Heroine Complex by Sarah Kuhn
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.
Series: Heroine Complex #1
Published by DAW on July 5th 2016
Where to Find It: Amazon|B&N|Shop Indie|Goodreads
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Source: Advance Reader Copy
FTC Disclosure: I received access to this book early through Advance Reader Copy (for free) in exchange for a review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Overall Review: Heroine Complex is a rich vibrant tale of love, family, friendship, finding your backbone and your purpose in life. It’s the story of a wallflower yanked into the spotlight and left with no choice but to face her fears (and a few demons) in order to save herself, her friends, and her city. Her story is funny, insightful, and with the accompanying kick-ass action essential in every superheroine’s arsenal. I enjoyed it without reservation and not just because a) there is no world that exists in which I’m not going to be excited about a story with references to Michelle Yeoh and b) if there were a city with intermittently opening demon portals, pretty sure it would be San Francisco…
Evie, the personal assistant of San Francisco preeminent superhero Aveda Jupiter. She also just happens to be Aveda’s (Annie if you’ve ever had to clean her boots) life-long best friend. She knows her moods better than anyone which is good; because Evie works for a glitter wearing, tantrum throwing out-and-out diva. But this isn’t your typical overburdened assistant tale. Evie Tanaka has a secret and it that’s just beginning of the excitement. I was all in from the first live stream of Aveda fighting in a pastry shop for her fans.
Kuhn’s writing style is irreverent and irresistible. The story is light and airy but not lacking substance. She brings the city to life and embeds her unique supernatural elements (and kick-ass film and pop culture references) into the ground-level of the story building. Aveda and Evie are the very definition of co-dependent ( just ask Scott and Nate( but as written, I was more interested in exploring the why-and-how of their relationship than breaking them apart.
The mystery at the heart of this story, is both in your face and unfolding because this story isn’t just about what happens once Evie’s thrown into the public eye and forced to step out of the corner she’s shoved herself in, it’s about why she’s so adamant about avoiding the limelight. Kuhn built her readers a family with all the dysfunction and dynamics a good origin story needs. Evie and her sister have a combative relationship with the pitfalls that adds more layers to the journey this crew takes.
While the ladies take front and center, the rest of the demon fighting team are anything but secondary. There’s Scott who is too pretty for his own good with more than a touch of healing magic. He’s the voice of reason when it comes to forcing the issue of Aveda and Evie’s unhealthy relationship. There’s Nate, demonologist, and resident team doctor. He looks for rhyme, rationality, and logic in the supernatural occurrences around the city and has an uncanny habit of picking fights with Evie. Every superhero needs a trainer (because how else are you going to make your next fight scene go viral?) and Lucy of the many knives and smooth pick-up lines is the best in the business. And no family is complete without the teenager hellbent on bring the hormonal mayhem and keen social media skills to the table. Not giving anything away, I have to admit I found myself wondering about each team member in turn and hoping for more info with every side story and hilarious contribution to the main character’s life. All her characters are three-dimensional and interesting. You feel pulled into the drama but not buried under it.
Sarah Kuhn wastes no time creating a world I want to visit and a superhero headquarters where I’d love to hang. There are killer demon cupcakes for goodness sake. Her heroes are unique, her style addictive and the story direction quick paced and engrossing. This is a wonderful start to a series and I can’t wait to see what happens next.
Rating: 5 out of 5