Archenemies (Renegades, #2) – Marissa Meyer

35425827Rating⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

Synopsis:

The Renegades Trilogy continues, in this fiercely awaited second installment after the New York Times-bestselling Renegades by Marissa Meyer, author of the Lunar Chronicles.

Time is running out.
Together, they can save the world.
But 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 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 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.

Review

This review will contain spoilers for Renegades. 

I loved being back in this world of prodigies, heroes, and villains! I have been anxiously awaiting Archenemies since finishing Renegades last year. I have been dying to know what’s next for Nova and Adrian . . . and of course Ace Anarchy! Marissa Meyer ended Renegades with a huge reveal and cliffhanger so I jumped right into Archenemies to find out what happens next.

The vast majority of this book focuses on Nova and Adrian dealing with their respective secret identities. Adrian’s role as the Sentinel has not gone to plan at all. He isn’t seen as the hero he was hoping for. It’s a constant debate within him to keep going or let the Sentinel die. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely adore Adrian and I love the concept of the Sentinel’s tattoos, but the whole Sentinel conundrum got a little bit annoying. I just wanted him to tell his friends and family that it was him! As for Nova, she is struggling with her feelings throughout the entire book. She is an Anarchist and believes in revenge against the Renegades, but she starts to see that not all Renegades are bad. She is so conflicted by her feelings for Adrian and her developing friendships with Oscar, Ruby, and Max. I honestly went back and forth with my feelings for Nova. Part of me is like – Nova you have a good thing going here! You have friends and a boy that cares about you. The Renegade organization is corrupt, but there is some good. You can work to change it with Adrian’s help! But, the other part of me is – the Renegades are so horribly corrupt! How come they get to decide everything without input from the public! Bring them down, Nova! Nova makes a lot of good points regarding what’s wrong with the Renegade organization. . .

  • The Renegades made themselves judge, jury, lawmakers, and executioners.
  • None of the Council’s laws or code was ever voted on or officially accepted by the public.
  • The Renegades force their code and rules onto everyone. If you don’t follow everything = you’re a villain.

I definitely agree with her about how screwed up the Renegade organization is, BUT Nova’s solution (aka what Ace has told her) needs work. She wants to bring down the organization, but doesn’t have a real plan for what to do after. It seems like Ace just wants to create chaos. There needs to be a middle ground between the Renegades and the Anarchists.

Minor spoiler . . . . . . .

One of the biggest conflicts in Archenemies is the introduction of Agent N. The Renegade scientists have created an antidote to permanently neutralize a prodigy’s power. The Council plans to equip all Renegade patrol units with Agent N to use in the field. “Anyone with extraordinary abilities who chooses to conduct themselves in an unlawful manner will no longer be tolerated. They will forfeit the privilege of being a prodigy.” It’s all kinds of messed up. Nova is rightfully furious. Agent N is a violation of prodigy rights (which Ace fought for during the Age of Anarchy). The Renegades are deciding who is allowed to be a prodigy. There is no fair trial or due process. To show how Agent N works, the council demonstrates it on Winston (aka the Puppeteer). Obviously, I find Winston horrible and absolutely terrifying, but this scene was brutal to read! It was devastating to watch him realize that his power was gone. His entire being had been changed.

I totally agree with Nova about Agent N. “This is a clear corruption of power. They can’t just send patrol units out on the streets with this stuff and expect that mistakes won’t be made. That people won’t let their emotions get away from them. What about a fair trial? Evidence? What if someone makes a living using their ability, and then it gets taken away, without a second thought? Or what if someone were to turn their life around and start using their power to help people? Agent N would take that choice away from them. You know, the Renegades talk an awful lot about human rights, but this is a violation of prodigy rights.” Now, I don’t know what Marissa Meyer’s beliefs are, but this part can easily be applied to gun violence in our society. I don’t know if that’s what she intended, but I totally got that.

I was all on board with Nova at this part, but then she takes the Agent N to Ace who wants to weaponize it against the Renegades. Nova thinks that doing so would make them no different than the Renegades, but she still agrees. I hope that her blind allegiance to Ace is dealt with in the next book.

A couple of quick points before I wrap this up. . .

  • I said this in my review for Renegades (which is on GoodReads), but I’ll say it again. I love all the different prodigy abilities. Everything is so unique and interesting. There are standard superhero powers like flying and invincibility, but then there are super unique ones like Sketch’s drawing or Ruby’s blood crystals. I would definitely want Sketch’s power. How cool would it be to be able to draw anything into existence!?
  • Hawthorn was so creepy! The tentacles and the way she spider crawls! It was straight out of a horror movie! I was a little disappointed that she didn’t have a huge role in Archenemies. 
  • I thought the Artifacts Department was a super (pun intended) cool detail. I would totally be fascinated like Callum. And speaking of Callum, I loved him! He was such a nerd and I loved it. And his power!? It was beautiful!
  • Adrian creating the mural of Nova’s dream . . . absolutely stunning.
  • Adrian is so adorably awkward around Nova. I love it!
  • For some reason I just noticed Phobia on the cover and holy shit! He is terrifying!!

My one complaint for Archenemies is that it was very slow going. The majority of the book is devoted to Nova and Adrian’s inner conflict and their romance. I liked the book, but I wasn’t head over heels for it. BUT THEN. THAT ENDING. Marissa Meyer did it again. The entire book was building and leading up to the absolutely explosive ending. I was going to rate this book 3.5 stars, but the ending bumped it up to 4!! It was so good. I can’t believe I have to wait another year to find out what happens next!!!

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