What a pleasant surprise! I loved Marissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles and liked Heartless a lot too, but I was less than impressed with the first two in this series (Renegades and Archenemies). They just didn’t strike me as all that original. The superhero thing has been done into the ground at this point, and I also had some logical issues with Nova’s core motivation. But somehow Supernova managed to turn that all around, or at least most of it.
The story opens with Nova and Adrian still in love, and still on the same Renegade team, ostensibly. But neither is yet aware of the other’s secret identity, or of the fact that they are archenemies (and I do love a good secret identity trope. Marissa Meyer seems to specialize in those.) The Renegades have developed Agent N, a substance that drains prodigies of their powers, and intended to use it against the Anarchists. But the Anarchists got hold of it and used it on some of the Renegades instead. Ace Anarchy is Nova’s uncle and the leader of the Anarchists, but he’s in prison. Nova is still playing both sides, and it’s only a matter of time before her identity is discovered. I figured it would play out in the usual way: at the very end, at the most climactic moment, Nova and Adrian will face each other as their alter egos, all will be revealed, and they will hate each other all the more for it, only later learning that they can work together toward a common goal…
But this isn’t what happened at all. I don’t want to spoil it, but Meyer definitely broke the mold of how these types of stories should go. I still had some issues with Nova’s motives for being an anarchist in the first place, but even those get turned on their head. Since throughout the series both the Renegades and the Anarchists are painted in shades of gray, I kind of wondered how it could possibly end (since a story like this kind of needs to be good vs evil), but gray did indeed sharpen into black and white in a big reveal at the end that made the climactic moment satisfying in a way it otherwise couldn’t have been. And in the end, an unlikely and innocent character saved the day (which I LOVED–such a great twist, and I was so glad this character finally got a chance to shine, after three books’ worth of foreshadowing). I love happily ever afters, and we got one in the end!
My rating: ****1/2
Sexual content: none
Violence: “comic book” violence only
Political content: some, but no more than what was already set up in the previous two books that I can recall. Though it did annoy me a bit in those–does EVERY popular story have to go there?–and I rather suspected the publisher made her add it in.