I didn’t love this one for the same reasons why I didn’t much love “Renegades”– which still makes me sad, because I’ve been so impressed with everything else Marissa Meyer has written.
My biggest issue is with Nova’s conflict, which is pretty core to the story. Her parents and her baby sister were murdered by villains when she was a child, and she had grown up believing that the Renegade prodigies, particularly Captain Chromium and the Dread Warden, would always save the day. But they didn’t come, and her family died. So… she doesn’t blame the villains that actually performed the murders. She blames the prodigies for not being omnipresent and omnipotent?? I could buy this in terms of child logic, but by the time the series takes place, she’s a teenager, and a prodigy herself. So she of all people should know that prodigies are not all-powerful gods. Yet this is the entire basis for her siding with the Anarchists (who really do seem like a shady bunch) rather than with the Renegades, who to the best of their abilities are trying to make the world a better place and keep ordinary citizens safe. There are a few complicating factors in this book, such as the Renegades’ indiscriminate use of “Agent N,” which strips other prodigies of their powers without a trial. That’s bad, sure… but it’s certainly not reason enough for her to turn against her teammates and friends, and the boy she loves. Also, Nova adores Ace Anarchy, her uncle, because he raised her — I get that part. But he killed lots of people, and he wants to destroy society as they know it, no matter who gets hurt in the process. He also told Nova to get close to Adrian just so she can manipulate him for the Anarchists’ ends. He’s a bad guy… surely she’s noticed this. Yet we’re supposed to root for her? I just found the whole premise flimsy.
Adrian Everhart (aka The Sentinel), meanwhile, continues in his obsession with Nightmare, Nova’s alter-ego. He believes that Nightmare has information on his mother’s death, and/or was in league with the Anarchists who killed her, and he despises her for it. But if the reason for this belief was ever fully explained (I mean, why Nightmare, rather than any of the other Anarchists), then I missed it.
And also, why does Nova hate the Sentinel so much? He’s rogue too–she hates the Renegades for appointing themselves guardians of the free world without being elected to their positions. But the Sentinel breaks the rules, just like she does. Maybe it’s just because the Sentinel has it in for Nightmare, but I wasn’t super clear on this either.
So basically all the main conflicts of the story didn’t make a lot of sense to me. I still love Marissa Meyer’s writing style, her creativity, and her characters. I’m just not a huge fan of this series.
My rating: ***