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.

11 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!

    • Christina Franke says:

      One of the accomplishments I’m most proud of in this life is convincing people to read October Daye tbh. It’s that important.

      Amandine’s been waiting in the wings since the very beginning. It’s amazing how much content there is in this world, without it feeling like Seanan’s stretching it out. I just love it so much.

      • Thelma says:

        Then it might please you to learn that I convinced my best friend to start the serie and she liked the first book ^^ (I’ve had a really pacted Seanan McGuire/Mira Grant year, she wanted to know what I was going on about)
        Of the few UF series I’m caught up on October Daye is one of the more planned ahead. I’m impressed how far she thought this out and it makes it all flow very well. Some of the twists in this serie blew me away. I need to reread it because I read it too fast the first time and I must’ve missed some stuffs. Anyway, thanks for putting this on my radar!

        • Christina Franke says:

          YASSSSSS. Convince all the people. Seanan deserves all the money, and so do her cats. What are your other top UF series? Kate Daniels obvs. Anything else I should know about? I’m less dialed in there.

          • Thelma says:

            I don’t know how you guessed Kate would be part of my list ^^ (oooops)
            My list of recommendations for UF isn’t very long because even though I’ve tried a few books over the years mostly they’ve been disapointements. I would recommend the Mercy Thompson serie. It’s the first one I’ve ever read so I’m fond of it. But now that I’m older and more aware I can see some problematic stuffs in it. I still think it’s worth the read. But it’s also worth a warning.
            I’d read anything Ilona Andrews. I binged The Edge serie over the summer and it was really good. The worldbuilding isn’t the classic ‘our world but with some supernatural creatures’; which is nice to see. They also came out with the Hidden Legacy serie, it leans more toward romance but still has a very good plot. And Nevada (the heroine) has an amazing family. I haven’t read the Innkeeper chronicles yet but that will probably happen next year (among some freaking out about Kate 10).
            I would, personally, pass on the Dresden Files. I know a lot of people love it but I read the first book earlier this year and damn. So sexist. I’ll spare you the details but I looked into it a bit and apparently it stays sexist. I decided to give up on it because I don’t want to waste my time on books like that.
            Another popular serie is the Fever serie. My best friend read it up to the end of the original serie? I think that’s book 5? I never got that far because the main character just got on my nerve a lot. But again : a lot of people enjoy it so maybe you’ll have fun with it?
            I think those are the main ones. I have plans to try others in the future but I’m on book ban for the rest of the year ^^ anyway, I hope my rambling helped and that you’ll keep trying UF despite my not so glowing recommendations.

          • Christina Franke says:

            Mercy Thompson has been on my list since back of the day, but I’ve never tried it. So hard to know which PNRs will really be worth it.

            I’ll very likely read all the other Andrews’ series when I finish Kate Daniels, assuming I continue to be into it. (I’m also okay with leaning more towards romance haha.)

            Ugh, I tried the first Dresden Files book years ago and DNFed. I do have the audiobook to try bc the narrator is good, but I don’t have a lot of hope.

            I’ve heard mixed things about the Fever series, mostly that they’re kind of garbage but really un-quittable after a certain point, maybe because of excellent trash ship? idk. I may dive in someday, but I’m not sure.

            I’ve read some seriously questionable pnr/uf, so no judgment haha.

            • Thelma says:

              I think the ship is the main appeal of the Fever serie. And from what I read… Yeah it’s trash. Which can be really fun if you don’t expect a masterpiece ^^
              I feel like Mercy is worth it because even if it has some flaws things evolve as books go on. Personally I think it gets better. And it also has some really complex characters (I get really attached to characters so I don’t think I’d be able to quit this serie because of that).
              Thanks for not judging ^^ I’ve read some weird stuffs over the years. It’s what makes pnr/uf fun, I never really know what I’m gonna get and even when I don’t like it I can generally laugh at some truly terrible sex scenes.

              • Christina Franke says:

                I’ll probably break and read the Fever books someday. Mercy’s definitely on my list.

                I can’t judge anyone, because I read seven or eight of the Merry Gentry books. :-p

                • Thelma says:

                  OOOoooooh I have heard of them. I haven’t read them because the Anita Blake turned me off that author. I have other series I didn’t quit until an embarrassing number of books though. (Okay, I’m lying, I still read some. But they’re always so much fun! How are we suppose to resist?)

  2. Shira says:

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

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