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Heroine's Journey
by Sarah Kuhn
Daw, $15.00 TPB, 373 pp
Published: July 2018

Ever since the first demon portal appeared in San Francisco and imbued a handful of humans with super (demonesque) powers, Aveda and Evie have become the premier superheroes of San Francisco.  They have a team with other super-powered heroes including their lovers and Evie’s little sister, Bea.  The first book in this trilogy was told from the viewpoint of Evie, the second book from Aveda’s and this one is all Bea.

Things were pretty quiet for a while when the portal went dormant until some very strange things started occurring down at the pier – statues growing and coming to life to threaten tourists; and missing people reports.  But the source of the disturbance was definitely not the portal and none of their research could determine where the problem originated. 

Bea, meanwhile, is not a young teenager anymore and is sure her particular powers would be an excellent addition to the team and so she embarks on a campaign to convince Evie and Aveda that she’s ready to be a superhero.  She even has her new costume already designed.  Evie finally grants her probation status but Bea, being Bea, has little in the way of impulse control so with just that small license, she goes all out.  In her research down at the pier, she starts to believe her dead mother is reaching out to her.  And when she finds a reply to a note she stuck to a board at the bookstore where she works…and the handwriting on the reply is her mother’s…she’s ready to leap into the first otherworld portal she can find to rescue her mother.  This reckless behavior is enough to make Evie crazy and more over-protective than ever.  Poor Bea is inundated with powerful emotions; so much that she has a lot of trouble making good decisions.  She has a desperate need to connect with her mother again (a lot of unresolved childhood angst), she has discovered that she (gasp) has a powerful sexual attraction to her best friend, who has – up ‘til now – been comfortably platonic, and she’s both angry and confused about her sister’s over-bearing nature.  She’s also finding it so very simple to use her mind-controlling power to influence just about anyone, for the smallest of reasons – a drift towards super-villainy.  All of this was obviously a recipe for disaster.  On the other hand, Bea might be the only one who actually has a handle on what’s going on in the city and knows where the missing people might be.  And, as it turns out…Bea might be the only one who can actually fix it – whether Evie will let her is a different issue.

This was almost as much fun as the second one – which is my favorite.  The only thing that keeps this one in second place is that Bea is occasionally whiney and doesn’t seem to have any self-control.  I had trouble seeing how there would be a good and viable resolution.  And, as I supposed, it became a typical Bea-hurricane down to the wire.  It was a fun plot and is strongly character-driven; but since this book was from Bea’s point of view, I found her manic energy to be a bit wearing and I kinda missed hearing Evie’s or Aveda’s voices.

And one note of caution: this is not a Young Adult story, there’s a lot of sex.  ~~ Catherine Book

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