I’ve been reading the Heroine Complex series since the beginning and love it so much. This latest sequel returns to Evie as she must confront the ghosts, quite literally, of her past. It’s also an emotional story about reconciling our fears of failure and the importance of being heard. Keep reading my book review of Haunted Heroine if you love this series as much as I do.
Everything in Evie Tanaka’s life is finally perfect. As a badass superheroine, she defends San Francisco from demon invasion on the regular. Her relationships with superhero partner Aveda Jupiter, little sister Bea, and hot, half-demon husband Nate have never been stronger. Maybe it’s possible for a grad school dropout turned put-upon personal assistant turned superhero to have it all?
As if things can’t get any better, Evie learns she’s pregnant. She’s overjoyed, but also worried about whether she’s cut out for motherhood. Before she can dwell on her dilemma too much, a women’s college reports a string of mysterious “hauntings,” and Evie and Aveda are called in to investigate. When the hauntings turn deadly, they decide to move into the dorms full-time, going undercover as grad students.
As she lives out a bizarre version of her grad school life, Evie can’t help but wonder about the road not taken: what would her life be like if she’d stayed here instead of pursuing superheroing with Aveda?
(Disclaimer: I received this book from Netgalley. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
TW: panic attacks
It’s been a while since I read the last Heroine Complex story, but Haunted Heroine reminded me why I love the series. It’s one of my favorite superhero series because of how emotional and endearing the characters. In Haunted Heroine, Evie has to confront her own past mistakes and failures. We think we’ve moved on from the past, that we’ve made peace with our ghosts, but then they come back to haunt us. They prove that they’ve never really left us.
In Haunted Heroine, Evie’s grappling with her past, her ex-boyfriend who was awful, and her decision to leave grad school balanced with her new fears of being a mother. Ghosts and hauntings aside, Haunted Heroine had moments that struck a chord within me. The burden of women of color to represent, and be perfect. Memories of being gaslight and having ex-boyfriends who thought they were more knowledgeable dismiss my opinion. And the influence of Asian American superheroes/representation growing up.
And Haunted Heroine continues things I love about this series like Aveda and Evie’s friendship, Evie’s relationship with her sister, Bea, and a great cast of queer side characters. I also found the representation of a side character friendship to be particularly emotional, not only because it reminds us of Evie and Aveda, but because it reminded me of some of my friendships. Establishing boundaries with each other, supporting even when we don’t agree, and that feeling of love and responsibility.