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 delightful, fast paced, and a breathe of fresh air. The opening fight scene involves demonic cupcakes – what else could you want??
Heroine Complex has a little bit of everything: two female Asian American protagonists, a fast paced action driven plot, superhero powers, a lesbian secondary character, fantastic love stories, and thrilling sex scenes that include safe sex! 10 points for writing in condoms!
I loved that the two lead female protagonists were Asian Americans. Sarah Kuhn made sure that her readers were aware of their ethnicity in true and authentic ways. We get insight into the struggles both women faced as Asian Americans growing up in San Francisco, seeing how important The Heroic Trio film was to them as both children and young adults because it had leading characters who looked like them. “Everybody deserves to see themselves in stories,” says Kuhn, who identifies as “hapa,” or half-Japanese.
There are ongoing discussions in the literary blog-sphere about diversity and the lack of diversity in books, and these discussions need to happen until publishers start listening to us. As a white person, I have come to realize that any time a book does not specifically mention the race or ethnicity of a character, I unconsciously picture or assume that they are white; this is a very easy thing to do if you have never felt excluded and this assumption comes from a position of power. Imagine how this feels for people who are not white. When you recognize yourself in everything, from primary school curriculum to summer reading lists to movies and entertainment, “those reflections are like a house of mirrors, distorted into countless shapes and sizes, but born of only one.” It is important to point out the race and ethnicity of characters and to feature non-white characters because that is the reality we live in. We do not live in monotone world – we live in an increasingly diverse world. We do not live in a post-racial America; race matters and influences the experiences you have when you step outside your front door. Our literature should reflect this world. So, thank you Sarah Kuhn for writing a diverse superhero story that reflects modern America. We need more of this.
Heroine Complex is a fun page-turner that manages to stay relevant and fresh despite the demons and fantasy/superhero elements. I enjoyed this as an adult. I think I would have loved it as a teenager. Other adults will enjoy Heroine Complex, but if you know a teenager then get a copy of this book into their hands asap! Heroine Complex is best served with a side of Spam Musubi and should be followed up with a screening of The Heroic Trio.
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
Title: Heroine Complex (Heroine Complex #1)
Publisher: DAW (July 2016)
Genre: Fantasy, Superhero, Humor, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Fiction
Read… over the course of a lazy weekend in between… Game of Thrones binging sessions.
Purchase your copy here.
Author: Sarah Kuhn