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 rating: 4/5 stars
Pros: Good characters, Interesting plot, Good worldbuilding
Cons: Evie/Nate instalove, Nate’s instacharacterdevelopment, Twist about [Redacted] was almost too unexpected
If you’ve read my review for Not Your Sidekick, you know I love that book. Heroine Complex is not Not Your Sidekick, but it is a wonderful book as well. I believe, though, that when I first started reading it, I started comparing it in my head to Not Your Sidekick, which somewhat ruined my enjoyment of the book. So if you’ve read Not Your Sidekick and want to read Heroine Complex, please don’t make the same mistake I did and compare the two books. They’re both wonderful books in their own right and shouldn’t be compared to each other. (Even if they are both about superheroes 🙂 )
Now that I’ve gotten that little disclaimer out of the way, let me tell you why I loved this book.
First of all, the characters. I love good characters, as you know if you’ve read my reviews before. (If not, welcome. Enjoy your stay on my blog.) Evie is a great main character, even if I sometimes wanted to shake her and say “You have a superpower! That is awesome! Embrace it!” (Though I did understand her reasons for being reluctant to do so.) Evie is caring, passionate, loyal, intelligent, and always willing to stand up for what–and who–she believes in. Aveda is a great secondary character, though she has her annoying moments. Still, her flaws just make her realistic and she’s also caring, passionate, loyal, and intelligent, and always willing to stand up for what–or who–she believes in just like Evie. I adore Lucy. She’s sweet, funny, caring, loyal, and badass. Scott is great. He’s sweet, intelligent, caring, and loyal. Bea also has her moments but overall she’s cool. She’s intelligent, determined, sensitive, and caring. You may have noticed I didn’t mention Nate yet but I do like him. He’s a sweet guy (eventually) and is obviously intelligent and caring (eventually). He’s just not my favorite, sorry. I’ll get into the reasons why later on in this review. In general, I adore the characters in this book and love reading about them.
Second of all, the plot. The plot is fast-paced but not too fast-paced. It’s great reading about Evie-as-Aveda’s superhero shenanigans as well as the ongoing mystery of the humanoid demons and the stones with messages on them. The ending to that mystery is a bit sudden for my taste but I’ll get into that later. Overall, I really enjoy the plot of this book and it is definitely never boring.
Thirdly, the worldbuilding. I like how the superpowers are explained as well as the demons. I feel like this version of San Francisco felt so real and realistic, despite all the superpowers and demons running around. Sarah Kuhn manages to integrate all the non-realistic elements in a realistic way and I love it.
Now, for the cons. Before I get into this section, I just want to say that I love this book. I think it’s great. I would definitely recommend it. So don’t let my cons section convince you otherwise. There are obviously things I dislike about the book but no book is perfect and the things I dislike do not mean I dislike the book itself. I love it.
Ok, so here we go.
First thing I did not like about the book: Evie & Nate’s relationship. Let me explain why. Firstly, as I mentioned in my The Sun Is Also A Star review, I am not a fan of instalove. Evie and Nate fit the definition of instalove (in my opinion) very well. They get together and fall “in love” without really getting to know each other. They get to know each other–a little–after they get together but not much before. In one scene, Nate says something that hurts Evie. He apologizes (which is good) and Evie goes from being mad at him for being a jerk to almost having sex with him in a closet. That’s just moving too fast for my taste. Afterwards they start a sexual relationship that eventually turns romantic. Even though time passes before their relationship is fully romantic, I do not feel like Evie and Nate got to know each other on any deep level during that time. I do not feel like Evie and Nate get to know each other on any deep level even by the end of the book. Basically, their relationship feels unromantic to me because I do not believe they even know each other or have any reason to be in love with each other. Obviously love isn’t exactly a rational thing but usually when characters fall in love, I can understand why because of the way the relationship develops. This is not the case at all with Evie and Nate. I still don’t know why they’re together besides the fact that Nate is single, straight, male, and not Scott (who Evie seems to view kind of as a brother figure). Their relationship eventually grew on me a little so I went from hating it to tolerating it to occasionally finding them cute. Overall, though, it isn’t a relationship I really love. I found myself shipping Evie & Aveda and Evie & Lucy far more than Evie & Nate. And it wasn’t just because they’re both ff ships either. It was because Evie dating either Aveda or Lucy would have made far more sense to me than her dating Nate because Evie actually knows Aveda/Lucy (especially Aveda) and therefore I could understand how she could have feelings for either of them. Also, I care far more about Lucy’s love life than Evie’s since Lucy seems to have better taste in partners and I mean a cute ff relationship seems far more appealing to me than the Instalovey Straights. Then again I’m biased. (Get it, BIased?)
On a related note, Nate’s character development also went too quickly for my liking. I’m a big fan of character development and I’m glad for Nate’s sake (and Evie’s) that he did develop. However, I don’t believe his development happened naturally or at a pace that made sense. In the scene I mentioned before with him and Evie (the almost closet sex scene), he went from being a jerk in the previous scene to apologizing (which is, again, good), yet I, as a reader, was left wondering why. That’s the word that sums up Nate’s character development for me. “Why?” Why does he develop from being annoying to being nice? Why does he have feelings for Evie? Why? Just why. I feel like I don’t know Nate much as a character in general. I don’t know why he was a jerk in the beginning. I don’t know why he stopped being a jerk. I don’t know. And that really bothers me.
Finally, I felt like the twist about who the real demon threat is happened almost too quickly. I would have appreciated some foreshadowing or at least some hints earlier in the story that would make sense to the reader after knowing the ending. I did not personally feel like that happened. However, this is not really a big deal to me. In the end, Evie/Nate’s instalove and Nate’s far too quick and confusing character development are more important.
Overall, I did enjoy this book, despite my long and rambly cons section. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good superhero story.
I read this book for #DiversityBingo2017.