Nova, Adrian, and their companions are back in Marissa Meyer’s Archenemies, the second book in the Renegades superhero saga that recently expanded from two books to three.
After an explosive ending at the carnival in book one, Nova’s position deep undercover with the Renegades is more secure than ever, given that everyone thinks her Anarchists alter-ego, Nightmare, is dead. By killing rogue Anarchist The Detonator, she also proves herself and gets recognized as a hero… because none of the Renegades realize she was trying to save her own skin. Nova uses her success as leverage to earn even more responsibilities in the organization and everything seems to be going to plan until quite suddenly, there’s a major complication.
The Renegades unleash a new weapon, one that could change the landscape of prodigy life in Gatlon City forever. Seeing themselves as the “good guys,” few Renegades give much forethought to this weapon making them judge and jury over other prodigies’ powers, but Nova and Adrian recognize the true danger. Not all Renegades are good and there are no real regulations that define what prodigy activity is truly “bad”. Not to mention that Anarchists and Adrian’s secret vigilante alter ego, The Sentinel, are the organization’s biggest targets. But where there’s strife, Nova knows there’s also an opportunity to use this insider knowledge to put the Anarchists back on top– if her growing guilt doesn’t get in the way of achieving her eccentric family’s lifelong dream. In all loops back into the ongoing theme surrounding the politics of power with eye-opening results.
With the major worldbuilding already dealt with in the first book, Archenemies is able to jump into the action right away. It’s a great way to reintroduce us to the characters, their powers, and their relationships. In the opening sequence alone, we see the fight between Adrian’s team and a dark prodigy, Nova’s growing relationship with the others on the team, and Adrian’s struggle to follow the code of authority. It’s all then threaded through the rest of the pages. Like Renegades, this book only has a couple of major action sequences, but they are gripping-the-edge-of-your-seat good, utilizing characters’ abilities in unexpected ways.
The sequel also opens up the existing universe in big ways. Major Renegade artifacts with powers of their own become a factor as Nova looks for creative solutions. I can’t predict how, if at all, some items will be used, but I felt like some clever breadcrumbs were being dropped. It offers up more of the old characters that you love or hate, but it also introduces some great new ones. Prepare to fall especially in love with Callum, whose larger-than-life personality and extraordinary viewpoint will bring a smile to your face over and over again.
The awkwardly sweet romance kicks up a notch this time around. Adrian thinks he blew his chance at the carnival, but he’s not willing to completely give up. After all, they’re still getting along great– maybe even flirting? For Nova’s part, she knows that cozying up with the son of Captain Chronium and the Dread Warden is good for her scheme, but that doesn’t stop her from doubting herself every step of the way. Even though her feelings for Adrian are just pretend (right? right?!), she’s realizing through him that not every Renegade is the power-hungry tyrant she believed them all to be. Meanwhile, my real OTP (Just kidding Marissa Meyer! …Sort of) Oscar and Ruby continue to be scene-stealers as they dance around each other’s feelings, sometimes literally.
It all leads up to a deliciously cliffy ending teetering on the edge of chaos that will leave you with plenty of questions as you beg for the final book in the trilogy, presumably due out sometime next year. It’s a long wait, but our suspicions are that it will absolutely be worth it!
RATING: 4.25 OUT OF 5 STARS
Archenemies (Renegades #2) is out today. Snag it via Amazon or support your local bookstore via Indiebound.
Time is running out.
Together, they can save the world.
But they each other’s worst nightmare.
In Renegades, Nova and Adrian (aka Insomnia and Sketch) fought the battle of their lives against the Anarchist known as the Detonator. It was a short-lived victory.
The Anarchists still have a secret weapon, one that Nova believes will protect her. The Renegades also have a strategy for overpowering the Anarchists, but both Nova and Adrian understand that it could mean the end of Gatlon City – and the world – as they know it.