Heroine Complex by Sarah Kuhn

Received an e-ARC from the Berkeley Publishing Group/DAW via NetGalley. All the gushing in this review is my own and it is WELL-DESERVED.

Okay, I’m going to paste the summary from Amazon here because it does a good job and then I get can get to the really fun stuff.

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.

This is an awesome fantasy superhero novel. While Aveda can be an outlandishly self-absorbed character, Evie is so real, flaws and all. She has a tight lid on her emotions and stress, which means she can perfectly handle Aveda’s moods and ridiculousness. But when she has to temporarily step into Aveda’s shoes, the lid on her emotions loosens and her character grows into this wonderfully fun, assertive woman and I love it.

There are other people that work at Aveda’s superhero headquarters and I liked them all. There’s Lucy, the gay woman in charge of fighting, training, and weapons who is always trying to get under Evie’s tough exterior and get encourage her to go out and get laid. There’s Bea, Evie’s little sister, who is constantly dodging school and getting into trouble. Nate is the beefy scientist who works in the lab studying the demon portals, who is always irritating Evie with his reliance on data and reason instead of instinct and guesswork. And lastly there’s Scott, the longtime friend of Evie who can do some spellwork and prefers to generally stay far away from Aveda and her tantrums. It’s such a fabulous cast of characters who work so well together and all play a crucial part in the story.

Two things really put this book over the top for me, so that it’s so much more than just a fun fantasy novel. So much of the core is about Evie and Aveda’s friendship and Evie’s role as caretaker and sister to Bea. There’s a spotlight on female friendships and it’s a beautiful thing, and something I deeply appreciated. The second thing is how Evie’s relationship status changes. I don’t want to call it a romance arc, because it didn’t feel that way. She slowly becomes attracted to a guy and has some awesome sexy times. She makes her desires and preferences for a purely sexual relationship known, and even though it’s adorable when it grows into something more I loved that she was so clear in her standards. She didn’t fall headfirst into a relationship in which the parameters were set by the man. Their sparkling chemistry made me grin, but it never overshadows the entirety and focus of the novel – which is of course bad-ass ladies fighting demons and saving the world.

Heroine Complex is full of fun, feminist superhero action. It comes out on July 5th, and I already have my own copy pre-ordered.  I can’t recommend it highly enough.




  1. Oh yeah, I can’t wait to read this. I have been hearing much buzz in the sci-fi feminist twittersphere about this book, and I’m allllll about it. Ladies hanging out with ladies! Superheroes having personal assistants! BRING IT.


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