If only the characters were more likeable.  SPOILERS.

The second book of the Marissa Meyer’s Renegades series was much like the first.  It’s a fun story, perhaps a bit slower paced than you might expect from a superhero book, with one major flaw.  I haven’t seen any other reviewers mention this, but I find the two main characters rather self-absorbed and hypocritical.

First, we have Adrian, one of the superhero renegades, with the codename Sketch.  He has found a way to give himself extra powers and starts showing up in disguise as The Sentinel, telling absolutely no one that it’s him under the mask.  Rather predictably, the sudden appearance of this mysterious figure in the heat of battle causes his own allies to become distracted, and one of his close friends is seriously injured right at the start of the series because of this.  You’d think Adrian would stop being The Sentinel after that, or at least tell people it’s him, but instead he keeps showing up even though he is potentially putting his own friends at risk!  To be fair, he is doing so in order to conduct an investigation to see if he can find out who killed his mother, but his reasons why he thinks he might be able to find some new information feels a bit flimsy too me.  And even if I thought he had a good reason to think he was on the right track with that investigation, it’s still selfish to keep doing something that is clearly putting your friends in danger!

Then, we have Nova, who was raised by her supervillain uncle after her family was murdered.  It seemed really clear to me that her uncle was a very strong suspect in the murders of her family, but somehow she never considered this and became fanatically loyal to him.  And even if her uncle didn’t kill her family, Nova still seems a bit hypocritical in her hatred of the Renegades.

First, Nova decides that the Renegades need to be overthrown because of their failure to save her family.  Since if you can’t protect absolutely everyone from anything bad ever happening to them, you shouldn’t try to protect anyone?  And when she learns that the Renegades have developed a drug that can steal powers from villains, she is incensed.  Now, I’m not saying there is no reason to be concerned about such a thing, but that drug would help eliminate threats to innocent, and put the Renegades in a position where they could be far more effective at protecting the people, which seems to be exactly what Nova thinks they should be doing.   One moment she’s furious that the Renegades aren’t all powerful and able to control absolutely everything, and the next she’s outraged that they could become all powerful and able to control everything.

There is actually a second way that Nova is rather hypocritical.  She works with her uncle and their cronies to overthrow the Renegades, dismissively thinking that the society who loves the heroes is just stupid, and doesn’t know what’s best for them.  Then when the Renegades make plans to try to make positive changes to the society, she angrily wonder to herself who the hell elected them to be in charge.  Funny that she never stops to ask that when it’s her and her uncle’s plans that could dramatically reshape the society.  Then it’s all good because people are stupid and can’t be trusted to control their own lives, but how dare the Renegades try to use their power to change the world? 

To be clear, I’m not saying this is a bad series.  My frustration with the characters does stop me from putting this series on my top tier of favorite books ever, but I’m still enjoying the series and looking forward to the conclusion.

Published by Andrew Clendening