Title: Hurricane Heels
Author: Isabel Yap
Series? Linked Short Stories
Rating: 5/5 Stars
When I realised that this would be my first post of the New Year, I immediately wanted to showcase my favourite novella of 2016: Hurricane Heels. Packed within these five intertwined short stories is a tale of female friendship and identity that resonated with me on every level.
The magical girl narrative is one that I grew up consuming, and I never tire with its many forms. It comes hand in hand with female empowerment and friendship, wrapped in the mysterious allure of that alter-ego. I loved Hurricane Heels for breaking down one of my most beloved tropes. The story examines magical girls in the context of early adulthood. Saving the world coexist with the more mundane dilemmas of career choices, impending marriage, and a certain quarter-life listlessness that I can relate to on a personal level. This is magical girls at their most visceral and raw, and they are utterly arresting.
Aside from being filled to the brim with magical-girl greatness, Hurricane Heels is a celebration of diversity. There is a delightful mix of intersectional identities amongst our five protagonist. You can expect to find Asian American, black, and LGBT women amongst these pages, each with a fully fleshed out story of her own to weave into the narrative. I also loved seeing the way they interacted with one another, especially given their shared history and mutual momentous destiny. These are relationships fraught with tension, but also filled with love. I was blown away by how much complexity Isabel Yap managed to convey within so few words.
I also loved the style the novella was written in, it kept up a certain sense of mystery in regards to the girls’ past. The novella is split up into five parts, each starring one of the five friends. Each point of views also alternated between the present, where the ladies are preparing for the upcoming nuptial of Selena – and the past, that fateful night at summer camp where a goddess recruited them to her cause and irrevocably changed their lives. Every story is filled with poignant musings about the sacrifices, the isolation, but also the friendship and power that their destiny have granted them. I adored this introspective look into the lives of a magical girl – it made me examine this much-loved trope from a different and more personal perspective.
I will keep this review brief, as the novellas are shorter in length and I don’t want to give too much away. Needless to say, I highly recommend it – especially as you can check it out for free on The Book Smugglers’s website (link above) before you purchase. If you’re a fan of magical girls of any kind, this is required reading.
Are you a fan of the magical girl genre? Which have you seen/read?
NOTE: This is a scheduled post and I will be on vacation until 10th February, so apologies for any delays in communication between now and then!