Heroine Complex, Sarah Kuhn’s delightfully goofy urban fantasy debut about, among other things, superheroes, gossip bloggers, and evil cupcakes, was one of our favorite surprises of last year: a fun, funny book that did something new with genre tropes. Those qualities catapulted it onto our Best SFF of 2016 list, so we’re understandably thrilled we’re getting a sequel, Heroine Worship, this summer. And today, Sarah Kuhn is here to show off the cover, which, we think you’ll agree, kicks butt.
I’m so excited to show you the cover for Heroine Worship, the second book in my series starring Asian American superheroines who save the world from such dangers as demonic cupcakes, megalomaniacal gossip bloggers, and bad karaoke. (Well, sometimes they also totally perform the bad karaoke. But there’s still plenty of world-saving happening.)
Jason Chan, the brilliant artist who did the cover for the first book, Heroine Complex, once again perfectly captures both the fun, frenetic feel of the series and the distinctive attitudes of the two main characters, and I’ve basically been staring at this image ever since it landed in my inbox, marveling at how bright and vibrant and alive it is. Take a look:
I’ve talked about how emotional it was for me to see the Heroine Complex cover for the first time: that image of two very different Asian American women fighting evil side by side, clearly centered in their own story, clearly getting to have a ton of fun. Bona fide superheroines who look like me and so many of my friends. One might think the effect would be diminished this time around, but I had the same visceral, emotional reaction when I saw the cover of Heroine Worship. Look how these two badass Asian American women are totally commanding the screen! Look at those power poses! And look how much dang fun they’re having! Seeing their faces so prominently featured—and seeing them taking action and doing cool stuff—still fills me with a goofy-grinning sense of wonder and joy.
As with the Heroine Complex cover, I also love how Jason conveyed our heroines’ very different personalities. Heroine Worship picks up a few months after the events of Heroine Complex. Evie Tanaka—the mild mannered protagonist of the first book—has truly come into her own as a hero, and this shows in the determined expression she’s flashing up there at the top of the image, as well as the newfound confidence she has in wielding her fire power. Aveda Jupiter (aka Annie Chang), meanwhile, looks like the fabulous, bold, power ponytail-wearing superheroine she’s worked so hard (and for so many years) to be. She absolutely lives for the battle, and you can tell she’s relishing it just a bit more than Evie.
Annie/Aveda is the protagonist of this book and she’s dealing with a lot—from the fall-out of her diva behavior in Heroine Complex, to working through friendship issues with Evie, to the fact that San Francisco’s current demon-free status means she feels like she suddenly has no purpose in life. All of that is complicated when Evie gets engaged—because as you may have ascertained from certain elements of this cover (the dresses! The cake!), this book also revolves around a big fat supernatural wedding. And that’s when the fun really gets started.
I loved writing Annie and Evie again and I especially loved taking Annie through an arc that involves deep self-reflection, sweet and sexy romance, and of course, a metric ton of fabulous outfits and complicated feelings. (Seriously, there are so many feelings in this book. So many.) But through it all, I think she remains the Annie Chang/Aveda Jupiter we see on this beautiful cover: bold and determined and dripping with “yes, you will take notice of me” attitude.
I am so grateful to Jason, my amazing editor Betsy Wollheim, G-Force Design (who gave the cover that fantastic candy-colored/comic book-y title treatment), and everyone at DAW for wanting to show Annie/Aveda exactly as she is.
And if you’d still like to know more about everything she’s dealing with in the book, here’s the official-type blurb!
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.
It doesn’t help that Aveda’s finally being forced to deal with the fact that she’s been a less than stellar friend to Evie. Or that Scott Cameron—the man Aveda’s loved for years—is suddenly giving her the cold shoulder. Or that the city is currently demon-free, leaving Aveda without the one thing she craves most: 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 sees a chance to reclaim her sense of self and sets out on a mission to make sure Evie has the most epic wedding ever. But when a mysterious, unseen supernatural evil 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.