I might be remembering incorrectly, but I feel like the first novel in this new series, Renegades, had somewhat mixed reviews. I actually enjoyed it because I enjoy super hero stories (just because Brandon Sanderson’s Steelheart trilogy exists and is amazing, doesn’t mean there isn’t space to explore other stories like this). Unfortunately, I can’t say the same about Archenemies.
Renegades included a lot of set up mixed with plot development and action as well as an amazing reveal at the end. With that, I think I was expecting a lot more forward momentum in this one. I still think there are spaces for betrayals and revelations on both sides, because I think both the Anarchists and the Renegades (the heroes of the city) have been hiding things from their followers, and specifically Adrian and Nova. However, none of those shake ups happened in this novel (I mean, I could simply be a conspiracy theorist). Instead, it introduced a few more plot pieces, such as a serum that can take away people’s abilities permanently.
Most of the novel, however, deals with Nova continuing her infiltration of the Renegade headquarters, and figuring out how to balance her lies with her very true developing feelings for Adrian. Adrian continues to have his normal super hero persona as well as the secret alter-ego. Honestly, I am more interested in Adrian’s actual powers and finding out more about his mother, and find the whole Sentinel plot line slightly eye roll inducing. Nova is simply a more interesting and complex character compared to Adrian.
As before, the novel explores the inter dynamics of the different groups, and shows how people in authority can easily abuse those powers, blurring the lines between hero and villain, good and bad guy, very quickly. It’s not a bad theme to explore but it’s been a big part of the story for two books now, so I would prefer some action/forward progression with the contemplation.
I’ll still read the next novel because hopefully all these story line will come to a head, and there should be some interesting revelations and confrontations. I just wish this one had moved further along in shaking up the status quo of the novel rather than feeling like set up for the next novel.