by Sarah Kuhn
Reviewed by SA
If you like the superhero genre as much as I do, you probably love a kick ass heroine with something to prove. But have you ever worried about their sidekicks, the ones who have to run their social media page and make sure their image is as badass as they are? Have you been dying to get your hands on a book that not only has an amazing conflict, but also fantastic friendships and POCs? Then hold on tight – you need a seatbelt for Heroine Complex.
Being a superheroine is hard. Working for one is even harder.
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.
Eight years ago, a portal opened in downtown San Francisco, bringing with it a demon army from another realm. They didn’t last long, but a handful of people gained extraordinary abilities as a result: one of them was Aveda Jupiter, who’s dead set on protecting her city from demonic activity. But protecting the city is only half of the challenge: people have to like her, too.
Cue Evie Tanaka, Aveda’s childhood bestie. She’s the one in charge of Aveda’s public image, and that means following her into action with a phone in hand, ready to capture badass videos of her beating the heck out of demonic cupcakes. But the job is a lot more than that, and Aveda needs her to take on a much, much bigger challenge.
What I loved about this book was how it managed to not only be exciting, but really funny, too. Demonic cupcakes are only chapter number one: you also have to deal with the gossip bloggers and internet trolls, and maybe try to save the world with a karaoke battle when time calls for it. You also might have to put a fire extinguisher next to your bed when things are getting sexy. There’s never a dull moment.
The plot also had some really fantastic, unexpected twists in there. Which, of course, I will not spoil for you. I absolutely loved how some insignificant details could really come back and turn the story around. And the fact that everything was told from Evie’s perspective meant some really eye opening reveals from other characters. I love it when it gets exciting!
Evie is also such a fantastic protagonist. Her struggles, her growth, her logic: combined, they make for a character who’s not only relatable, but also lovable, and somewhat enviable. She’s a very strong female character, one who’s stubborn and not easily pushed around, and I liked how she could stand up for herself unapologetically. Her relationship with Nate is also one of the most modern and natural takes I’ve seen in recent books. And did I mention, sexy?
It’s also one of those novels that deals with issues we all care about: it’s sex positive, deals with consent, with toxic media, with our habit of pitting women against each other rather than raising them up. Very early on, you see the very relatable moment when the internet care more about Aveda’s appearance than her accomplishments, about a zit breakout than her demon ass-kicking (do they even have asses?). Not only does she have to defend her city, but she can’t eat the foods she loves because it would mean a drop in interest from the public. It’s awful, but completely true.
While as a character, Aveda swayed a bit for me, her friendship with Evie is a definite reason i love this book even more. They’re honest, caring people in a good relationship, able to talk things out rather than take it out on each other. They do love each other. So do Evie and Bea, though this sisterly love is another great example of good relationships in this book.
So if you need a great dose of superhero, strong women, great relationships, and cupcakes, Heroine Complex is the book for you!