Archenemies by Marissa Meyer

Superheroes, double agents, killer actions scenes, and romance – what more could you possibly want from a book? After the satisfying ending from from Renegades, I wasn’t sure how this book could possibly measure up. Luckily it did – with pulse-pounding action scenes, surprisingly tender moments, and an altogether more cohesive storytelling experience, Archenemies did something rare for a sequel: it was even better than the first book.

Time is running out.
Together, they can save the world.
But they each other’s worst nightmare.

In Renegades, Nova and Adrian (aka Insomnia and Sketch) fought the battle of their lives against the Anarchist known as the Detonator. It was a short-lived victory.

The Anarchists still have a secret weapon, one that Nova believes will protect her. The Renegades also have a strategy for overpowering the Anarchists, but both Nova and Adrian understand that it could mean the end of Gatlon City – and the world – as they know it.

Archenemies hits the ground running from where Renegades left off and wastes no time getting into the meat of the plot. The thing I loved most about the first book was its excellent pacing and amazing fight scenes – this book continued the tradition and had a ton of exciting and well executed action scenes. It takes a deft hand to be able to infuse emotion into action-packed moments without toning down the excitement. While there were more subplots than in the first novel, I would have liked a bit more narrative from subplots to support the main story.

One of my complaints with the first book was the tone of the writing – it was overly stylized and came off as a bit campy and cartoon-ish. Not only did it take away from the overall tone of the book, it also undermined the overall story and made it hard to get into. Luckily, in Archenemies, the tone/writing style was much easier to get into and wasn’t nearly as jarring to read. It was still stylized to sound like an old school comic book, but it was less over-exaggerated and helped set the atmosphere rather than taking away from it. As with the first book, Archenemies is told from double points of view – those of Adrian and Nova. Having both of these characters narrate gave a great amount of depth. It also helped drive home the core message of the book: being good or bad is not necessarily a black and white definition.

Nova and Adrian are amazing characters – they’re both nuanced and complex and not without their faults. The fact that they can stand on opposite sides and still have such great chemistry speaks volumes to the time that was spent on their characterization. Their relationship was lopsided in both directions – Adrian didn’t know that Nova secretly sides with the villains and has an alter-ego (Nightmare) and Nova didn’t know that Adrian was moonlighting as the Sentinel, a rogue vigilante. This double agent twist from both sides added tension and excitement to moments ranging from fight scenes to tender moments where both are conflicted about confiding in the other. While more of the side characters were given definition and purpose than in Renegades, I hope that Adrian’s full team is given more definition in Supernova.

Even if you’re not a fan of super heroes, this book is worth picking up. At the surface level it’s a fun and action packed romp of heroes vs villains, but when you take a closer look it’s also a nuanced take on what it means to be good or evil. I’d highly recommend this series to anyone looking for a fun, action-packed trilogy. 5/5.

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  1. It’s always exciting when the second book is even better than the first. Great review!

  2. I’ve been meaning to pick up Renegades for a while. I need to do so soon.
    Gemma @ Gemma’s Book Nook

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