A girl and a robot look at each other across a broken tower. Below, people run down stairs away from the tower.

About the Book

Title: Archenemies (Renegades #2)
Published: 2018
Series: Renegades
Swoonworthy Scale: 6

Cover Story: Face Off
BFF Charm: Big Sister
Talky Talk: Shades of Grey
Bonus Factors: Art
Factor: Bridge Book
Relationship Status: Stubborn Fangirl

Danger, Will Robinson! Archenemies is the second book in the Renegades series. If you have not read the first book—Renegades—turn away now, as there might be spoilers in this review. If you have read the book, however, feel free to continue below.

Cover Story: Face Off

Where the cover of Renegades also showed the two main figures on this cover, they were back-to-back, not face-to-face. This change of location shows that they might find themselves at odds in Archenemies, but the look on the girl’s face looks conflicted, rather than vicious, which makes me think the situation isn’t at all cut and dry.

The Deal:

On a mission for her uncle Ace Anarchy, the most infamous villain of his time, Nova’s infiltrated the Renegades as Insomnia, who’s a valuable part of a hero team. But her true mission, and her true life as Nightmare, a notorious Anarchist thought to be dead, is always in the back of her mind. She wants revenge for her family, and to reinstate her uncle’s power. And when she finds her uncle’s helmet in the Renegade archives, she thinks everything’s on track.

But getting close to Adrian, although a part of the “plan,” isn’t going as smoothly as she hoped. Especially when she can’t stop thinking about that almost kiss …

BFF Charm: Big Sister

BFF Charm Big Sister with Clarissa from Clarissa Explains It All's face

Although I’m sure I’d feel differently were I in her shoes, reading about Nova’s motivations from an outside perspective had me gnashing my teeth. I understand that she’s been indoctrinated by her uncle to despise the Renegades, and blame them for her family’s deaths, but I got frustrated with her inability to realize that even though the Renegades are powerful superheroes, they can’t be everywhere at once, and they can’t save everyone. It’s a hard lesson, but one Nova really should have learned a long time ago. She needs some tough love, and not the kind (i.e., totally one-sided and frustratingly biased) that her uncle provides.

Swoonworthy Scale: 6

There’s so much chemistry between Nova and Adrian, but it’s totally overshadowed by the MASSIVE secrets they’re both keeping.

Talky Talk: Shades of Grey

In Archenemies, Meyer does an outstanding job of muddying the waters. The Renegades are supposed to be the good guys, but they’re not always upstanding citizens, and the fact that they basically gave all of their power to themselves is super questionable. As is something the Renegades introduce in Archenemies; it’s couched as a way to keep people safe and punish wrongdoings, but there are far too many ways it could all go terribly wrong, not to mention the implications it has for people’s inalienable human rights. The Anarchists aren’t in the right either, but some of their “villainous” ideas are actually quite heroic. This inability to determine who’s clearly good and who’s clearly evil is interesting change for a superhero story, and helps to ground it in reality, even though characters in the novel can do things like turn into a swarm of butterflies or put people to sleep with a single touch.

Bonus Factor: Art

Girl in art studio painting in a notepad

I really love Adrian’s superpower (the ability to sketch something and bring it to life), and he takes it to the next level in Archenemies. No spoilers, but it involves a dream …

Factor: Bridge Book

A stone bridge over a still pond in a forest

Archenemies doesn’t totally fall prey to the dreaded Bridge Book Blues, but it wasn’t as action-packed as I had hoped for the second book in this series.

Relationship Status: Stubborn Fangirl

I wasn’t super happy with your storyline this time around, Book, but once a fan, always a fan. I’ll stick around for a while yet.

Literary Matchmaking

Renegades (Renegades #1)

If you haven’t read Marissa Meyer’s first book in this series, Renegades, I’m not sure why you made it this far in this review.

Wonder Woman: Warbringer (DC Icons #1)

Check out Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo for more superhero action.

Steelheart (Reckoners #1)

And for more supervillain action, try Brandon Sanderson’s Steelheart.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from Feiwel & Friends, but got neither a private dance party with Tom Hiddleston nor money in exchange for this review. Archenemies is available now.

Mandy (she/her) is a manager at a tech company who lives in Austin, TX, with her husband, son, and dogs. She loves superheroes and pretty much any show or movie with “Star” in the name.