Fellow Cannonballer, Teresaelectro, first brought Heroine Complex to my attention. Then it was a featured book title for Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month at Mysterious Galaxy. I was about to go and to pick up May’s book order, when on a whim I called and asked if Heroine Complex was in stock. It was and I purchased it over the phone, to bring home with the books that were waiting at the store.
Due to events this year, I have found reading to be difficult but this book brought some of the magic back. As in, I couldn’t put it down and stayed up past my bedtime one night this week to read.
Heroine Complex is what I consider to be sci-fantasy, speculative fiction, with a dash of romance. In modern day San Francisco, a portal opened to the Otherworld and demons came out. The demons were defeated but the opening of the portal also brought super powers to some people in the city. However, the powers weren’t all that strong or impressive. For instance, one person could raise and lower the temperature in a room by a few degrees. While the big invasion seems to have been averted, minor portals still open somewhat regularly spilling out lesser demons.
Annie Chang, a Chinese American young woman, got tepid telekinesis, only able to move small objects and not very far. Her dream was always to become a superhero, despite the disapproval of her traditional parents. Annie seized the moment and turned herself into Aveda Jupiter, a top notch superheroine fighter who can punch and kick her way through demons. Several years later she is the beloved daughter of San Francisco and a minor celebrity.
Evie Tanaka is half Japanese, half American and childhood best friend of Aveda. From kindergarten onward their roles were defined, with Aveda being a brash and vocal defendant of Evie, and Evie being the supportive friend that understands Aveda best. Now, in their twenties, Aveda is the star demon destroyer and Evie is the wallflower assistant that deals with Aveda’s diva tantrums and making sure bills get paid. Not wanting the spotlight, Evie shrinks when the center of attention, for she harbors a secret she has a super power too. Unlike most powered people, Evie can do serious damage and whip out gouts of flame when under great stress. Her solution has been to lock down all feelings. If you can’t feel, you can’t get stressed, and potentially burn down a building, again.
Evie has multiple stressors on her plate. Raising her sixteen year old sister due to dead mother and absent father. Said sister lashing out by drinking and skipping school. Aveda making outrageous demands of Evie far beyond the normal realms of being an assistant. It’s no surprise when Evie can’t keep chill and her power comes out. Evie being openly powered puts strain on her relationship with Aveda. Using her power seems to have opened up parts of her that have been locked down for the past few years. And for the first time in as long, Evie feels the thrill of sexual attraction, complicated by it being for Nate, whom she has had a contentious relationship since he joined Team Aveda as the scientist part of Aveda’s superheroine business. When the team discover that a new type of demon maybe in San Francisco, Evie has to step up and come to peace with who she is to be able to protect the city.
Heroine Complex was a lot of fun to read and I look forward to the next book in the series! Tightly paced story, complicated relationships, good action, and a bit of romance. I highly recommend!