Marissa Meyer’s popular Renegades trilogy wraps up with Supernova, an action-packed, emotionally satisfying finale to Nova and Adrian’s complicated story.
Marissa Meyer’s ambitious Renegades trilogy comes to an end with Supernova, an action-packed, positively massive (the novel clocks in at over 500 pages) sequel that gives fans pretty much everything they could possibly want in a series conclusion. And, spoiler alert: It’s a great ride at the same time.
Supernova’s length means that the story has plenty of time to dig into some of the messier issues of the Renegades universe, and give us closure for most of the series’ main cast of characters at the same time. Nothing about this conclusion feels rushed, and everything that happens – even the stuff that will likely upset you – feels like an earned and considered decision.
The series takes place in the fictional Gatlon City, which is governed by a council of superpowered “prodigies” known as the Renegades. They’re in a constant struggle with the “Anarchists”, the series’ designated villains who want those with powers to be able to live with few restrictions. (The unspoken problem here is those prodigies would…probably take over the city.)
Picking up pretty much right where Archenemies leaves off, Supernova finds undercover villain Nova struggling to keep her secret Anarchist identity secret from the Renegades she’s been working with for months. She’s also trying her best to keep Adrian – a Renegade team leader known as Sketch, and also the boy she’s fallen for – from discovering who she really is, and that she’s been lying to him since they met. As the story continues, Nova must balance more competing loyalties and complicated secrets than ever before – as well as deal with her own heart, which is questioning which side she really belongs to.
And the thing is – that answer isn’t entirely obvious. Much like the other two books in this trilogy, Supernova makes sure to color in each character in appealing shades of gray. No villain – well, save maybe Ace Anarchy – feels completely irredeemable. No hero – not even the Steve Rogers-esque Captain Chromium – is entirely pure. Everyone contains multitudes and it’s easier than you might think to find yourself on both sides of this hero/villain divide at once.
Which, basically, is where Nova finds herself in this novel. She loves her Anarchist family, and the supervillain uncle who raised her. But she’s also come to care about the very people she was sent to betray, and has learned that the Renegades can do a lot of good in the world, even if she’s naturally concerned about whether or not they can be trusted to wield power responsibly. Part of the fun of this novel is watching the walls between Nova’s various worlds grow thinner and thinner as she struggles to keep her double life intact – it’s as tidy a metaphor for growing up as you can imagine.
Nothing, after all, is ever black and white in real life.
The primary plot of Supernova revolves around a mysterious substance called Agent N, a compound developed by the Renegades that can permanently strip a prodigy of their superhero powers. As a punishment, it’s terrifying and absolute. As a weapon, it’s beyond dangerous and a threat to the very foundation of the world the Renegades have built, should it wind up in the wrong hands. But who decides who should control it? Who it should be used on? Whether it should be used at all?
These are just a few of the complicated ideas, this story grapples with. But its most affecting is probably best evidenced the up and down relationship between Nova and Adrian. These two crazy kids are obviously sweet together, but they’re keeping so many secrets from one another – Nova’s really an Anarchist! Adrian’s secretly a vigilante! Ace is Nova’s uncle! – that it’s hard to know how their relationship will possibly be able to survive them. And as some of them begin to come out, it doesn’t entirely look like they will.
Supernova is full of tense moments, as well as a number of epic battle sequences which display the full range of imaginative abilities that Meyer has created in this world. There’s also a tremendous amount of world building going on, as we learn more about Ace Anarchy’s past, what really happened to Adrian’s mother, Lady Indomitable, and how prodigy powers developed in this world in the first place.
It’s all incredibly in-depth and wildly satisfying. (Though there is one twist in the middle that feels almost like a pointless reset button? Just push through it and things pick up again almost immediately.)
The series’ epilogue drops one more bombshell on readers and seems tailor made to set up some sort of spin-off or sequel series at some point in the future, should Meyer ever want to come back to this universe. (This is pretty much what Sarah J. Mass is doing with her Court of Thorns and Roses series now that the main story is done, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see the same thing happen here.) I’m not entirely sure the reveal in this segment works, but it’s gutsy and interesting enough that I wouldn’t mind reading, say, a novella about the fallout from it.
But if this is the last we see Gatlon City and the heroes who inhabit it, it’s still a heck of a way to go out.
Supernova is available now.