by Marissa Meyer
Series: Renegades #2
Published on November 6, 2018 by Feiwel & Friends
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Time is running out. Together, they can save the world. But are they each other's worst nightmare?
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.
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After reading Renegades, I had a vague idea where the story would go but really didn’t see the need for 3 books. I hoped Archenemies would change that opinion and unfortunately it just didn’t.
Following the events of the first book, Archenemies opens with Nova working as a part of Adrian’s Renegades patrol team to take down the bad guys, all while secretly helping her uncle try to bring them down. Cool. So I’m expecting that this will be about her going deeper under cover, maybe getting caught as the big cliffhanger at the end?
Instead, I read a romance?
So the whole Nova/Adrian relationship started in Renegades but was pretty low-key, though I had a feeling it would come back (why else include it?). I didn’t expect Meyer to use the bulk of book 2 to focus on them awkwardly shifting from friends to a couple. While they have one cringey scene after another, I’m slowly losing interest in the background story, which is what the entire plot with Ace has become by the halfway mark in Archenemies.
It didn’t help that the characters all fell flat. Quite literally, flat. What I once thought was a solid cast of characters with room for growth turned into a cast of one-dimensional characters defined by one act or their powers. The protagonists didn’t have the defined motive that would make me cheer them on. The antagonists didn’t really. . . antagonize. Days after finishing it, I couldn’t tell you anything about the characters beyond their powers. Nothing stuck.
The only characterization that I thought really came through was this idea of challenging what’s good and evil. Nova and Adrian are forced to consider both sides of the story rather accepting a singular answer to everything. Good intentions don’t always mean the right decision and Meyer really showed that.
But the characters and the surrounding story still fell flat.
I just felt like there wasn’t enough plot to make this a trilogy! Renegades was drawn out but I enjoyed it more, I think, because it also involved a lot of world-building to get on the page and for a first book I tend to expect that. So I was cool with it, enjoyed it even, and saw the potential for a stellar sequel. But the characters? Bland, one-note, and all-together just. . . well, MEH. I liked Nova and Adrian, and even the others, in Renegades but they flatlined here and I honestly don’t feel super eager to read the last book. Granted, I’m already 2 in so I likely will but it’s not high on the list.
Archenemies felt like a step down from Renegades and I wish the series had been a duology rather than a trilogy. Perhaps that would have fixed some of the issues. I’ll certainly be lowering my expectations for the last book.