5b4bf4_7c9a74f8bd164271946c3222192bd95cHero is a Man by Nix Whittaker

Hero is a Man is the debut novel written by fellow Taumarunui author, Nix Whittaker. It is the first part of her newly launched Glyph Warrior series. Once again, reading a local author challenges me to expand my genre horizons, this time venturing into SciFi Romance.

It turns out, this is an opportune read for me as, in my current novel, I am not necessarily endeavouring to write science fiction, but ultimately doing so by setting it in the near future.

The setting for Hero is a Man resembles our world in many respects, though following a catastrophic war in which city-states have been re-built with weather shields created to handle the effects of the war and global warming. In this wider, and interesting, context, Whittaker tells the story of a small portion of one of these city-states, Freedom.

Specifically, this is a tale centred around the enigmatic protagonist, Halcyon, a blue-haired technical genius, sometimes known as “Tinker”, who finds her invention prototypes far more interesting and relatable than her fellow citizens. The most dramatic of these inventions are her glyphs, tattoos which act as sorts of implants, integrating themselves into the human body to augment existent potentialities such as strength, inner peace or even healing.

So caught up is she in her world, Halcyon (or Hal) often overlooks the possible nefarious misuses of her inventions. However, there are elements in her city who do not overlook these and seek to exploit her.

Enter Misha, a giant of a man who grew up in the inner city and teaches Taekwon-Do to local youths. He is introduced to Hal in order to procure a tattoo, but soon finds commonalities in their ability and desire to bring about positive change in their community. And yes, he also finds romance.

The book is well written with many strengths in its plot, character and world-building. It is easy to read with several well-constructed scenes. For me, the character of Halcyon was the most appealing and I was interested in almost every scene based on her talents and eccentricities. I’m sure other readers may find the self-assured Misha as appealing. They are well supported by Marcus, the villainous gang leader, who is not over done and has a healthy enough dose of hubris to seal his own fate.

Congratulations to Nix Whittaker for publishing her first novel. I won’t promise to read the next books in the Glyph Warriors series, but I do encourage others to check this series out. The world and characters are intriguing and sustainable enough for future tales.

Antony Millen is a Canadian living and writing in New Zealand and the author of Redeeming Brother Murrihy, Te Kauhanga and The Chain.

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