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.
The sequel to the Heroine Complex series centers the other half of the dynamic superhero duo, Annie or as she is better known, Aveda Jupiter. Annie has had to face some difficult truths at the end of Heroine Complex, especially about how she was treating her best friend Evie. Now, in a demon-free San Francisco, Annie feels sort of extraneous and is itching to get some superhero action going. But when there is nothing to be done, she can’t help but wallow and try to be the best friend she can be. So when she is named maid of honor for a newly engaged Evie, her overachieving self throws all effort into making it a day for her best friend to remember.
Annie makes great strides in this book, starting from a place where she feels being Aveda is the best representation of herself and eschewing her past as an insecure girl. She keeps people at a distance and her perfectionist streak doesn’t allow her to admit flaws or let anyone see them. So when Scott is back in her life, she starts to fear falling back into the patterns of being Annie. When a new form of demon starts attacking brides everywhere, she takes up the charge to protect Evie from it, thereby hoping to prove how brilliant Aveda is, and how being Annie is not the right thing for her. A lot of her insecurities pop from being a woman of color, having the need to constantly please everyone in her life, while also maintaining her position as a cool collected woman. Being loved is not something that comes easily to her, and she learns to give up the facade of being perfect and just being herself.
The plot of this book is, well, ridiculous in some parts as it lends more to a comic style than a serious superhero movie (looking at you, DC) and there are some tropes I like and some that I don’t. Overall, though, it is a great sequel to an awesome book.
Content warning: As the book contains sex scenes, this is not recommended for younger teens. Reader discretion advised.
Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review from Berkley Publishing Group, via Netgalley.
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