Novella Review: Hurricane Heels

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Title: Hurricane Heels

Author: Isabel Yap

Series? Linked Short Stories

Rating: 5/5 Stars

Goodreads

Smashwords ¦ Amazon US ¦ Amazon UK


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.

hurricane-heels

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!

18 thoughts on “Novella Review: Hurricane Heels

  1. I saw you tweet about this the other day and the beautiful illustration caught my interest so I went to check it out on goodreads and now I want to read it so much! Magical girl narratives are great and I hope we get more like this! Great review! (Hope you’re having a nice holiday!)

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  2. Ooh, this is an AWESOME review!!! 😀 I haven’t read a lot of magical girl narratives, even though I really like the trope. What’s wrong with me? I missed out on Sailor Moon as a kid! If you have any other recs I’d definitely be interested in hearing them. 🙂

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  3. I’m getting so many Sailor Moon vibes from this! Just for the nostalgia I think I’m going to have to check it out. I haven’t read/ seen much Magical Girl stuff aside from Sailor Moon when I was a kid, but I’d love to visit those stories again!

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  4. The fact that one of the girls is named Selena makes me laugh because Selena = Selene = Moon Goddess = Sailor Moon = Ultimate Childhood nostalgia! I love girl power stories so much and Sailor Moon was one of my favorite childhood cartoons!

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  5. Magical girls are awesome!! Thanks for recommending this book to me some weeks ago. I added it to my list of books with LGBTQIA Asian protagonists. This novella sounds so good! The Kindle version is cheap, but the art is too gorgeous – I’ll need a print copy!

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  6. Ah, this sounds so awesome! There are so many anthologies and novellas and short stories out there that seem to be so much more diverse than the mainstream books being published. I recently bought an anthology called Defying Doomsday which features disabled and/or chronically ill characters in every story (and intersectional diversity in a lot of them, too). I really like the sound of Hurricane Heels, though! I did grow up watching two beloved magical girls anime, so maybe I should give it a try and reminisce 😀

    Lovely review, Aentee ❤

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  7. I thought this reminded me of something – Sailor Moon. I vaguely remember watching it when I was a kid, and absolutely loved it. So I’ll definitely be checking this out.

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