Friday, July 1, 2016

Me on Heroine Complex

Title: Heroine Complex
Author: Sarah Kuhn
Release Date: July 5, 2016
Publisher: DAW (Penguin imprint)

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.

Heroine Complex is exciting and dangerous. It's a fast-paced adventure across San Francisco and an honest look at friendships and having the confidence to stand up and fight for those you care about and what you believe in.

Evie is caring and supportive, working as hard as she can to save money for her and her sister. Working as hard as she can to make sure that superheroine boss Aveda Jupiter only has to worry about kicking demon butt and looking awesome while doing it. It's her job to keep all the darker secret stuff hidden away, like the fact that Aveda can fall into tantrums quicker than a toddler, like how she worries all the time about money and her sister's acting out. Like how Evie has her own superpower that she's afraid of. Evie's strong and smart but a total pushover. Her sense of self-worth and confidence in her abilities needs a real shot in the arm, especially if she's going to help save the city from an invasion of demons, but doing that might mean saying the things she's always wanted to say to Aveda to her face.

This is a book about superheroes, about what makes them in terms of mystical superpowers and in terms of personality and drive. It's been a long-running requirement of saving the world from villains and demons that superheroes be physically strong, that they be able to both throw and take a punch. But what about the strength that comes from being confident with yourself and your abilities. Both Evie and Aveda are insecure about a lot of things when it comes to themselves and their abilities, which makes them great at being flawed heroes. The hardest thing for them might be to be completely honest with each other and those around them.

I did find this book fun, this is a fresh look at being a superhero in a modern day setting. There's a lot more interpersonal relationship talk than I was expecting, but the moments of fighting and saving the day do balance it out. I wasn't necessarily a fan of the times Aveda would talk down to Evie, how Aveda would always need to have her way, but all those moments worked with her personality, with her needing to be in the spotlight. I would recommend this to urban fantasy and paranormal fans looking for something new and different.

(I received an e-galley of this title to review from DAW through NetGalley.)

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