Monday, September 5, 2022

Review: Holiday Heroine by Sarah Kuhn

Holiday Heroine by Sarah Kuhn
Series: Heroine Complex, Book 6
Publisher: DAW
Genre: New Adult Urban Fantasy 
Holiday Heroine cover
ISBN: 9780756416539
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Audible

Nobody loves Christmas like Bea Tanaka—so when her family visits her for a special holiday celebration, she’s beside herself with joy.

After years of chaos, questionable decisions, and flirtations with the supervillain path, Bea is finally thriving. She’s got a sweet, new gig hunting demons in Maui, she’s working hard to hone her powers, and her big sister Evie is proud of her at last. In fact, everyone is so proud of her that she can’t tell them the truth: she’s feeling lost and adrift. She and her boyfriend Sam Fujikawa are struggling to make their long-distance love work, and her powers are displaying some intriguing new elements—elements that could lead her down an evil, mind-controlling path once more.

When her family’s holiday visit is disrupted by otherworldly monsters rising out of the Maui ocean, Bea throws herself into the battle—until she’s suddenly and mysteriously transported to the perfect Christmas back in San Francisco, surrounded by her family and an excess of merrymaking.

As she finds herself trapped in the bizarre holiday rom-com of her nightmares, Bea must unravel a treacherous demon plot, save the world from unspeakable evil, and resist the siren song of a supervillain destiny. And hey, maybe she’ll find time for a little holiday cheer after all…
Get ready for a wild ride with Holiday Heroine. Christmas and kaijus go hand-in-hand in Bea Tanaka’s second outing.

After making the leap from the family nest in San Francisco, Bea is determined to show her loved ones that she is thriving in Maui. She’s determined to blend in, make no waves, and keep her dangerous powers under lock and key. Yet though she’s made a close group of friends for herself already, Bea desperately misses her boyfriend, Sam, her sister, Evie, and everyone at Jupiter/Tanaka, Inc. When her family shows up for a visit, things start to go terribly wrong. Kaiju are popping up in Maui and Bea’s powers are out of control. When she passes out only to wake up in a mysteriously perfect Christmas in San Francisco, Bea knows she can’t just luxuriate in the holiday rom-com of her dreams. She has to get to the bottom of what’s happening before she loses everything and everyone she loves.

Bea is a vibrant heroine who has tamped down on her sparkly, over-the-top personality. She’s determined to be normal, to resist her powers and the supervillain path they could potentially take her on. She broke my heart more than once because she’s dimmed her light so much. I wanted to see her be the strong, confident, rainbow disco ball of a heroine she’s meant to be. Author Sarah Kuhn doesn’t make things easy on Bea in Holiday Heroine. Our brilliant heroine still has a lot to learn about being herself and it was great to see her bumpy journey to happily ever after. I can’t say much about that journey because it would spoil the story. Suffice it to say Kuhn takes readers on a twisty paranormal adventure.

I had a hard time rating Holiday Heroine because there’s a lot I love about the Heroine Complex world. Bea and her loved ones are all unique, well-drawn, endearing characters and I enjoy any time spent with them. But this book did drag for the first half as Bea – and readers – have no idea what’s happening or why. It’s only at the halfway point that things start to pick up. From there the repetition makes sense as Bea has lessons to learn, but unlike every other book in this series I didn’t have a hard time putting this one down, which was a pity. Still, even though this wasn’t my favorite Heroine Complex book I did love the way it turned out. Love in all its forms is key to this story and the way Kuhn flushed out Bea’s relationships with everyone in her life – especially herself – made this story shine.

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.