Hurricane Heels

Hurricane Heels

Five ordinary girls discover magical powers in this new series of interconnected short stories from Isabel Yap When Alex, Ria, Aiko, Natalie and Selena met at summer camp, they never expected the goddess would ask for their help, enlisting them as soldiers to protect the world from the forces of darkness. Gifting them each with a different object of power—a bracelet, a rin...

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Title:Hurricane Heels
Author:Isabel Yap
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Hurricane Heels Reviews

  • Mel

    And this is how you write a book full of diversity and not think this will be enough for people to like it. Wow. This is really awesomely done.

    First,

    isn’t actually about diversity, it’s just inherently diverse. This book is about growing up, about friendship, about women and diverse characters fighting for a better world.

    But as you might have noticed by looking at the tags, there are two Asian characters. Two different Asian characters. One from Manila in the

    And this is how you write a book full of diversity and not think this will be enough for people to like it. Wow. This is really awesomely done.

    First,

    isn’t actually about diversity, it’s just inherently diverse. This book is about growing up, about friendship, about women and diverse characters fighting for a better world.

    But as you might have noticed by looking at the tags, there are two Asian characters. Two different Asian characters. One from Manila in the Philippines and another one whose parents are from Japan. The characterisation felt very authentic to me, which is no wonder since the author herself is Filipino and spent some time in Japan. Some of the scenes in this book are even set in Japan, YAY! And FUCK YES, only heroines saving the world, no bloody men to save the day—which, don’t get me wrong, I don’t have anything against heroes, but it’s about damn time that we see more women in our Western fiction who get to have the glamour and cool weapons and stuff.

    features five girls/women who get their own chapter and point of view to reveal the story. They are distinct with different backgrounds, different character traits, and different fears and struggles. They are really amazingly well crafted and in only one hundred and something pages the author manages to show them plausibly grow from teenagers to adults. The story is not told chronologically, but with snippets from the past, the now, and in between, but it still feels like a comprehensive whole and isn’t confusing or anything, but rather captivating and motivates to find out more. I was intrigued by the characters and their fight against evil, and, above all, I liked to see how the burden of having to fight for good shaped them, made them weary and tired, and how they found the will to go on.

    At around 80% I noticed with delight that I still had no clear picture what to expect from the end. Plainly, everything seemed possible—from nothing would actually happen, leaving this story to be a glimpse into the lives of heroines, to a full on out fight and showdown—and I would have been okay with all of it. But, I still was surprised at what really happened, like WTF did just happen surprised. I think the solution to the story is very satisfying and I like the, in a way, allegorical comparison to modern day struggle for equality that shone threw the fantastical element.

    I want to add that there is a very subtle love story between two of the girls (one lesbian and one bisexual) interwoven into the story, which enhances the density of the characters and the plot. It feels natural and not like an unnecessary addition, and is both a little complicated and also sweet. Even to this rather small detail of the story the author pays attention and it depicts that showing love to less important things is very valuable and, all in all, contributes to the richness of a story.

    Some more short comments: There are some minor typos here but they weren’t distracting to me. The artwork is really lovely, and I think you can read the whole story on the publisher’s website, if you so choose—although it will probably be more comfortable to buy it.

    I am so utterly positively surprised by this cool story by this new to me author, and I will definitely look for more books by her to read. I highly recommend this and hope you’ll give it a try and enjoy!

    ____________________________________

    Genre: Fantasy/Paranormal

    Tags: Lesbian Character, Bisexual Character, Filipino, Japanese, and Black Characters, F/F Pairing, Magic, Good vs. Evil, Growing Up

    Content Warnings for: Mention of Domestic Abuse in Flashback

    Rating: 4.5 stars

    Blog: Review for

  • Rana

    Absolutely fucking brilliant. On the surface, it's just a regular story about girls fighting monsters. But it's really about the transformative power of friendship and knowing one's self. We are all magic girls, with the power to fight evil.

    This is also perfectly diverse, in that it is diverse without calling attention to it. It's just no big fucking deal. Amen.

  • Jessica Strider

    Pros: diverse and multi-layered characters, great world-building, excellent storytelling

    Cons: minor confusion at times

    Five thirteen year old girls are chosen by the goddess to help fight the Grey, an entity created from terror, rage, and destruction. Now 25, Alex, Ria, Aiko, and Natalie help Selena prepare for her upcoming wedding. As the big day approaches, they reflect on their past as magical girls and wonder how long they’ll have to keep fighting.

    Hurricane

    Pros: diverse and multi-layered characters, great world-building, excellent storytelling

    Cons: minor confusion at times

    Five thirteen year old girls are chosen by the goddess to help fight the Grey, an entity created from terror, rage, and destruction. Now 25, Alex, Ria, Aiko, and Natalie help Selena prepare for her upcoming wedding. As the big day approaches, they reflect on their past as magical girls and wonder how long they’ll have to keep fighting.

    Hurricane Heels is a a collection of 5 interconnected stories. Each one is told from the point of view of a different girl.

    This is a novel for adults who love magical girl stories like Sailor Moon, who are interested in what real life for such girls growing into women would look like. The author clearly explains why no one in the larger world knows what’s going on in the fight between good and evil and how the girls heal after their battles. But these are women who swear, drink, go to a strip club (it’s a bachelorette party), and hold day jobs around their monster battles.

    I loved the juxtaposition of these young girls getting magical powers and being given decidedly earthy weapons. When you think of magical girls you think glittery magic weapons, light weight, deadly because of their magical attacks. But these girls get an ax, a chainsaw, double swords. There’s no way to avoid the solid brutality of these as weapons and the death and gore of their battles against the Grey.

    Each chapter begins with a black and white illustration of the girl whose point of view that chapter is from. Unlike the Sailor Moon characters, these aren’t thin waifs. They’ve got some weight on them and some curves. They look like real women, chosen to do great things.

    At one point I tried to see what the main thrust of each story was - love, power, etc. Each character has a colour, a different piece of transformation jewelry, and a primary weapon, surely they each have an attribute they embody as well. A few of them seem to on the surface, but when you consider each character - and each story - more carefully, these aren’t simplistic portrayals. These are multi-layered characters who are scared of their new responsibilities and powers in different ways. They also try to hide their frailties from their friends, not realizing that they all have similar doubts. They fight because they need to, because the world needs them to. It’s amazing how well you get to know each girl, despite how short the book is.

    I did find the scene in Ria’s story where she moved from the Philippines to the US a bit confusing. I had to read it twice to realize that’s what happened. There was also a formatting issue in the first story. In two places necessary page breaks, showing where one scene ended and another began, were missing. Because each story jumps between places and times so often, the page breaks are needed to help the reader reorient themselves. It was very confusing going from the end of a fight scene to the girls grabbing a drink with no indication that the location or time had changed. It was even more confusing jumping from a post fight conversation to a strip club scene.

    This is a brilliant book. If you like magical girl anime - and even if you just enjoy well told stories about women trying to find their places in the world while battling evil to save it - this book is for you.

  • Maria

    AMAZING!

    Currently road tripping so this will be short, but I am so happy I decided to read this set of stories. I grew up with Sailor Moon and magical girl stories. I liked that in this book, the magical girls were growing up and dealing with young adult stuff and all the emotions that are normal and kind of finding/affirming their own identities. SO MANY FEELINGS

  • Olivia

    A stunning series of short stories about love, hope, and enduring hardship. There was intense action and nuanced emotions and when I finished my heart felt so, so full. It also felt incredibly REAL and made me want to get together with my best friends for the biggest hug ever!

  • Japunkt

    Five interconnected short stories, each told by a different woman In a group of friends with "magical girl" type powers. The book is currently out of print, but the individual short stories are available on the Book Smugglers' blog.

  • Quartzen

    This was an enjoyable New Adult magical girl story told from the perspective of the five girls that make up the team, interleaving a present day storyline leading up to the wedding of one of them and flashbacks of how they got their powers and significant events early in their lives. Overall, the characters were enjoyable and the climactic battle was satisfying- definitely recommended if you like this genre.

    One note- my ebook copy, an EPUB from Kobo, duplicated almost the entire thir

    This was an enjoyable New Adult magical girl story told from the perspective of the five girls that make up the team, interleaving a present day storyline leading up to the wedding of one of them and flashbacks of how they got their powers and significant events early in their lives. Overall, the characters were enjoyable and the climactic battle was satisfying- definitely recommended if you like this genre.

    One note- my ebook copy, an EPUB from Kobo, duplicated almost the entire third section, so it was a little shorter than it appeared.

  • Marianne (Boricuan Bookworms)

    Magical girls, friendship, diversity, feels, action... need I say more? Full review to come but I really enjoyed this one ♡♡

  • Louise

    Hurricane Heels is a collection of five interconnected short stories. Together, they tell the formation of a group of five ‘magical girls’ (Sailor Moon, Puella Magi Madoka Magica etc.) and their lives now that they’re in their mid-20s and one of the girls is getting married.

    It was really fun and interesting to read about this kind of character years after we would usually be with them. We do see how they get their powers through flashbacks, but there's much more emphasis on the girls reflecting

    Hurricane Heels is a collection of five interconnected short stories. Together, they tell the formation of a group of five ‘magical girls’ (Sailor Moon, Puella Magi Madoka Magica etc.) and their lives now that they’re in their mid-20s and one of the girls is getting married.

    It was really fun and interesting to read about this kind of character years after we would usually be with them. We do see how they get their powers through flashbacks, but there's much more emphasis on the girls reflecting and their thoughts on the downsides of their powers. The girls wonder about whether they each have too much power for one person and the responsibility this forces upon them. They worry about having to watch their friends and/or innocent bystanders be injured. They feel lonely and they wonder if this is what will happen for the rest of their lives. It's very much a quarter-life crisis -- the kind of things people worry about in their mid-twenties like careers, college and familial obligations -- rather than teen anxieties around hormones and school -- but there's also some cool monsters and badass weapons, such as magical swords and chainsaws.

    Each short story is told by a different girl, and although I enjoyed them -- and thought it was great that there was a good variety of representation -- I didn't think that the voices were particularly distinct, and that something that made it a little difficult to connect to the characters. There is a lot of heart to the story, and a really great dedication between the five girls, but occasionally the battle scenes felt a little jumbled, and the flashbacks could be a little confusing.

    I would love, love to see Hurricane Heels adapted as a graphic novel. I definitely recommend it for anyone that's a fan of magical girl anime or manga, or anyone who’s a little older but still interested in this type of story, as they’ll probably see a lot of themselves represented in these characters.

    Find more of my reviews at foxesfairytale.wordpress.com

  • Liz

    (Kindle copy needs better copy editing and you can tell it's bad if *I* noticed.)

    That out of the way, I'm really enjoying the upsurge of superhero narratives in book form that ask all these interesting questions about saving the world and what it means to be chosen and to fight. Yap's book is less interrogative than some of the others that have come out the Book Smugglers' initiative: she's not interested in the moral complexity of super powers or in the way that good and evil are ha

    (Kindle copy needs better copy editing and you can tell it's bad if *I* noticed.)

    That out of the way, I'm really enjoying the upsurge of superhero narratives in book form that ask all these interesting questions about saving the world and what it means to be chosen and to fight. Yap's book is less interrogative than some of the others that have come out the Book Smugglers' initiative: she's not interested in the moral complexity of super powers or in the way that good and evil are handled, she cares more about what being a girl battling the forces of darkness does to a person. Well, a team of people. In schoolgirl outfits and heels. But she's explicit about taking her cues from the magical girls who populate manga and anime. Yap is another example of using fun and fluffy ideas--magical girls and one of them is getting married!--to write fun and fluffy books that also add depth to these larger narratives of superheros and saviors that populate (in particular) visual media. Prose invites a certain kind of interiority and Yap takes advantage of that approach to give the characters more time and space to worry and struggle with who they are.

    The downside is that magical girls fighting monsters does not translate perfectly to prose and some of the action scenes would work much better in another medium. Basically, someone make this into a graphic novel while preserving the inner thoughts and illustrating the fight scenes. Win/win.

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