Thanks to NetGalley and DAW for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
Synopsis: 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, noisy 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 a creative and action-packed tale, that has plenty of humor, yet underneath explores the meaning and bonds of friendship. First, having two Asian-American superheroines was just so refreshing. Let’s face it. There’s not a lot of diversity in the universe of superheroes. That said, both Evie and Aveda drove me a little crazy at times. For the first part of the story Evie allowed herself to be treated like a doormat by her best friend. And for her part, Aveda has completely lost sight of why she wanted to become a superheroine to begin with. She’s more concerned with her appearance and gaining new fans and is obsessed with seeing herself on social media. There were times that I found their friendship completely unbelievable. But once Evie embraced her own superpowers and takes the driver’s seat, their relationship changes, and while things are a bit rocky for a while, in the end I wound up really liking both of them. The world-building is interesting with the story being set in an alternate San Francisco, where demon portals opening is a commonplace thing. When demons enter our world they imprint on the first thing they see which provides for some pretty funny scenes. As the story opens Aveda is furiously battling demon cupcakes, after a portal opens in a bakery. Believe it or not, cupcakes with teeth can be vicious! I have to be honest and say I did find the writing a tad juvenile at times, especially some of the dialogue between Evie and Aveda. They’re both twenty-six years old, but they sound more like teenagers at time. Overall though, I enjoyed Heroine Complex, and found it clever, quirky, and very different from what’s out there in terms of urban fantasy. While I love the cover, I do think it might lead readers to think that this is a YA novel. Because of the ages of the characters, strong language and some steamy sex scenes, it’s definitely not. I’d place it somewhere between New Adult and Adult fiction. I think if you’re a fan of comics, or tv shows like Buffy, Supernatural, Flash, Supergirl and Arrow, you should definitely give this a try. I’m looking forward to the next book in the series!