on July 4th 2017
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Once upon a time, Aveda Jupiter (aka Annie Chang) was demon-infested San Francisco’s most beloved superheroine, a beacon of hope and strength and really awesome outfits. But all that changed the day she agreed to share the spotlight with her best friend and former assistant Evie Tanaka—who’s now a badass, fire-wielding superheroine in her own right. They were supposed to be a dynamic duo, but more and more, Aveda finds herself shoved into the sidekick role. Where, it must be said, she is not at all comfortable.
It doesn’t help that Aveda’s finally being forced to deal with fallout from her diva behavior—and the fact that she’s been a less than stellar friend to Evie. Or that Scott Cameron—the man Aveda’s loved for nearly a decade—is suddenly giving her the cold shoulder after what seemed to be some promising steps toward friendship. Or that the city has been demon-free for three months in the wake of Evie and Aveda’s apocalypse-preventing battle against the evil forces of the Otherworld, leaving Aveda without the one thing she craves most in life: a mission.
All of this is causing Aveda’s burning sense of heroic purpose—the thing that’s guided her all these years—to falter.
In short, Aveda Jupiter is having an identity crisis.
When Evie gets engaged and drafts Aveda as her maid-of-honor, Aveda finally sees a chance to reclaim her sense of self and sets out on a single-minded mission to make sure Evie has the most epic wedding ever. But when a mysterious, unseen supernatural evil rises up and starts attacking brides-to-be, Aveda must summon both her superheroine and best friend mojo to take down the enemy and make sure Evie’s wedding goes off without a hitch—or see both her city and her most important friendship destroyed forever.
I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Please note that this review may contain spoilers for the first book, Heroine Complex.
Heroine Worship is the 2nd book in Sarah Kuhn’s Heroine Complex series. In the first book, aptly titled Heroine Complex, our main character is Evie. Evie is assistant to superheroine Aveda Jupiter, her best friend since kindergarten, although in recent years Evie had become more like a servant to Aveda. In her book, Evie finally starts to emerge from her introverted shell and into her own superpowers that she has been trying to suppress for years, and in the meantime, finds romance and her voice.
I have to admit, I liked book one, but I struggled to read it as more than just a casual read, meaning I put it down constantly and it took me awhile to get through. Not quite sure if this was actually the fault of the book, but I had a hard time getting into the rhythm of it. This was not the case with Heroine Worship. In this 2nd book, the point of view switches to Aveda Jupiter (aka Annie Chang). I wasn’t particularly enamored of Aveda/Annie in the first book. She was sort of made out to be a vapid, barely tolerable jerk. And she was constantly a douche to the person who was supposed to be her best friend on the planet. I now know she sort of had to be that way to set up book two, but you really wanted to strangle her at times. So, it piqued my interest when I discovered that Aveda/Annie was actually our main character for the 2nd book. I figured that this was her chance to become a fully fleshed out character.
In Heroine Worship, Aveda is trying to redeem herself for past misdeeds and become a more attentive and better person, not to mention better friend all around. As Evie gets engaged to Nate, the romantic leading man in the first book, Evie asks Aveda to be her maid of honor. Determined to prove to Evie that she is still a great best friend, and person, she decides she is going to become the best maid of honor there ever was. Of course, things definitely do not go as planned as someone is possessing brides to be in San Francisco and it is up to Aveda, Evie, and the rest of the team to figure out who and why before San Francisco is taken over for good.
This was such a fun book! It was a fast-paced, action-adventure romance, with a touch of urban fantasy, that also features prominently superheroines who are women of color. It is partially about the rise of this dynamic superhero team, which is made up of more than just Evie and Aveda, but it is also largely about personal relationships. Aveda has been trying to suppress Annie for so long because she felt that Annie was insecure and not at all like the flamboyant, outspoken, tough woman Aveda Jupiter portrays and what she believes the people want. In the course of the book she has to come to terms with the fact that Aveda is just a facet of her personality, but Annie is, in fact, still the real her and in the course of discovering that, she realizes that the she totally rocks. She also discovers she has a found family in her superhero team, who truly love her even though she drives them crazy from time to time. Annie starts to allow herself to be open to all relationships, including a romantic relationship that was set up in the first book, and the healing of the relationship with her family, particularly with her mom.
As an added bonus, this book contains a bunch of geeky pop culture references. You can tell Sarah Kuhn is truly a geek girl at heart and loves what she does. Being a geek girl myself, I personally loved all the references. There were even a few I had to look up. So, if you enjoy books where the writing style is quick, smart, and snappy, the romances are cute, and the friendships are real, then I highly recommend delving into this series. The third book in the series is set to release sometime in 2018.
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