Author: Sarah Kuhn
Genre: Adult // Urban fantasy // SUPERHEROES
Series: Heroine Complex #1
Goodreads rating: 3.69
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
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.
Heroine Complex is as far as I know very unknown and very, very underrated. I hadn’t heard of it and was very lucky to see it at the bookstore. The bright colours obviously captured my eyes, then I read ‘Heroine’ and then I noticed that the two girls on the cover looked East-Asian?? Then I read the summary and the name was Japanese?? So Asian female superheroes, how could I not take this home with me? (also I had two book vouchers and had worked a lot that week so I could afford it)
I’m happy to say that it didn’t disappoint. I was a bit wary when I realised it was an adult book, as I’m usually not very fond of those because well, I’m not fond of sex scenes. There is some sex in this book, but I easily skipped the scene when I realised it was going into details and other than that it was all just mentioned or talked about, nothing too bad.
But let’s start from the beginning. While this is a superhero story and there’s also a romance, what I really liked is that the relationship between Evie and Aveda is at the core of the story. Evie and Aveda have been best friends since they were little and Aveda always had Evie’s back. The memories of what Aveda has done for Evie throughout the years are heartwarming to read and also helps you understand why Evie goes through such lenghts for Aveda, though it also makes you wonder if their relationship isn’t a little bit toxic. Other characters point this out as well, but what’s great is that at some point Evie stands up for herself, points it out to Aveda, and Aveda listens, apologises, and their friendship only becomes stronger for it. There’s an adorable scene where they go out, where it feels like they’re just two best friends instead of boss and employee and two superheroes with the fate of San Francisco at the weight of their shoulders. It really made me fall in love with their friendship and I can’t wait to see more of these two in the sequel.
Both women went through some amazing growth: Evie becoming more sure of herself, coming to terms with her powers, being able to stand up for herself, and Aveda realising she’s been way too caught up in her reputation and that she hadn’t been treating her best friend very well.
While Aveda obviously had her flaws, I couldn’t help but love her. I definitely didn’t approve of the way she manipulated Evie, the moment I read Evie’s memories of Aveda standing up to their racist classmates and eating all the food Evie’s parents made, or jumping up the stage and grabbing the mic from the band because Evie wanted to hear a particular song at a school dance, I just couldn’t help but fall in love with her. She’s incredibly hardworking and knows what she wants, but she still has her insecurities and just wants to be approved and loved.
The romance between Evie and her love interest (while it’s pretty obvious who it is I don’t want to give it away in case you don’t want to know going in) is really good. I didn’t expect to fall in love with them as much as I did, but boy did I. It builds up throughout the novel, they get to know each other better, communicate, support each other, tease each other and it’s just?? So pure?? They also admit their mistakes to each other and apologise.
Besides Aveda and her love interest, Evie also has a great friendship with Aveda’s body guard Luisa (who is a lesbian!) and her other childhood friend Scott, and is also struggling with her relationship with her teenage sister. Speaking of her sister, towards the end of the book she made a decision that I felt was kinda… random? I thought it was a bit much, but maybe she just didn’t think it through. I loved that she was really smart and finding her place among the group, and even though she and Evie didn’t always see eye to eye, they definitely loved each other.
While I absolutely loved the fun, comic book vibes the book had going on, I did wish that the villain didn‘t feel cartoonish. I couldn’t really take them seriously, which meant the stakes didn’t feel that high to me, which wasn’t the case at all! San Francisco and it’s citizens were at stake after all, and thus the main characters as well, but it was just hard for me to really take it seriously.
Another thing that I had a bit of a problem with, was the lack of character descriptions. Evie and Aveda were described (and on the cover) but either I missed it, or I have no idea what the other characters looked like. I went back several times to see if I missed it, so I could’ve overlooked it, but I think they just weren’t described, which was really annoying because I didn’t know how to imagine the characters besides Evie and Aveda. It’s a small thing though and didn’t ruin the book at all for me.
I definitely fell in love with this book. It had a bit of a slow beginning, but once I got into it I couldn’t stop reading. If you haven’t yet, I urge you to pick this book up.
Have you read Heroine Complex yet? What did you think of it? Who’s your favourite superhero? Let me know in the comments!