It is hard to review this book, the final in Marissa Meyer’s Renegades trilogy, without getting into spoilers, but I’m going to try. There will be spoilers referenced for the first two books, Renegades & Archenemies, however, so consider yourself warned.
Supernova picks up where Archenemies left off, amidst the clean-up from Nightmare’s attack on Renegade headquarters. The exposure of her identity is only a matter of time, but Nova’s mission is far from over with Ace Anarchy back in Renegade custody.
Thanks to this high-stakes aftermath from the second book, Supernova moves at a steady clip right out of the gate, and the story remains well-paced throughout. Much like the second book, this story pumps the adrenaline in the third act and doesn’t let up, making it feel pretty epic by the end, and I was ready to call it the best in the series, hands down. After a little reflection, however, I’m not sure I’d go that far. Each of the books in this series has its strengths and weaknesses, and I think honestly it’s a pretty tight race.
In my review for Archenemies, the 2nd book in the series, I was a little disappointed because Nova’s commitment to her cause seemed to derive its strength from plot necessity more than her actual feelings, but Supernova didn’t suffer from that issue. Nova is actually able to admit to being torn in book three, which allows her to explore the merits of both sides and more earnestly pursue her own ideas, making it more satisfying to root for her, and more importantly, making her more actions more believable (not necessarily likable or even agreeable all the time, but believable).
What was a little puzzling this time was how the book lost some of the thematic punch of the first two. This series has been all about the gray area between heroes and villains, and while there were points in the middle where Meyer did have me questioning the goodness of the Captain Chromium and the evil of Ace Anarchy, by the end of Supernova, that gray area had kind of been erased. Sure, there were still some “villains” who just wanted normal lives, at least, but what happened to the subplot concerning Frostbite and her corrupt team of Renegades? What about exploring more of the fallout as more people learned of Adrian’s secret identity as the vigilante Sentinel? And while we did get answers about Lady Indomitable’s death (my hunch was 100% right), it didn’t affect the dynamic among the Anarchists the way I hoped it might, allowing for a certain someone else to take on the role of true “villain” and thereby preserving more of that gray area.
Maybe one more chapter before the epilogue would have provided some resolution to a few of these issues?
Going back to my hunch about Lady Indomitable’s death, it weirdly didn’t feel like the gut-punch I expected it to be when revealed, considering it was Adrian’s world who was turned upside-down by it. It almost seemed to effect Nova more than Adrian, but maybe that was because Adrian had less time to process it, so most of what we got to observe him experiencing was denial. Given what else was happening in the book at the time, I can let it slide, but it still struck me as a little odd.
I was also right about who was ultimately responsible for killing Nova’s family but was kind of disappointed about how the information was revealed. It played out pretty much as I predicted in the early pages of book one, and it would have been nice if, after nearly three full books, there had been a little more of an unexpected spin on the reveal at least, if not the information itself. I will say, the related information hinted at in the epilogue was a pretty good surprise.
All in all, I liked Supernova, and I’d it about 3.75 stars out of 5. It was an exciting, satisfying conclusion to the series, if not the most unexpected.