Size Doesn’t Matter (188): Heroine Worship; The Brightest Fell

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Size Doesn’t Matter (188): Heroine Worship; The Brightest FellHeroine Worship by Sarah Kuhn
Series: Heroine Complex #2
Published by DAW on July 4, 2017
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance
Pages: 384
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
AmazonThe Book Depository
Goodreads
three-stars

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.

When Evie gets engaged and drafts Aveda as her maid-of-honor, Aveda finally sees a chance to reclaim her sense of self and sets out on a single-minded mission to make sure Evie has the most epic wedding ever. But when a mysterious, unseen supernatural evil rises up and starts attacking brides-to-be, Aveda must summon both her superheroine and best friend mojo to take down the enemy and make sure Evie’s wedding goes off without a hitch—or see both her city and her most important friendship destroyed forever.

This series has the absolute best covers. Once again, this cover has actual scenes from the book beautifully illustrated. Thank you for this blessing, Penguin. Heroine Worship has all the humor and the delightful cast I fell in love with in book one, but this time the narrator is Aveda/Annie. There’s a strong emotional arc, but the plotting falls short in Heroine Worship.

Annie’s not as easy to love as Evie. That’s actually what the whole plot is about. Evie was funny and quirky, where Aveda’s defensive and controlling, even when she doesn’t mean to be. Now that the crew defeated the demons decisively in Heroine Complex and sealed off the portals to the demon world, they don’t have a whole lot to do. Aveda built her whole identity around Aveda Jupiter, and now she feels like she’s back to being just plain Annie Chang, and she’s chafing.

Kuhn does a great job with Aveda, who can be a tough character. She’s so strong and fierce and outspoken and confident that people forget she has her own weaknesses and fears. She’d tried her best to forget that herself. For basically all of the book, she’s going through an identity crisis, and she needs to learn to re-embrace Annie Chang, because going on full-on Aveda Jupiter made her a bit of an asshole and also wasn’t a healthy solution to self-loathing. It’s a relatable journey, especially in how she struggles with natural impulses. A lot of the bad things she does, she does with a desire to help, forgetting that what she wants isn’t necessarily what other people want.

Aveda and Scott have a pretty cute romance, but there tropes aren’t my catnip like Evie and Nate. Scott and Annie have both had feelings for each other for years, but, thanks to misunderstandings and grudge-holding, they’ve never acted on them. Kuhn does write great sexy scenes, but there aren’t as many of them in Heroine Worship as Heroine Complex. It is awesome that Scott doesn’t let her run away once they finally make it happen.

However, plotwise, this book has problems. The stakes are so low, considering that they’re fighting one demon as opposed to hordes in the first book. It doesn’t help that the demon ends up targeting brides and turning them into bridezillas, which is both silly and surprisingly sexist for a book promoting female superheroes. Literally the whole plot was a disappointment, but I enjoy the banter and sass of everyone enough that I was still entertained.

Heroine Worship wasn’t my favorite to the degree that Heroine Complex was, I still love this crew, and I am excited for more of this series. I already massively ship Bea and the boy she hates.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

 

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Size Doesn’t Matter (188): Heroine Worship; The Brightest FellThe Brightest Fell by Seanan McGuire
Series: October Daye #11
Published by DAW on September 5, 2017
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal
Pages: 368
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher
AmazonThe Book DepositoryAudible
Goodreads
four-half-stars

For once, everything in October “Toby” Daye’s life seems to be going right. There have been no murders or declarations of war for her to deal with, and apart from the looming specter of her Fetch planning her bachelorette party, she’s had no real problems for days. Maybe things are getting better.

Maybe not.

Because suddenly Toby’s mother, Amandine the Liar, appears on her doorstep and demands that Toby find her missing sister, August. But August has been missing for over a hundred years and there are no leads to follow. And Toby really doesn’t owe her mother any favors.

Then Amandine starts taking hostages, and refusal ceases to be an option.

Seriously, it’s kind of ridiculous and unfair how good this series is. It’s phenomenal. The way that McGuire manages to increase the tension and emotion across every single installment is nothing short of masterful. It’s just frustrating that when I yell at people to read this series, it’s hard to convince them that it’s worth giving it three books to really get its hooks in your heart. BUT IT IS SO WORTH IT.

In some ways, The Brightest Fell is much lower stakes than many of the prior books. Toby doesn’t have to save the world; she just has to save Tybalt, Jazz, and herself from her evil batshit bananaballs mother. However, if you have been following along (and if you know McGuire’s work), you know that these books can be most heart-stabby when no one’s actually dying. My feelings, they did some exquisite hurting. To counterbalance that, the opening karaoke scene is like the best and funniest thing ever.

Amandine has been looming as a major problem from very early on in the series, and she’s finally here and fucking shit up for reals. I was completely caught off guard by my feels about Simon and August, and I am so excited (and terrified) to see those relationships develop. It’s truly amazing how much fodder there still is for stories after 11 books. It’s fucking absurd how this series really doesn’t feel like it’s just trying to run forever but like it’s actually just got so much more to say.

The one thing I wasn’t as sold on was the April short story, because she just doesn’t have the most compelling voice, which I mean she’s half plant/half computer so I get it but.

I’m sort of at a loss for what to say about a series eleven books in without spoiling major things for folks who are idly reading. October Daye is one of my top series ever (up there with Harry Potter), it’s lgbt af, and I don’t know why you haven’t read it.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

 
Yes, Amandine. That’s a yes.

2 responses to “Size Doesn’t Matter (188): Heroine Worship; The Brightest Fell”

  1. Thelma says:

    I love seeing your reviews of Seanan McGuire’s books. Particularly the October Daye serie. It reminds me of me when I talk about my favorite author ^^
    I haven’t read The Brightest Fell yet but hearing about the ‘Simon and August feels’ make me even more impatient because I’ve wanted this book from the start. I just know that a book where Amandine has a more important role will destroy me and it will be great!

  2. Shira says:

    So, so happy that I read October Daye because of you! I love them so much. Thanks!!

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