Time is running out.
Together, they can save the world.
But they are each other’s worst nightmare.
Nova’s double life is about to get a lot more complicated:
As Insomnia, she is a fully-fledged member of the Renegades, a syndicate of powerful and beloved superheroes.
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 most.
But as Nova, her feelings for Adrian are deepening, despite the fact that he is a Renegade and the son of her sworn enemies and, unbeknownst to Nova, he has some dangerous secrets of his own.
The line between good and evil has been blurred, but too much power could mean the end of their city – and the world – as they know it.
Archenemies by Marissa Meyer is the second book in the Renegades trilogy. It will be published by Pan Macmillan on April 18th 2019. I received an eARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Trigger warnings; violence, oppression, torture.
Archenemies wasn’t one of my most-anticipated releases of this year but I was still excited to continue with the story. This book, and the series so far, is the very definition of ‘slow-burn’. Meyer takes the time to build everything up before moving forwards, and while that worked relatively well in the first book when we were also getting to know the characters and the world they lived in it didn’t work so well in Archenemies. As it was the plot only really kicked off in the last quarter, and after the ending to Renegades I think I expected more in this second book.
“Once we have total power, what’s to keep us from becoming villains ourselves?”
After ‘killing’ Nightmare in from of Adrian Nova should be safe to continue her charade as Insomnia; safe from anyone discovering who she’s really working with until it’s too late. But Nova still struggles with her feelings; she likes Adrian and Max, and the team she’s been working with, but when she finds herself wavering all she has to do is remember what the Renegades let happen to her parents and her subterfuge becomes easy again.
When the Renegades announce the roll-out of Agent N, a formula which takes prodigies powers away from them, Nova knows the time for infiltration is over. The invention of Agent N raises a lot of questions; the main one being is it right to put that much power in the hands of the Renegade teams? Given the power to take prodigies powers away from them forever could sway anyone, and what’s to stop the Renegades one day administering the formula against any prodigies who refuse to join their side? However Nova seems to be the only person willing to voice these concerns, and she’s brushed aside by most of the Renegades who see this as a massive step forwards.
He spread his arms wide, as if he could embrace the city below. “There are so many things to marvel at. How could anyone want to hurt it? How can people wake up every morning and not think—The sun is still there! And I’m still here! This is incredible!”
The moral dilemmas raised in this book were interesting; Agent N was a massive question for a lot of Archenemies but my favourite scene was the one between Nova and Callum discussing Ace Anarchy’s actions – his motivation and his means – as they looked over the city. Nova knows her uncle did some horrible things but she believes in his end goal, she knows the world is better for them all because of Ace’s actions all those years ago and she’s been vocal about that. Without Ace the prodigies would likely still be persecuted, seen as less than humans.
When her uncle hears about Agent N he wants to use it for himself, to further the Anarchists cause, but Nova doesn’t believe it should even exist in the first place. Nova is morally a very grey character, but she doesn’t truly agree with the Anarchists plans. She believed in Ace’s vision all those years ago and Agent N seems to go against that. Something that takes away the powers of prodigies should be something Ace Anarchy is completely against, but Nova still follows her uncle and agrees the weapon should not remain only in the hands of the Renegades.
“Having superpowers doesn’t automatically make you some selfless hero. People are greedy and cruel, and…for some, having superpowers just makes them even more greedy and cruel.”
The relationship between Nova and Adrian progresses a little in this book. Nova is asked by her uncle to get closer to Adrian, believing they’ll be able to use him against his fathers’, and while Nova does feel something for Adrian she buried it knowing they’re on two different sides, even if Adrian isn’t aware of that. However it seems like after Nova pulled away from Adrian at the end of Renegades he’s backed off a little, and Nova’s worried she’s ruined things with him. Adrian still clearly likes Nova, but he has his own secret he’s keeping from her and the Renegades in the shape of the Sentinel.
Despite seeing Nightmare blown to pieces in front of him and despite what everyone tells him Adrian doesn’t believe the Anarchist is dead, but he’s at a dead end as Nightmare was the only lead he had to finding out who killed his mother. That along with a series of events which leads the Renegades to believe the Sentinel is dead convinces Adrian to put aside his superhero alter-ego for the time being.
“I just want to remind you that there are no lone wolves in the Renegades. There is no I in hero.”
Adrian believes things were better when they could simply be superheroes rather than having to be leaders, whereas Nova thinks they should be disbanded completely to let humanity stand on its own again instead of relying so heavily on those with powers. I think Adrian and Nova have a lot of similarities, and while both of them are keeping a lot of secrets about who they are they’re also honest in a lot of ways, opening up about private things they wouldn’t have shared with anyone else.
Similarly to Renegades Archenemies devoted a lot of the story to setting everything up. There was a new dynamic to explore as Danna re-joined the team alongside Nova, Adrian, Ruby and Oscar, and as Danna grew suspicious of Nova’s true intentions because of the small things Nova gave away. A lot of the focus was on Nova’s attempts to steal Ace Anarchy’s helmet from the Renegades vault, where it had been locked in a seemingly fool-proof chromium box, and to swipe a sample of Agent N, while also working out how to remain immune to its effects once the Anarchists weaponised it.
“Sometimes Nova felt like the Renegades of the past had more in common with the Anarchists than anyone dared to admit.”
Again it was a lot of build up for a few chapters of action where everything came to a head in the last few chapters. I am still excited for the last book in this trilogy, but after the ending to Renegades I said I hoped book two would take what had been built up the first book and run with it and that didn’t turn out to be the case so I can’t say it’s a highly anticipated read of mine.
Have you read Archenemies, or is it still on your TBR list?
Did you expect more from Archenemies after the ending to Renegades, and were you a little let down by how slow the plot seemed to progress again in this second book? Did you enjoy seeing more of Ace Anarchy in this book?
Have you read any of Marissa Meyer’s other releases, which is your favourite?