Book Review: Archenemies – Marissa Meyer
Blogmas Day 6
Series: Renegades #2
Author: Marissa Meyer
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Published: November 6th, 2018 (Feiwel & Friends)
Synopsis: Nova’s double life is about to get a lot more complicated:
As Insomnia, she is a full-fledged member of the Renegades, a syndicate of powerful and beloved superheroes. She works with Adrian’s patrol unit to protect the weak and maintain order in Gatlon City.
As Nightmare, she is an Anarchist—a group of villains who are determined to destroy the Renegades. Nova wants vengeance against the so-called heroes who once failed her when she needed them the most.
But as Nova, her feelings for Adrian are deepening, despite the fact that he is the son of her sworn enemies and, unbeknownst to Nova, he has some dangerous secrets of his own.
In this second installment of the Renegades trilogy, Nova, Adrian, and the rest of their crew—Ruby, Oscar, and Danna—are faced with escalating crime in Gatlon City, while covert weapons and conflicting missions have Nova and Adrian questioning not only their beliefs about justice but also the feelings they have for each other.
The line between good and evil has been blurred, but what’s clear to them both is that too much power could mean the end of their City—and the world—as they know it.
Following her shocking discovery that Ace Anarchy is still alive, Nova is continuing her pretense of being a Renegade attempting to find Ace’s legendary helmet and further the Anarchists’ cause. Her mission is becoming more complicated by the day however, due to her growing relationship with Adrian, the son of Captain Chromium himself whom she holds responsible for her family’s death. But Nova is not the only one leading a double life. Adrian has secrets of his own – he is struggling to hide his identity as Sentinel as he becomes even more determined to find out the truth of his mother’s death – and he’s not convinced that Nightmare is really dead. And though he created Sentinel with the best of intentions, his actions have unwittingly caused the Renegades to become even more committed to stopping rogue prodigies – with terrifying results.
“Once we have total power, what’s to keep us from becoming villains ourselves?”
After how good Renegades was, I had my doubts if Archenemies would measure up, but this series is getting better by the book! While this book is a little slower paced compared to Renegades, I absolutely love the direction the plot is going in, especially in the political aspect. The development of the serum Agent N, which can permanently remove a prodigy’s power, is horrifying and it’s bizarre that most of the Renegades don’t see anything wrong about using something like that. The moral dilemma surrounding the concept is very interesting as it it shows that power can corrupt even the most well-meaning of people.
One viewpoint that I would have loved to see is that of a non-prodigy character. Granted, this is a story about heroes and villains but considering that they almost certainly outnumber the prodigies, it would be interesting to see what their thoughts are on them. We know that there are several fans of the Renegades and that they, for the most part, expect the heroes to basically fix anything and everything for them, but who’s to say that there aren’t any factions that dislike the Renegades? After all, the Renegade council rules Gatlon City and the regular people don’t seem to have any representation at all and so far atleast, they are almost irrelevant to the plot. Besides, so much power in the hands of a small group of people can never end well.
“It’s not all black and white, good and bad. Peoples actions…their motives…there are” – he circled his hands in the air – “gray areas.”
Adrian’s character arc is one I’m really enjoying. He has been raised with the Renegades’ code of conduct and is probably one of the few who truly believes in what it means to be a hero and follows it. As the code began to seem too restrictive, Sentinel was his way out, to do a little more to help people. But with the events that unfold in this book, he finds himself questioning if the decisions they are making are really the right ones.
“There were still consequences. There were always consequences, no matter which side she was on.”
Nova on the other hand is kind of getting on my nerves. She is clearly starting to see that something is really wrong and is willfully ignoring her instincts, going back to her refrain on needing to destroy the Renegades because they, and Captain Chromium in particular, are the reason her family died. Even after seeing that the Anarchists too view the serum as a weapon and opportunity to take down their enemies rather than something entirely wrong and an abuse of power, she is still stuck firmly in the past which didn’t really allow her to develop much as a character. That said however, while this may have been annoying for me as a reader, it is nevertheless a realistic arc and I feel that Nova’s struggle is largely a natural reaction to the events unfolding around her, even if some of her actions are quite hypocritical.
Overall, Archenemies is a solid sequel and second book that has managed to raise the stakes significantly going into the finale and continues to make the reader ponder over what makes someone a hero or a villain – and how different are they really? That cliffhanger was amazing and I’m super excited to read Supernova and find out how this is all going to end! Highly recommended!
Have you read this book? Let me know in the comments below!
Other reviews in this series: