Author: Marissa Meyer
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Genre: YA, action, superheroes, scifi
Publication Date: November 6, 2018
Nova is living a double life. In one, she’s Insomnia, a Renegade superhero dedicated to protecting the weak and maintaining order in Galton city. In the other, she’s Nightmare, and Anarchist determined to bring down the Renegades who once failed to protect her family.
Adrian is also living a double life. In one, he’s the leader of his Renegade patrol group, son of the leaders of the Renegades, and upstanding citizen. In the other, he’s the Sentinel, a vigilante determined to do good even if it means breaking a few rules.
Nova, Adrian, and the crew are faced with problems beyond secret identities as crime escalates in Galton City. They also have to deal with a new secret weapon being rolled out by the Renegade scientists, one with horrifying ethical implications. To top it off, Adrian and Nova’s feels for each other deepen, blurring the line between good and evil even further.
Oh, man, was this book a lot of fun. Nova is such a great character. Raised by evil super villains, she’s concerned with justice and integrity even more than the so-called superheroes. She isn’t blinded by her powers and and the idea that good is always right. She’s concerned with the people of the city, with ethics, and has a clearer picture of how power can be perverted. That’s not to say that she doesn’t have blindness of her own. Her uncle, Ace Anarchy, and the other villains, clearly don’t care about the people as she does. They want power for power’s sake, to be able to do what they want, and the freedom they enjoyed during the Age of Anarchy, when lawlessness ruled. But Nova, of course, is too young and naive to see that, which makes her story a tragedy.
I like Adrian well enough, but he’s not as interesting to me as Nova is. His power is the ability to bring drawings and paintings to life, and he’s used it to tattoo modifications on himself to turn him into the Sentinel. He’s willing to break the rules of that his parents follow, and he does have a point, but ultimately, he’s more of a child in his thinking. I do like the way he cares about everyone, especially Nova. His and Nova’s relationship is very cute and I like the way the came together.
I wish, though, more time had been spent on developing the “bad” Renegade patrol unit. They are exactly what Nova fears: superheroes that abuse their power and authority. I have no t trouble believing that they exist, but I would have liked them to be more complicated and less cartoonishly villainous. I would have liked to see some nuance. But, on the other hand, they contrasted with Adrian, who as Sentinel is abusing his powers and breaking the rules, but following a code that keeps his conscience clear, unlike Geinessa and her crew. So, maybe that’s where the nuance lies.
I highly recommend this book. It’s a great read on what the world might be like with superheroes where the world doesn’t fall apart like in Watchmen by Alan Moore. If you’re looking for an exciting escape from the world, this series is for you.