Review: Heroine Complex by Sarah Kuhn
This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
(Description nicked from Goodreads.com.)
“Evie Tanaka is the put-upon personal assistant to Aveda Jupiter, her childhood best friend and San Francisco’s most beloved superheroine. She’s great at her job—blending into the background, handling her boss’s epic diva tantrums, and getting demon blood out of leather pants.
Unfortunately, she’s not nearly as together when it comes to running her own life, standing up for herself, or raising her tempestuous teenage sister, Bea.
But everything changes when Evie’s forced to pose as her glamorous boss for one night, and her darkest comes out: she has powers, too. Now it’s up to her to contend with murderous cupcakes, nosy gossip bloggers, and supernatural karaoke battles—all while juggling unexpected romance and Aveda’s increasingly outrageous demands. And when a larger threat emerges, Evie must finally take charge and become a superheroine in her own right… or see her city fall to a full-on demonic invasion.”
First off, let me say how awesome it is that both of the main characters are Asian-American, and that they’re both superheroes. As much as I love properties like Marvel, they can be excessively white, so getting some other races in the spotlight is a plus to me. I also liked that these characters have their flaws, just like normal people. The author didn’t fall into the stereotype that someone of another race who is special is automatically perfect or even just somehow “better”. (Ever heard of the “Magical Negro” trope?)
I also liked that the characters’ upbringing as Asian-Americans plays a part in their development through the story. I’ve read a lot about how trying to “not see race” can deny a person’s experience and upbringing, and I appreciate that Kuhn wove what it’s like to grow up as an Asian girl in America into the narrative. Annie and Evie would definitely be different people if not for those past experiences, and it’s nice to see an author who can incorporate that into the story.
Going from there to the plot, I found a lot to enjoy. The author has fun with the notion of demons entering our world by having them “imprint” on the first thing that they see upon reaching our plane. This results in demons who burst into a bakery and immediately taking on the form of killer cupcakes. The plot arc with the demons underscores all of the character development between Annie and Evie and seems to accentuate the push and pull between these two friends trying to find a balance in their relationship.
This is a fun novel with plenty of action and humor to recommend it. I went through it pretty fast, and having just found out that there will be at least a trilogy, I’m now looking forward to book two. Pick up Heroine Complex if you’re looking for a summer action flick in prose form.