REVIEW ✧ ARCHENEMIES BY MARISSA MEYER

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“Once we have total power, what’s to keep us from becoming villains ourselves?”

☆☆☆☆

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.

If you’re not reading anything by Marissa Meyer you’re missing out on something truly magical. I don’t even mean this series in particular. Just all of her books, I say even though there’s still one of her books sitting unread in my room. But you only need to read one single book by her to know that she is special. I’ve said it before and I will say it again: Marissa Meyer is at the top of the YA game. I don’t even know if she knows this, but I know that the world doesn’t entirely know this. She is constantly tuned in to what people are wanting to see in YA all while writing such unique and entertaining plots. I took a while to read the first book in this series but I definitely loved it, and I loved this sequel just as much. And bonus points for reading it faster this time! I feel like I’m always complaining about second books but there was very little I had to complain about this time. Sure, minor things here and there, but it’s yet another stellar book from Meyer. It was exciting, heartwarming, frustrating, angsty, and all around a wild ride.

Because this is the second book in a series, and I have zero chill, I cannot properly review this book without revealing any spoilers so a gigantic SPOILER ALERT is now in effect.

THE GOOD

  • I’m pretty sure I said this in my review for the first book, but one of the reasons that Meyer is killing the YA game is because of how inclusive her books are and how they’re filled, filled, with representation. But she’s been doing this with her books ever since The Lunar Chronicles but I feel like she’s still improving and adding as much representation as she can. Not only is there POC representation and LGBT representation, but there’s also disabled representation, and she does all of this while making these characters superheroes. They are never the butt of the joke, never shown as weak or fragile or something that people need to be careful and tiptoe around. Hugh and Simon are probably the power couple that everyone in Gatlon City looks up do, and kids look up to someone like Oscar and see that even people with canes can be strong and heroic. I can probably count on one hand how many main protagonists in this book are white and out of so many characters, it’s fantastic to see.
  • The cliffhanger from the first book showed us that Ace Anarchy was not, in fact, dead and was very much alive, and that all of Nova’s undercover work is to actually find a way to get Ace back to his former strength and glory. Therefore, we spend a lot of time in this book watching Nova plan to retrieve Ace’s helmet and see how weak Ace actually is without his full power, which is why he needs the helmet. I feel like this added a lot more depth to Nova’s story and her motivations rather than it simply being because she wants revenge against the Renegades for not saving her family. Sure, it’s still the big driving force to what she’s doing but having her searching for the helmet and getting Ace’s power back added more meat to the story, I think. I also found it pretty interesting to see the overall relationship Ace has with the rest of the Anarchists, how they are literally willing to do anything for him and he will always be such an idolized figure to them. Not saying it’s a healthy thing but it says a lot about the Anarchist organization and shows how they really are on the opposite side of the spectrum than the Renegades.
  • This book definitely spent a lot of the time following Nova and her plan to get Ace’s helmet, but I also feel like it began to set up the final conclusion and potential outcome of the series, but not in a filler type way. If that makes sense. What I really like about this series is how there’s this constant discussion of moral greyness and how things aren’t as simple as being good and bad, right and wrong. There are people, like some of the Renegades, who believe prodigies should use their powers for good and to help people, to keep them safe, and that the Renegade way is the right way. Then there are other people, like the Anarchists, who think that prodigies shouldn’t be told how to use their powers and the Renegade code can do more harm than good, and they’d rather see prodigy powers celebrated rather than exploited. And then there are those who are in the middle, in the grey area. In my opinion, I think that there needs to be some kind of balance between the Renegades and Anarchists and with characters like Nova and Adrian, who constantly straddle that middle line, they might be able to bring this balance into the city and the world. They know that it’s not as easy as the Renegades say it is, and prodigies shouldn’t be told what they can and can’t do with their powers to a degree. Plus, with the development of Agent N that gives Renegades the power to strip prodigies of their powers, it begs the question of why the Renegades should be allowed to make such decisions. It also has Nova wondering if the world would be better without prodigies altogether. It’s an interesting debate and topic, particularly for Nova’s character, and part of me wonders if this will be the central focus of the final book. I also wonder if her dream and Adrian’s mural is a bit of foreshadowing of the outcome. Just a thought.
  • The slowburn romance between Adrian and Nova is killing me! I thought I knew a good slowburn but they are the slowburn romance that we deserve. It was evident that there was something between them in the first book but this time around, we had double the tension and double the angst. I particularly loved seeing Nova struggle with her feelings and whether or not she actually had to fake what she felt towards Adrian, wondering if she could actually like him the way she was starting to and if it was deserved. And, on the other hand, you see Adrian thinking that Nova no longer likes him and therefore keeps his distance as long as he can, being a typical dumb teenage boy. Seeing Adrian and Nova is like watching two people who are borderline perfect for one another and compliment each other so well but are completely unaware of it. They’re starting to let each other in and break down some walls, growing more and more comfortable around one another. I just know that when their secrets come out it’ll be like a volcanic eruption and I’m not looking forward to it. But it’ll be fine, they’ll be fine.
  • I’ve always been a fan of the Everhart family and seeing Adrian find a way not only for himself to interact with Max and hug him but for Simon to as well brought so many tears to my eyes. I just really love this family and love how they all care and support each other. Nothing bad can happen to this family ever.
  • I’m still trying to recover from the emotional rollercoaster of a cliffhanger this book left off on and while it’s not as shocking as the first book’s cliffhanger, it still played with my emotions. It’s potentially the meanest thing Meyer has ever done, and that’s including everything she did to Wolflet in The Lunar Chronicles.

THE BAD

  • There were things that I expected to see happen in this book that didn’t and I can’t help but feel a bit disappointed. Obviously, one of the biggest driving points of this book is Nova’s secret of actually being Nightmare and Adrian’s secret of being The Sentinel, and I was convinced that at least one of their secrets would be revealed in this book. But it wasn’t. Not to each other, at least. Sure, I got to see Ruby and Oscar find out that Adrian is The Sentinel and it’s 99% confirmed that Danna knows that Nova is Nightmare, and that’s great for drama and tensions and all that jazz, but no one else knows and it’s frustrating. I kept waiting for Adrian to put the pieces together and figure it out, and it seemed like he almost had it near the end and I was waiting for the bomb to drop, but he still has no clue. I just think it would’ve made the story a bit better if one of them found the other out.
  • I honestly expected a bit more from Ace’s character, especially given how big his reveal was, but he seemed to be more of a character that was simply there since he no longer has his previous strength. I don’t want to call him boring, but after all the talk and buildup to his character, he was a tad bit dull.

THE BOTTOM LINE

  • While there were times this book felt a bit filler-y, it still remained to be intriguing and exciting and I can confirm that it did not suffer from the dreaded second book syndrome. Do yourself a favour and pick up this series. I mean, you should definitely read Marissa Meyer in general, but I feel like this series deserves all the love and attention right now.

BONUS: how this book made me feel in a GIF

ABOUT THE BOOK

Title: Archenemies (Renegades #2)
Author: Marissa Meyer
Release Date: November 6, 2018
Pages: 471 (Hardcover)
Goodreads

Until next time,

What did you think of the book? Leave a comment below!

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