Heroine Worship (Heroine Complex #2), by Sarah Kuhn
Please note that this is a sequel and you might get spoiled if you keep reading further and haven’t read the first book yet.
Description: (from Penguin Random House)
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. […]
Publication date: July 4th 2017.
A review copy (eARC) of this book was provided by the publisher through Netgalley. Some things might change in the final copy.
Reminder that my review for the first book in the Heroine Complex series is here.
In Heroine Worship, the perspective shifts and we get Aveda Jupiter/Annie Chang’s point of view. She’s not The San Francisco super heroine anymore: while she’s sharing the spotlight with her friend Evie, there are also no more demons to fight. This sequel doesn’t have as much action in the first half but does a great work in dealing with the aftermath of the first book events. Evie and Aveda/Annie relationship has started to get better, but acknowledging there was a problem isn’t enough. This book deals a lot with Aveda/Annie trying to be a better friend, stepping down from the spotlight and getting to term with who she is.
This means that Aveda/Annie isn’t the same kind of main character Evie was, while I loved to get in her head and follow her struggles, she can be perceived as an unlikable character. I found this amazing, because it showed how hard it is to always try and be the best, especially as an Asian woman. Aveda/Annie tries to live as an icon, to try and do her best to be better, to be the best in everything. Now that she’s understood her friendship skills were pretty bad, that’s where her perfectionism will bring her to do more.
“If you’d asked me who I was a few months ago, I could have answered confidently: professional superheroine and city-saver with an aptitude for powerful roundhouse kicks and excellent outfits. Now I’d be more likely to say: professional identity-crisis-haver adrift in a city that doesn’t currently need superheroes – and maybe never will again.”
For anyone who liked the first book but felt icky about the unresolved issues, be it the friendship or the family relationships, Heroine Worship is a great read. I’m only a little bit disappointed because some things were easy to see coming, and the overall plot regarding the supernatural activities wasn’t as engaging as in the first book.
Once again, the romance isn’t the central focus of the story but still hold a significant place. Scott, mage/healer/surfer, becomes the love interest here. I liked to learn more about him, where his friendship with both girls comes from, and the second-chance he and Aveda/Annie give themselves. There were quite a few hot moments between the two, and what I like most is how the fact that Aveda/Annie is physically stronger than him is not an issue. There’s also the fake engagement trope in this book, and while I’m not overly fan of weddings and all of that, it was fun.
We also get more of Bea (Evie’s sister) and I really grew to like her even more. I’m pretty sure I saw on twitter that the third book will be about her and I’m overjoyed about that!
“Sorry, hashtag ‘not all brides’”, Bea said. “And anyway, the blame really should be put on the wedding industry and, like, society for stressing ladies out and giving them a bridal complex, all in the name of attaining some imaginary ideal of perfection.”
While it felt very different than Heroine Complex, Heroine Worship still had all the elements that made me love the first book. Fun dialogues, a lot of pop-culture references (Star Trek!), a great duo of Asian American super heroines… And the found family feel was even stronger in this sequel!
Here’s an aesthetic board I tried to make on tumblr about this book ❤