Villains Rising: The Cloak Society, Book 2

Book review by
Carrie R. Wheadon, Common Sense Media
Villains Rising: The Cloak Society, Book 2 Book Poster Image
Slower-paced superhero sequel keeps violence in check.

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

Educational Value

As the supervillains gain power, they use a number of tactics to sway the public, mostly through media manipulation, which can give kids food for thought on how, when, and why the media is used for that purpose in the real world. There's also a brief discussion of the Great Dying at the end of the Permian age, which killed off numerous insect species before the dinosaurs came.

Positive Messages

Former enemies must become allies here, so teamwork and trust are big. The young superheroes keep their vow never to kill if they can help it but still engage in some fierce fighting with the enemy, trying to disable them as long as possible.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Alex is called out for his grim outlook when the odds are stacked against them and for the way he seems to think he bears responsibility for everything. Mallory reminds him that they're a team and that they share the burden. Alex also has big trust issues, which often alienate him from others. Boys and girls with superpowers are equals here; they only try to protect Misty from fighting alongside them because she's younger than everyone else.


Battles between superheroes and villains can get tense but are never gory. Alex uses his telekinesis to slam opponents into walls, and Amp knocks supers out with blasts of sound. Other characters use claws, metal fists, and gas bombs that work for a few hours. Some characters are tied up and held captive. No enemies are killed. There's talk of how the kids can get the adult superheroes out of an alternate plane of existence called the Gloom, where they were disposed of in the first book. There's also talk of how many kids with superpowers were orphaned in a big battle 10 years earlier.


"Crap" is as bad as it gets.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Villains Rising: The Cloak Society, Book 2 is the second book in a superhero vs. supervillain series targeted at tweens. The first book, The Cloak Society, featured young supervillains realizing they picked the wrong side. Now they're hiding out with a small band of young superheroes and trying to form a team. Of course they have problems with whom to trust and how to work together. They also fight some villains using their various powers (one uses telekinesis to slam opponents into walls, and others use claws, metal fists, and gas bombs), but it never gets gory and no one dies.

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What's the story?

After Justice Tower burns to the ground at the end of The Cloak Society, former supervillains-in-training Alex, Mallory, and Misty lie low with young heroes Amp, Kyle, and Kirbie in a lakeside safe house in the Sterling City 'burbs. Gage, Alex's super-brilliant scientist friend, comes along, toting a precious half of the special weapon that transported the adult superheroes into an alternate plane known as the Gloom. The new, not-quite team starts training together, while Gage immediately gets to work in the lake house garage trying to repair the weapon and get the heroes back. But Gage soon realizes he can't make progress without the other half of the weapon. Thus, this new team-in-training's first mission: Go to Alex's former underground lair to retrieve it. Even if they sneak out of their safe house on a night they know the High Council will be gone, plenty of other villains are on the lookout for them including the young Beta team villains they left behind and the Omegas, a covert group of superspies whose superpowers and training Alex fears are far superior to theirs.

Is it any good?

VILLAINS RISING: THE CLOAK SOCIETY, BOOK 2 is one of those books that needs the old sports-movie cliche of a montage -- maybe a few of them. One for when Alex and team start training together. One for Gage in his workshop fixing the Gloom weapon, when he tests things on Alex and Amp and fails and everyone waits and bites fingernails. One for planning meetings with maps and snips of newscasts as the new team tries to plot their next move. One for preparing for their mission to the underground lair. Then we could get to the action faster and get to meeting those cool Omegas -- just when you think there aren't any superpowers left to think up, the author offers us a few more slick ones. (Well, maybe one derives from a Wonder Twin's ability to turn into water, but this is way, way cooler.)

Fans of superhero tales should still be drawn in enough to find out what happens to Alex and friends in Book 2 and beyond -- they definitely have a lot stacked against them -- but don't expect a fast and thrilling read until near the end. It may be helpful to skim until you get there.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how the supervillains use the media to their advantage. Why do they report Misty as missing? What else do they do? What's their endgame?

  • Alex doesn't trust Bug, and Kirbie doesn't trust Del. What are their reasons? Did you suspect they were up to something, too? Were you right?

  • How does this new band of young superheroes compare with other supergroups like the Justice League and the Avengers? What's your favorite supergroup? Why?

Book details

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