I had fun reading Karma Girl so I picked up the second book Hot Mama, when it came out last month. This was also like candy – really easy and fast to read, fun and campy, but I ended up not liking it quite as much as the first one in the series for a number of reasons.
This is the book dedicated to the story of Fiona Fine, successful fashion designer who is really Fiera, part of the Fearless Five. We continue a few months after Karma Girl leaves off with the Five moving on with their lives and Fiona, after mourning her fiance's death has started thinking about dating again. In the meantime, two more ubervillans – Intelligal and Siren, have entered the scene in Bigtime, New York. Much of the first part of the book rehashed book one – so new readers could read this book without reading the first one (but they would probably be spoiled for book one's ending).
Fiona Fine aka Fiera is a different character from Carmen Cole – and this was probably part of my issue. She's got a fiery personality to match her superpowers but sometimes stubborn and willfull felt like bullheaded and obtuse! I missed Carmen because she paid attention to details while Fiona sort of stomps all over the place and ignores subtlety – even when it was so obvious to everyone else. In Karma Girl I could guess the secret identities of many of the superheros/ubervillans. I think it wasn't meant to be hard to do, but in Hot Karma it felt like we got twice the amount of hints and Fiona isn't even *trying*. At least when Fiona finally figures it out she does say how ridiculously obvious it was, which somewhat mollified me because I was ready to throw my hands up at that point.
I felt that while there were a couple of compelling emotional story arcs in here (Fiona's grieving for her fiance, falling in love and dealing with vigilante revenge) the book moved forward through Fiona's dating, working, and fighting the bad-guys without me to feeling like I really connected with her character. Emotions of hers were repeatedly brought up but I still coudn't buy it. I got that she was hot-tempered, but I wish I understood her reason for her flare-ups more than – so and so is annoying. Also when she thought about her fiance she'd describe his qualities but I didn't feel emotionally connected to her grief just because she kept saying she was sad. I could buy Carmen's actions and thoughts in Karma Girl and that coupled with the zany story made me really like it. In Hot Mama the fun stuff was there but I didnt feel as involved in Fiona's character. It's weird though – I mean this book is a seriously easy read. So Fiona wasn't enough for me to put the book down, and the rest of the world in the book kept me engaged, but once I finished I felt unsatisfied with how I felt about her character. Maybe this is a matter of preference. I'd be interested if others agree/disagree about Fiona. Meanwhile I'd still recommend this for those looking for an unserious, very-much-like-candy read.