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HEROINE COMPLEX: Review and Giveaway

Heroine Complex - CoverOne of the best things about writing for DAW is that they occasionally shoot me an ARC or finished copy of one of their new releases. Which is how I got my hands on an advanced review copy of Sarah Kuhn‘s debut novel Heroine Complex [Amazon | B&N | IndieBound].

The cover shows a scene from the beginning of the book, in which our two heroines take on a group of demonic cupcakes. Which should tell you most of what you need to know. But for the sake of completeness, here’s the publisher’s description:

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 secret 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.

Review: This is a fun read. It took me a few chapters to get drawn into the story, but the more Evie started settling into her role as substitute hero, the more I was hooked. There’s a nice balance of demon-fighting action and actual character-building and messed-up relationships, including Evie and her best friend Aveda, Evie and her troubled sister, Evie and her romantic interest (a demon-studying scientist who raided Neil Gaiman’s wardrobe), as well as a lot of secondary relationships and interactions.

The violence is all relatively light. There’s also some sexual content.

I suspect you’ll have some readers complaining, “Why aren’t there more male characters? Why are the only guys the love interests and background players?” I also suspect many other readers will find those complaints to be a strong recommendation for reading the book.

Some revelations were a bit predictable, though there were also twists I didn’t see coming. And that’s okay. This isn’t a story that attempts to be super-deep and mysterious and profound. It’s an unapologetically fun story of two Asian-American women fighting demon cupcakes in San Francisco and doing their best to save the world.

Read an excerpt.

Giveaway: DAW sent me not one, but two ARCs of this book. So I figured one of them should go to a reader. If you’re interested, leave a comment about your favorite superheroine. I’ll pick a winner at random and mail you a copy early next week.


Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.


( 25 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 4th, 2016 09:23 pm (UTC)
Aug. 4th, 2016 09:28 pm (UTC)
Well known: Black Widow.
Lesser-known: seanan_mcguire's Velveteen. (I've said "F*cked up times five thousand" at least once...)
Aug. 4th, 2016 10:47 pm (UTC)
Velveteen!!! (cheers)
Aug. 5th, 2016 01:45 am (UTC)
Agreed. Velveteen, hands down.
Aug. 4th, 2016 10:48 pm (UTC)
I have to say my favorite superheroine is Seanan McGuire's Velveteen. Who just keeps getting everything heaped on her, but is too stubborn to quit or lay down and die. I can only covet her level of exhausted grit.
Aug. 4th, 2016 10:51 pm (UTC)
Wonder Woman! When I was a child, I would go around with my Easter skipping rope tied in my belt loop pretending it was the Lasso of Truth. I'm the same age as you are, so that shows you how long ago that was. LOL

(As an aside, it was rare that I actually used those skipping ropes for actual skipping. I got one every year, and they became the Lasso of Truth, Barbie carnival rides, mountain climbing gear, etc.)
Aug. 4th, 2016 10:51 pm (UTC)
She-Hulk. Byrne era. (She breaks the fourth wall regularly. And battles toads from outer space. What is not to love?)
Aug. 4th, 2016 10:59 pm (UTC)
This week my favorite superheroine is Ms. Marvel. Last week, it was Squirrel Girl. Next week, it will probably be someone else.

It's so hard to choose.
Aug. 4th, 2016 11:33 pm (UTC)
That was such a fun book! (I read it from NetGalley)
(Deleted comment)
Aug. 5th, 2016 05:12 am (UTC)
Hear, hear!!! G. Willow Wilson rocks, and I LOVE Kamala Khan as Ms. Marvel!
Aug. 4th, 2016 11:42 pm (UTC)
If I can harken back to childhood, my favorite superhero is Meg Murry. If she isn't powerful enough, then Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle. For a more modern hero, I really like Storm. She's been a powerhouse and a leader in print since I was born, but I really got interested in her when Halle Berry played her.
Aug. 5th, 2016 12:43 am (UTC)
Aug. 5th, 2016 02:34 am (UTC)
I guess my favorite right now is a toss-up between Jessica Jones (from the Netflix show) and Garnet from Steven Universe.

And I would love a copy of the book!
Aug. 5th, 2016 03:02 am (UTC)
Ororo Munroe, 80s version with the mohawk--proving that you get to define yourself, and re-define yourself, regardless of others' expectations.
Aug. 5th, 2016 03:03 am (UTC)

I was a big Wonder Woman fan as a kid. These days I tend to like ordinary girl stuck amid superhero stories or smart girl without powers does better than superheros around her more than real female superheros. Celia from After the Golden Age by Carrie Vaughn and Kitty Katt (from the ridiculously over the top but ridiculously fun Aliens series by Gini Koch) come immediately to mind (although they couldn't be more different).

Aug. 5th, 2016 06:51 am (UTC)
i too adore velveteen, but my true love is still probably death as written by neil gaiman.
Aug. 5th, 2016 04:55 pm (UTC)
Right now it's the CW's version of Supergirl. She's fantastic :)
Aug. 5th, 2016 05:37 pm (UTC)
I would love an ARC. My favorite superheroine? Does Buffy count? If not, Raven and Starfire from Teen Titans (the cartoon version).
Aug. 5th, 2016 06:24 pm (UTC)
Does Xena count as a super heroine? If so, she's my favorite. If not I've always enjoyed Batgirl. She's a librarian!
Aug. 6th, 2016 12:36 am (UTC)
I'm tempted to say Wendy Watson, but when it all comes down, I gotta go with the classic: Wonder Woman. From Superfriends and Lynda Carter on, she's the one.
Aug. 6th, 2016 12:17 pm (UTC)
Kitty Pryde. :)
Aug. 7th, 2016 12:52 am (UTC)
TOO HARD TO CHOOSE. But for right now, I'll chose Max from Dark Angel. ♥

This sounds delightful, thanks for the review!
Aug. 7th, 2016 04:34 am (UTC)
Does Velveteen count? Because really, army of Goodwill teddy bears and green plastic army men? That's badass.
Aug. 8th, 2016 11:19 pm (UTC)
Nimona by Noelle Stevenson!
Sylvia Mcivers
Aug. 10th, 2016 07:20 pm (UTC)
Wonder Woman. Merciful Minerva, I want her invisible airplane that can land, apparently, anywhere in the city.
( 25 comments — Leave a comment )


Jim C. Hines


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