Review – Heroine Complex

Posted 9 January, 2018 by Nikki in Reviews / 6 Comments

Cover of Heroine Complex by Sarah KuhnHeroine Complex, Sarah Kuhn

I got this to review at some point, but I also bought a copy… a fact which I now regret. Okay, there’s a lot of cool things about it: female Asian protagonists who kick ass in different ways, a casually queer character, bitey flying cupcakes, the main character talks frankly about anxiety… And for quite a while I was enjoying it a lot.

It’s just, I don’t like reading books where people like me are called dead inside, even in jest. I’m sure the main character isn’t intended to be read as asexual — it’s mostly that she’s forced herself not to feel in order to control her powers (let it go, let it go, can’t hold it back anymore…) — but the lack of sexual attraction to people she describes is my every day and whole life. And I’m okay with that; it doesn’t bother me or my partner, and I don’t think I’m broken because of it (anymore). It’s just the way I’m made.

It’s not my “Dead-Inside-O-Tron”.

Yes, that’s what Evie calls her lack of sexual attraction — her “Dead-Inside-O-Tron”. Neatly calls up two stereotypes about people who aren’t interested in sex: that we’re robots, and that we’re dead inside. And before you protest that nobody says that, I saw it twice on my twitter the day I was reading this book.

I kept going for a while with the book, but when I put it down to go out and came back, I found that I was just tired of it. Tired of the romance scenes punctuated by Evie wondering why her “Dead-Inside-O-Tron” had stopped working. I can get a person feeling that way and calling it that; I can understand that it’s not targeted to hurt people like me by reiterating the whole “you’re dead inside” meme. It doesn’t mean I can keep enjoying the book.

Reader, I put it down. I have plenty of books to read that don’t remind me constantly that people think I’m a dead-inside robot.

The flying bitey cupcakes are still a cool image, though.

Rating: 2/5

Buy this book: Amazon UK | Amazon US | The Book Depository
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6 Responses to “Review – Heroine Complex”

  1. arbie

    I’d just like to say that I don’t believe you are dead inside or a robot: it’s entirely clear to me that you love your wife and animals and that you are a kind, compassionate person.

  2. Ouch, that must’ve been a painful read for you. Whether it was meant that way or not, it is still hurtful to feel you are being described as dead inside. I think if we aren’t sex obsessed, there are some nasty labels being thrown around. I do like the idea of bitey cupcakes though…
    chucklesthescot recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday-Must Read 2018My Profile

    • It’s not really hurtful to me personally these days, but it totally would’ve been a few years back — I believed the stuff about being dead inside or something back then! So that took the fun out of the whole thing for me.

  3. This book didn’t work for me either. Apart from being absurdly silly and not my type of humor at all, the Asian stereotypes annoyed me to no end. Oh yes, Asian parents only care about their kids’ grades and would disavow us if we didn’t get into med school! And when Evie said she was used to not letting herself feel because she’s Asian and knows all about emotional repression, that was just a huge eye roll moment for me. I’m sure the author meant it all in jest, but I just found it cheesy and unfunny.
    Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum recently posted…Top Ten 2017 Releases I Meant To Read But Didn’t Get To (But TOTALLY Plan To in 2018!)My Profile

    • Yes, that’s something that annoyed me a bit too, though I think it was lampshaded at times (e.g. where Evie protests they look nothing alike and Aveda says “oh we’re both Asian, you know what Westerners are like” or words to that effect).

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