Monday, November 24, 2014

My Name is Purple Princess by Jessie Ash

For the Last Time, My Name is Purple Princess is one of several serialized novels currently being produced by Jessie Ash, and it's a fantastic introduction to her style. It's a gender-bending superhero novel (with just a bit of an erotic edge) that plays with the conventions of the genre, but nicely twists and spins them into something new and original.

Ned is your average, geeky young man. He's not that great with the ladies, works in a comic book store, is more suited to games of a role playing nature than an athletic one, and in love with his beautiful roommate (who is, of course, completely oblivious to the fact). Oh, and he's being blackmailed into life as a purple-clad, buxom superheroine by a shadowy organization.

Ash plays the first volume largely for laughs, giving it a Greatest American Hero sort of take on the genre. Ned knows how to use his powers (transformation is pretty much instantaneous), but he does have a challenge in finding bathrooms where an overweight young man can safely walk in, and a statuesque woman in costume safely walk out. His main problem is that he has no clue how to be a hero, with his first few attempts ending up as embarrassing disasters.

With the second volume, Ash introduces a little backstory and the supervillain of her world. Here she introduces some very real dangers and super threats, and begins dealing with the vigilante aspect of the job. There are still some laughs, and the erotic aspect certainly comes more to the forefront as she explores the romantic repercussions of gender-bending.

On that note, I must say that while this is primarily superhero story, Ash does a fantastic job of exploring the gender bending aspect. The longer he plays at being Purple Princess, the more Ned finds her emotions sort of leaking through into his normal life. Acting like a woman comes naturally, a gift of the transformation that provides him with an instinctive control over his powers, but he's still an insecure young man beneath all the leather and spandex . . . and one who lusts after the woman he's become.

If you're at all excited by the idea of a lonely geek becoming a buxom superheroine - and you know you are! - then do yourself a favour and give this a read.

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