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Archenemies: Renegades, Book 2

Book review by
Carrie R. Wheadon, Common Sense Media
Archenemies: Renegades, Book 2 Book Poster Image
Sequel is slow to build, full of super-spy intrigue.

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 2 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

What could happen when society breaks down and how hard it is to maintain the balance of personal freedoms vs. safety and order -- of course, here superheroes are added into the mix, but the ideas are similar. Readers steeped in the superhero genre will want to make comparisons between this world of Renegades and other superhero worlds. Specific to this book in the series: The process of electrolysis is briefly explained and used to corrode metal.

Positive Messages

Ponders the difference between revenge and justice, and what it means to adhere to law and order vs. vigilantism. Also addresses the dangers of absolute power and what are basic human rights.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Nova is a conflicted character -- spying on the Renegades while working for their enemies. She just becomes more conflicted, allowing herself to get closer to Adrian. She does, however, show concern for the rights of others and questions authority in some good ways. Adrian remains secretive about his vigilantism. He's desperate to prove himself. Main characters are diverse: Nova is half-Italian, half-Filipino; Adrian has dark skin; and a member of their team has long dreadlocks (that turn into butterflies). Adrian and his brother were adopted by gay dads.


Brief gore -- torture of a captive, a head crushed, a spear through a boy's chest. Fights between superheroes and villains using powers and guns. Stab and burn injuries and a near-drowning. Violence takes place before the main story is set is referred to often. Six-year-old Nova watches her parents shot down in front of her and hears her baby sister killed. Adrian's mother is killed when he's young. A war between superheroes and villains nine years before killed many and is discussed often.


Kissing and groping. Spending the night.


"Ass" and "damn" said rarely.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Champagne served at a gala.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Archenemies is the second book in a superhero series by Marissa Meyer, the best-selling author of the Lunar Chronicles series and Heartless. Expect a similar level of fantasy violence as good guys and bad guys use their superpowers and guns to battle. A few brief moments of gore include the torture of a captive, a head crushed, and a spear through a boy's chest. There are continued references to the main characters' tragic beginnings: Both had family members killed. Romantic elements stick to kissing, groping, and staying the night. Characters are culturally diverse and there's a positive depiction of an adoptive family with two dads. The story includes some tough questions for readers to ponder: the difference between revenge and justice, and the dangers of absolute power.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byStudiousStudent January 8, 2019

Great Sequel!

In my opinion, this book was even better than the first. The character development was fleshed out a little more and there were more opportunities for the chara... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byKen C. Wolf February 12, 2019

Great skies, even better than the first.

The best sequel I have ever read! If you liked the first book, get ready for this action packed book that never seems to drop your attention. Nova and Adrian a... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byKittenDreamer December 15, 2018

You have to read this book!

This book is full of action, exitment, and suspense. You have to read it! It does curse a little, but not that much.

What's the story?

In ARCHENEMIES, the Renegades have a new, dangerous toy: Agent N. It's a serum that can neutralize the powers of any prodigy (person with powers) who operates outside of their strict law-and-order world. Both Adrian and Nova are alarmed about the invention. Adrian was just about to tell his superhero dads/leaders of the Renegades about his alter-ego, the Sentinel. He was sure he'd get in trouble for some of his vigilante heroism, but never thought it could mean the loss of his powers. Nova knows if she's caught as a spy for the Anarchists they won't hesitate to take her powers, and the powers of her friends and the uncle who raised her, Ace Anarchy himself. But Ace spots an opportunity. If they can steal the serum, none of the Renegades will be safe from it either. To do that, Nova will have to get even cozier with her enemies, especially Adrian, who she's already falling for.

Is it any good?

Like the first book, this superhero spy sequel takes a while to warm up the plot lines, romance, and intrigue, but pulls it together in a heroic flourish near the end. And it goes deep with themes about power struggles and human rights. When a super villain is stripped of his power while a horde of Renegades cheer for their new weapon, the line between good and bad guys softens and things get interesting. Especially when both Nova, the spy, and Adrian, the secret vigilante, both voice their fears about what this means for them and society.

If only all the layers of the story held that depth and cohesion. Nova and Adrian are stagnant characters in Archenemies. Sure, they let themselves fall for each other, and they have some sweet moments, but they both get stuck in their thinking and author Marissa Meyer gets stuck repeating why Nova still wants revenge and why Adrian can't tell his dads or Nova about his alter-ego. Their convictions don't stand up, and it's a relief when the action unfolds at the end. All the storylines converge well here and supers get to do what they do best: wield their cool powers.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about revenge vs. justice in Archenemies. What is the difference? What are the main characters seeking for the loss of their families?

  • What does the use of Agent N by the Renegades have to do with human rights?

  • Will you read the next in the series? What do you think will happen to the main characters? Is there any happy ending possible for both sworn enemies?

Book details

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