Heroine Complex by Sarah Kuhn (Heroine Complex #1)
Publisher: DAW Books
Release Date: July 5, 2016
Summary: 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.
My Thoughts: Heroine Complex follows Evie Tanaka, assistant to her superhero best-friend Aveda Jupiter! When problems arise, Evie has to take over for Aveda and learns more about herself when she’s tasked with filling in for her best friend. With humor, mystery, and themes of family and friendship, Heroine Complex is a fun and action-packed adventure!
After having read No More Heroes and now Heroine Complex, I’m happy to be getting back into superhero books again!! Heroine Complex book had been on my tbr for some time and I’m so glad I finally read it! It was the perfect mix of comedy, action, and adventure! ❤
Evie Tanaka is the assistant to Aveda Jupiter, San Francisco’s beloved superhero! Both Evie and Avenda have been friends since they were little. Now in their 20’s, they work as part of a team to keep San Francisco safe from demons that take on forms depending on their surroundings.
Told through 1st person POV, we follow Evie as she fills in for Aveda (as she recovers from an injury) one night and finds herself unleashing a super power she’d hoped would have been better left forgotten. Now Evie finds herself taking on a role she never wanted all while helping Aveda’s image with her fans!
What was great about the POV, was the real and comedic voice Evie had! It was great being in her head and reading about her journey on becoming a hero. This also gave so much depth to the characters and plot, it all really came on the page! Aside from that, we better understand the stress she’s put under and how she’s almost hidden in Aveda’s shadow. She is an intelligent, funny, and compassionate person who better understands herself as the novel progresses and it was great to read how much she grew and came to accept who she is.
What I also loved about the writing-style was the fun/superhero vibe it had, which really delivered a perfect atmosphere to the story!
The group dynamic was one of my favorite parts of this novel! Aside from Aveda and Evie, there’s also Nate, the scientist/healer of the team, Lucy, who joins Evie in assisting during Aveda’s battles with demons, Scott who’s an expert with magic, and Bea Evie’s little sister, who joins the team soon after!
Its clear there’s such a strong bond between Evie and the team, with the humor, banter, and support they offer each other all throughout the story. Just reading Evie build the bonds with her team, especially Aveda and her sister Bea was wonderful to read about.
Throughout the story its clear that Aveda does manipulate + demand Evie to do a lot of tasks for her, it was clear that the Aveda’s demands were beginning to put a lot pressure on Evie, as she struggled to better understand who she was, while not only taking care of Aveda, but her younger sister Bea all by herself. Evie slowly, but surely finds the confidence to forge her own identity and better understand who she is and not only see herself as Aveda’s assistant.
Over the course of Heroine Complex, Evie stand up for herself and calls out Aveda for the toxic behavior she shows in their complex friendship. While they have history and really care for each other, it was great to see Aveda finally understand the manipulative ways of her behavior and see the both of them strengthen their friendship even more as they supported and were there for each other.
It was so great to see diversity in this story! There’s Evie & her sister Bea who are 1/2 Japanese, Aveda who’s Chinese, and Lucy who’s lesbian!
While I’ve seen many YA bloggers talk about this book, I went into this novel not knowing it is more Adult/NA (but that didn’t bother me, its just something I figured out as I read). So, there is a romantic story line with Evie and another character, with sex, discussions of sex, but it was also great to read that there was also discussion of sex-positivity in this novel!
There was so much to plot, from the demon’s the team must take down, to Evie learning to accept herself and her abilities, growing closer with her team and them growing closer with each other to keep San Francisco safe from the demons and it was great to read Kuhn pack so much into this story!
There was never a dull moment and I loved how many different sides there were of Heroine Complex to tell! It was also great to see the impact of blogging/media on Aveda and her image as a superhero, it was a unique and interesting aspect I enjoyed reading about.
I will admit I did find the pacing to be rather slow, hence the 4-stars and it would have been great to get a little more development on the super powers/demons as they got discussed even more over the course of the story!
Aside from that…
Heroine Complex is a delightful superhero and urban fantasy story! There are strong themes of friendship, family, self-identity, and finding yourself! With so much character and story depth, this action-packed, heroic adventure was such a fun and immersive read!