Hearts of Darkness
by Andrea Speed
Kaede Hiyashi is sick and tired of living in the shadow of his father, supervillain Doctor Terror. Brilliant but crazy, Doctor Terror sends his son to Corwyn, California, for reasons Kaede can’t imagine. Sent to accompany and protect him is Ash, a genetically modified supersoldier raised and trained by an infamous death cult.
Corwyn is lousy with superheroes, led by the obnoxious Dark Justice. Kaede finds himself dancing around Dark Justice as he digs into his father’s mysterious business and teaches his socially awkward—but physically lethal—bodyguard to acclimate to “normal” life. Can these two wacky supervillains figure out what Doctor Terror wants them to do, solve the riddle of the villain known as Black Hand, and keep Dark Justice from raining on their bloody parade? The course of love—and world domination—never did run smooth.Blurb taken from book blurb
I really enjoy reading queer superhero romance novels – there is just something so satisfying about being able to see these larger than life characters not only occupy the ‘hero’ archetype but to see them love freely is what that I love reading. Sadly there are not that many published queer superhero romance novels – don’t get me wrong they are out there but they can be hard to find 😅
Hearts of Darkness is a little different from the ‘typical’ superhero romance novel in that the main character Kaede is the son/clone of super-villain Dr. Terror. I really enjoyed Hearts of Darkness, it was well written, well paced, and I really engaged with the characters and plot. Seeing the pageantry of the superhero world from Kaede who is removed from the ‘good vs evil’ fight but still occupies space within the world, was refreshing as the story got to poke fun at the genre and theatrics.
The romance of Heart of Darkness often fell to the side as we followed Kaede on his journey through the city of Corwyn. However, I found the hesitant and always respectful treatment of Ash, the romantic interest of the story, no less engaging. The almost slow burn nature of their relationship related to Ash’s genetic background as well as his having been raised in a Thai death-cult that eschewed emotion.
Not only has Hearts of Darkness made me want to check out Andrea Speed’s back catalogue but now I want to re-visit and find more queer superhero romances!
There is something so compelling about reading about superheroes. Whether it is their super ability to save and protect or the loftier ideals they represent, I will always enjoy reading a superhero novel.
While not a trope in of itself, the superhero genre within the romance genre is not as bulky as it could be – I say we need more queer novels about superheroes being romanced over to the dark side by super-villains, or super-villains falling for the unattainable hero. I will have queer representation within the superhero genre in whatever way, shape, or trope I can! After all, we’re out of the closet and saving the world!