Everything is fine in the once demon-infested San Francisco – ever since the events in Heroine Complex three months ago. Everybody is happy in the small family built around heroines Evie and Aveda, and the team has been chilling out and taking a well-deserved break from fighting for their lives. Except that is, for Aveda Jupiter (aka Annie Chang) herself.
It’s hard not to be on a mission, saving the world all the time. It’s hard not to be needed – or not to be in the spotlight. It doesn’t help that Aveda still needs to deal with the fallout from her behavior as a less-than-optimal friend to Evie. Or that, all of a sudden, her crush Scott is giving her the cold shoulder. Maybe it’s time to renew and rethink priorities?
But Aveda is gonna Aveda: when Evie gets engaged, Aveda finds a new mission. She is going to be THE BEST maid-of-honor of all time, to prove once and for all that she is the best friend a person can have. And if she gets to save the world when a mysterious evil rises from the ashes, well that is only the cherry in the cupcake.
If only her inner Annie Chang voice would shut up about her insecurities.
Heroine Worship is a companion novel/sequel to last year’s Heroine Complex and is as delightful and fun as its predecessor. Catching up with the whole gang – the found family that BFFs Evie and Aveda built for themselves – is lovely and Sarah Kuhn does a superb job at incorporating all of them into the story to give a real feeling of support and friendship (to the point where I have a whole list of characters whose stories I want to see, including Evie’s little sister Bea and the heroines’ trainer Lucy).
But this book is really Aveda/Annie’s. It is her identity crisis that fuels and moves the story – balancing out a mystery-of-the-week superheroing case and Aveda’s personal and emotional arc. The latter is a roller-coaster and it beautifully mirrors the previous book. Evie used to suppress a part of her personality by being scared of her own superpowers but to Aveda her superpowers are who she thinks she is – or who she thinks she should be. She suppresses part of her personality, the Annie Chang one, the one she thinks will make her emotional and vulnerable. It’s in letting Annie out and making peace with her past – and her mistakes – that most of Aveda’s arc concentrates on. Oh, also in finding out just how hot Scott really is and allowing her feelings for him to resurface (plus, a Fake Engagement trope makes an appearance!).
It would be easy to write Aveda off as self-centered and narcissistic – and in a way she is an unlikeable heroine. I, for one, feel we need more flawed, interesting heroines like her, and I truly appreciate the work that the author did here with the character, and I ended up loving her just as much as I loved Evie.
Mixing fun superhero shenanigans with great teamwork and a well-developed (and hot) romance, Heroine Worship is a worthy sequel to one of my favorite books from last year. I am so ready for book 3 now.
8 out of 10