Off the top of my head, I don’t think I’ve ever read a Urban Fantasy Comedy before. When you pick up an UF book you can usually anticipate some snark by the heroine, but they’re generally darker stories full of big evils and ass-kicking. Heroine Complex had the snarky heroine, and it even had the ass-kicking (kinda). What it wasn’t was dark. There was nothing scary, or sinister in this story. I mean, the first chapter kicks off with demon possessed cupcakes, for Pete’s sake. After the cupcakes we’re given a rundown on everyone’s crappy superpowers, (I mean, the ability to alter the temperature in a room, incrementally… not badass at all), and we’re introduced to a cast of characters that almost all have caricature personalities.
It’s the fact that everyone, and everything, is so over the top that it’s hilarious. Evie cracks jokes all over the place, but the jokes are only to cover up the fact that she’s terrified. She’s afraid of her own emotions, of connections, of failing. She’s afraid of hurting people. That fear has caused her to suppress her emotions entirely, and as the events of the story unfold we get to read her losing that control. It leads to sexy times with a super hottie, igniting sparks all over my kindle, and giving us the sweetest romantic scenes. It also leads to Evie finally standing up for herself and telling friends and enemies where they can shove it, something I wanted almost right from the beginning.
Speaking of Super Hotties, there’s actually two of them. Nate and Scott are both ridiculously hot, in very different ways. Despite the special spot that skater’s like Scott hold in my heart, I actually really fell for Nate. The sexy nerd trope just about trumps everything else, when it comes to fictional guy characters. Sexy Alpha Nerd = erupting ovaries.
All that aside though, what made Heroine Complex truly stand out was the fact that it was so different from 90% of all other UF out there. This felt like a comic book adapted into a novel, the only thing it was missing was the occasional glossy colored picture, to accompany the text. Something on the inside that’s similar to the image on the cover. The print version should totally have these pictures… Anyway, I digress. The concept of a portal releasing demons on our world, spreading lame super powers and terror all over, isn’t a concept that I’ve read before. If you have, please tell me where?
As a reader, UF has always been one of my favorite genres but I was feeling burnt out. Everything felt very familiar, like there was an Urban Fantasy guideline out there. It’s why I’ve always loved UF’s that were slightly different, like Anne Bishop’s The Others series, where Meg isn’t a fighter at all. She gets premonitions, but other than that she needs to be protected. Or Stacia Kane’s Downside Ghosts series, where Chess is addicted to drugs. Just like those books, in Heroine Complex Evie is a mess and I love that. It’s refreshing. Humans are messy.
There were a few things that I thought bent the rules of believablility, beyond the demon cupcakes of course. For instance, how were Lucky Charms almost always available for Evie? At the bar? In someone’s bedroom in the middle of the night? The world must have just kept an arsenal on hand for any occasion which found Evie in need of marbits. Still, somehow those inconsistencies actually made the story funnier and didn’t hinder it.
Bottom line – I loved this. I loved every second, and I cannot wait for the next installment! Gimme more!
Thank you to Berkley Publishing Group via Netgalley for providing an ARC copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Rating: = A-
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