Good guys. Bad Guys. Superheroes. Villains. It's that easy. Isn't it? Actually, no.
In this book, as in the real world, the answer to the Good Guy/ Bad Guy question is not clear-cut. There is a varied spectrum of good and evil - and there are many reasons for the choices people make.
In this dystopian story, Prodigies are people who are either born with or develop abilities that are superhuman. Historically, they were treated inhumanely: Tortured, ostracized, even killed for being "super." After centuries of this oppression, some of the Prodigies rose up and formed a group called The Anarchists. These Anarchists fought for Prodigy freedom by tearing structured society apart. However, without a government and infrastructure, the world became feral, wild, and prey to the evils of organized crime. Villain gangs of criminals reigned fear and violence upon the world. They discredited the cause of the Anarchists and made life a living Hell.
However, not all Prodigies were Anarchists or Villains. There were those who saw a way to protect Prodigies from hatred while maintaining order in society. They called themselves The Renegades and they vowed to right the wrongs and protect all people- prodigy and non-prodigy alike.
They were supposed to stop the villain gangs. They were supposed to protect. However, when 6 year old Nova Artino's home was broken into and when her family was held at gunpoint by a villain gang member- no Renegade came. No Renegade swooped in to stop the horrific violence. And 6 year old Nova, a young prodigy who could make people fall deeply asleep with just her touch, would never forget.
The Renegades soon grew very powerful and formed The Council. They eventually reclaimed order and reestablished law. Prodigies from all over the world would compete to be selected to join them. Those who were chosen would become the world's Superheroes. And all Superheroes are pure of heart, right? All superheroes know what is best for society, right?
Nova Artino doesn't think so.
Nova believes in free will. Nova believes in letting people learn to take care of themselves. Nova thinks it is dangerous to depend on others for protection. A young Anarchist, raised by her Uncle, the leader of all the Anarchists, Nova thinks the Renegades need to be knocked from their high-horses. After all, they never helped her.
However, Nova isn't the only Prodigy to have suffered great loss. Adrian Everhart, a Renegade, and son of Council Members, lost his mother, the Renegade called Lady Indomitable. Adrian believes that the Renegades are the best solution to the world's problems. However, he struggles with all the rules and codes that get in the way of expediently exacting justice. No one really knows how his mother was killed and this frustrates Adrian. How can justice be served with so much red tape in the way?
Can the son of a Renegade and the niece of an Anarchist find a common path? Not if Nova can help it. She plans to hide in plain sight, earn their trust, and then show the Renegades the truth of her power. She plans to be their Nightmare.
Really fun story! There's just the right amount of comic book vibe, action, romance, and mystery. The characters are layered and endearing. Looking forward to the sequel in November.
4 out of 5 stars
Review by Mrs. Sanborn
Jaime Sanborn's Book Reviews by Jaime Ann Sanborn, MLIS, SLMS is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at http://jfsanborn.blogspot.com.