Nova cannot forgive the Renegades.
After witnessing the murder of her entire family as a child, Nova holds a grudge against the superhero group who promised to be there and failed when she needed them the most. Now a teenager, she plans to take them out from the inside. Disguising herself as Nova McClain, a Prodigy who never falls asleep, she applies to become a Renegade herself, all while operating as the villainous Nightmare after hours. Will she be successful in taking down the organization she holds responsible for the death of everyone she cared for? Or will her true identity be discovered?
While Marissa Meyer is best known for her sci-fi fairy tale retellings, I find her superhero books—the Renegades Trilogy—to be her best work. Filled with compelling characters, a gripping romance, and a solid examination of the concepts of good and evil, The Renegades Trilogy is an excellent example of young adult fiction done well.
The trilogy is headlined by two characters, Nova, on her mission for revenge, and Adrian. As the adopted son of two prominent superheroes, Adrian appears to be the perfect Renegade. But his frustrations with the restrictions set forth by the council leads him to moonlighting as a vigilante known as The Sentinel. By choosing to tell the story of two characters who aren’t entirely on the side of good or evil, Meyer does a great job of exploring the shades of gray between the two. In addition, the series does a great part of picking apart the flaws of a binary hero/villain system. How do you deal with “superhero” characters that act like power-hungry villains? And how much flexibility should be granted to individuals in enforcing justice, when the main thing that sets them apart is the fact that they happen to have flashy superpowers?
But the Renegades trilogy is far from a weighty discussion of heady concepts. No, this young adult trilogy is action-packed, and swift-moving carried forward by fun dialogue between the characters, a hero/villain romance between Adrian and Nova, and plenty of fight scenes. While I found myself skeptical that Nova would be able to keep her secret identity from so many experienced superheroes for so long, the series is so entertaining that this is worth overlooking.
If you’re looking for an exciting mixture of action, superhero concepts, and romance, then I would highly recommend Marissa Meyer’s Renegades Trilogy, a worthwhile read from first to the last book.