Review: Heroine Complex by Sarah Kuhn


Heroine Complex by Sarah Kuhn // VBC ReviewHeroine Complex (Heroine Complex #1)
Sarah Kuhn
Published: July 5, 2016 (DAW)
Purchase: Book Depository or Amazon

Review source: copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review 

Reviewed by: Jannelle

Rating (out of 5): 4 stars

Evie Tanaka is the personal assistant of San Francisco’s superhero mascot Aveda Jupiter. While Evie is happy to help run every aspect of her best friend Aveda’s life in the shadow of her spotlight, an accident requires Evie to take Aveda’s place. Soon, Evie is Aveda (through magic that allows Evie to look like her) and she’s the one fighting the demons, showcasing her very own super power.

Of course, nothing is ever as easy as simply fighting demons trying to take over your city. Evie also has her younger sister to worry about, who she is legally responsible for, along with various friendships and a romantic possibility she isn’t exactly keen on welcoming just yet.

This isn’t the story about a long-loved superhero saving the world or an underling rising up through the ranks and making a name for themselves alone. In a way, it’s a mix of both stories and none in the same. While the protagonists all have some kind of super power, their struggles are very human. Of course, this is usually the case with other superhero stories, but there is usually a paranormal element in there somewhere. In Heroine Complex, if it weren’t for the super powers and fighting off demon cupcakes, the novel would have read and been understood the same if the world was restructured to fit into our world, without the powers.

There’s some beautiful character development here; Evie transforms throughout the novel. Granted, some of it feels obvious in its progression because superhero-esque novels are slightly predictable, but Heroine Complex isn’t your average superhero novel.

Evie’s backstory and relationship with Aveda is vital to understanding and appreciating her development (and Aveda’s, as well). While sometimes it felt like overkill on the reminiscing of past events, I can understand its necessity in the overarching storyline and development in Evie’s character.

I also feel like an important element in Evie’s development can be attributed to her romantic relationship with Nate. Nate is consistently pushing Evie, making her recognize aspects of herself she had previously ignored. Also, the tension between those two was pure heat. I loved the ease with which Kuhn created their natural pull toward one another.

Honestly, from the cover and the synopsis, I was expecting a young or new adult novel. Neither one were a problem for me, but it was surprising to find that our protagonist Evie was in her mid-twenties and this was definitely not a YA novel (if the graphic sex scenes were any sign); mostly because Evie’s personality reads as if she’s still in high school or starting college, as she is constantly revisiting past events from her grade school years.

I loved the action in Heroine Complex, which definitely read as if I was watching an action film. I wouldn’t say that it was a fast-paced plot, but the action and ‘battle scenes’ helped move the storyline forward in a way that felt natural and necessary to the overarching story, which helped create a steady-paced plot with no dragging.

Overall, Heroine Complex was a surprising find that was easy to read, imitating well-loved summer superhero blockbusters. The romance, action, and the fact that I was reading about a female heroine—versus the usual male kind—had me hooked to my Kindle screen. If you’re into superheroes, or looking for a contemporary-esque light summertime read, you need to pick up Heroine Complex.

Sexual content: graphic sex

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