Karma Girl by Jennifer Estep
Released: December 2011 (Canada)
Publisher: Jennifer Estep
Series: Bigtime #1
Source: Personal shelf
Investigative reporter Carmen Cole gets the surprise of her life on her wedding day when she discovers that her fiance and best friend are sleeping together – and that the two of them are her town’s resident superhero and ubervillain. Shocked and hurt, Carmen reveals their secret identities and then decides to devote her life to unmasking every superhero and ubervillain who crosses her path.
A series of successful unmaskings lands Carmen a job at The Expose, one of the biggest newspapers in Bigtime, New York, a city that’s full of superheroes and ubervillains. Carmen is in her element – until she gets kidnapped by the Terrible Triad, Bigtime’s most dangerous ubervillain team.
The Triad orders Carmen to uncover the secret identity of Striker, the leader of the Fearless Five, Bigtime’s most popular superhero team – or else they’ll drop her in a vat of radioactive goo. With that threat hanging over her, Carmen sets out to unmask Striker, but what she doesn’t count on is falling for the sexy superhero. But with the Terrible Triad lurking around, this is one story that just might be the death of her …
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Karma Girl is very different from Jennifer Estep’s two urban fantasy series. This is not a criticism, just a statement of fact. I went into Karma Girl expecting a fun, frothy bit of brain candy and that’s exactly what the lovely Ms. Estep has delivered!
The Bigtime series is set in a world where superheroes and supervillains are commonplace. It didn’t really matter to our plucky heroine, Carmen Cole, until she discovers — on her wedding day — that her fiance has been cheating on her with her best friend, and that they’re arch nemeses. This sets Carmen on a mission: to uncover the secret identities of heroes and villains across the country so that no one needs to suffer the same heartbreak. She’s loaded with righteousness, a keen intuition, and good intentions, which eventually get her into trouble.
Carmen’s a great lead character. She’s got a lot of heart and she always tries to do her best, even against terrifying odds. I love a character with a lot of spunk and Carmen’s got that in spades. She’s also riddled with insecurities after the incident with her fiancé and some of the outcomes of her research. Nonetheless, the romantic tension between Carmen and Striker is off the charts! The developing relationship makes for a fun read.
I also really enjoyed twists and turns in the non-romantic plot line. Watching Carmen try to figure out the identities of the Fearless Five and the Terrible Triad is a lot of fun, though the identities of most of the Fearless Five were apparent to me a little bit before they were revealed, but this didn’t hamper my enjoyment of the novel.
My one complaint is that the karma references seem a bit heavy-handed. I understand why they’re there — Carmen does become the titular Karma Girl — but it wasn’t very subtle. Of course, this is a tiny quibble in the grand scheme of things. More of a comment than a quibble, really…
Looking forward to reading Hot Mama soon!