evil deeds of his villainous neighbour Alexa Terranova, the self-proclaimed supervillain, following in her footsteps of her dastardly but absent dad. With finesse, flair and a good dose of social hacking, she manages to bend young powerless Martin to her will.
Martin is unwittingly teleported into a parellel post-apocalyptic reality which threatens the form and fabric of his view (and ours) on the world, its justice system and the conflict between good and evil.
Vitaly is an excellent story teller, getting to the crux of the story at breakneck pace. The story introduces likeable characters, with a decent dose of depth, believable backstory and plenty of humour.
Somebody Stop Her also features brilliant world building on the superstate, their archvillains and the Equalisers, a voice of calm to balance the scales when both powers get out of hand. Vitaly paints a scarily good interpretation of this world and what would happen should one part fail.
A villainous fun tale where nothing is as it seems.
Okay here I go again, trying to write this review already 4th time! (This one will be shorter, sorry!) So the story is really interesting as well the characters. I like the atmosphere of every chapter. Vitaly you damn know how to write a good story! How are you doing this? I can't wait for more and I do need more! (Also I hope this time my review will show up x3)
Only first chapter, but entirely catchy. The whole world is set in the supervillains/superheroes world with everything that it incorporate; amazing tech and even cooler powers.
First we have Martin Kilborne... Kitten Mittens! Sorry, Cassiopeia Terror Nova, please don't make me your slave... ehm... Who gave himself a mission to stop his new aforementioned supervillainess.
Did I also mention they are teenagers? Oh yes, Mittens is son of superheroes and the girl, Alexa, is daughter of supervillains. Yup, definitely ends well... She is egoistical, insane and overall-great person, who takes threats by pocket ray-gun and exploding the principal's office as a daily warm-up before she tries to blow up the Moon.
The second chapter is about their first day at school and guess what; they are already making troubles.
The author is an accomplished writer, who knows what he is doing. Grammar is impeccable (from my standpoint).
The style is ligh-hearted as with comedy should be.
Story can't be said much yet with only two chapters out, however it already looks endearing and adorable.
Characters are really well-written from the start.
I can only recommend to read. Really. Go for it. You won't lose your time. It's amazing.
I will expand this review later as the chapter count increases.