Check out our episode here! Renegades by Marissa Meyer
Prodigies with amazing powers have always been around. They've been burned at the stake, accused of witchcraft, stoned and hanged. That is, until Ace Anarchy changed the world. He gathered a group of the most powerful prodigies and rebelled. The world as we know it was destroyed. Governments disbanded, cities toppled. And from the rubble rose the Age of Anarchy. It was a time of complete chaos. Neighbors stealing from neighbors, the strong against the weak, violence and mayhem all around. Then came hope in masks and capes. The Renegades. Superheroes to solve all the world's problems.
Well, not everyone's problems. When Nova was almost seven, she and her family were struggling to live in the Age of Anarchy. Her baby sister was sick and there wasn't really any way of getting medicine for her, unless your uncle happened to be Ace Anarchy himself. None of the gangs were supposed to bother you when you had Ace on your side. But this time, they did. Nova's dad was supposed to use his powers to create weapons for a gang. But he stopped doing it because his brother, Alec, or Ace Anarchy, told him not to. The gang did not get the memo, came into their house and killed Nova's mother, father and baby sister. She was only able to escape by using her powers to put the gang leader to sleep with her touch. The entire time her family was being murdered, she kept thinking that The Renegades would come. Surely The Renegades will come. They're the heroes! They're not supposed to let this kind of thing happen. But it did.
Ten years later, Nova, now called Nightmare, is at a parade celebrating The Renegades and mocking The Anarchists. Those stupid Renegades, what are they even good for? Nothing. She and her fellow Anarchists, The Detonator (who creates energy bombs) and Phobia (who uses people's own fears against them), have plans to kill Captain Chromium right in front of everyone. On her way through the crowd, only stopping to fake gag at the Renegade trials float, she's pickpocketed by a scroungy little girl! Luckily a handsome guy grabs and scolds the thief and gives Nova her bracelet back. This is the last thing she had of her father's, so it's very important to her. Ahh... But the little thief broke the clasp! Again, it's lucky that the handsome stranger is around because he is able to fix the clasp by drawing a new one. Pssh. Renegade. Ugh. Now Nova only has a couple of minutes to get into position to kill a superhero.
Well… she gets into position, puts on her costume and prepares to kill Captain Chromium. But she's on the wrong rooftop. Their whole plan of getting rid of the five original Renegades is ruined because of her. But wait, she can get into the correct position in time, using all the cool gadgets she has been making over the years. She leaps across to the correct rooftop and watches the superheroes ride by on their floats, waiting to get Captain Chromium in her sights. First there's Thunderbird controlling her lightning, then Blacklight manipulating light, then Tsunami with her water. Then Dread Warden making a show with his invisibility, goofing off with his lover, Captain Chromium. Just as she's about to shoot the Captain, he raises Ace Anarchy's helmet on a pike and she gets distracted. She comes to herself and fires, but with his invincibility, Captain Chromium is just fine. That's when the butterflies descend.
Oh great. Monarch is here. A young Renegade. And next appears Red Assassin. And Smokescreen. Ugh! Foiled! She begins to fight all three at once until a new hero shows up in head to toe armor. And now, to make matters worse, another Anarchist shows up. The Puppeteer. In a hot air balloon. And he's an idiot. Everything is chaos, the new hero accidentally hurts the Monarch, Nightmare escapes the grasp of this new hero, The Sentinel, and tells him "one cannot be brave who has no fear," she tosses the puppeteer over the side of his own balloon into the arms of the Renegades and floats away.
It turns out that the hunky stud with the neat drawing powers is also The Sentinel. What Nightmare said to him, one cannot be brave who has no fear, was written on a card tucked into his mother's costume when she was found dead from a fall. But she had the power of flight... So Nightmare must have been involved with her death. He's got to find her. But he's also got to continue being Sketch, the adopted son of Captain Chromium and Dread Warden, and leader of a group of young Renegades, and he's got to continue hiding the fact that he's The Sentinel. In the fight with Nightmare, he ended up hurting his friend, the Monarch, when using a new fire power he drew into his skin. Back at the Renegade headquarters, he checks on Max, a ten year old "Renegade" who's kept in quarantine. They talk about The Sentinel. Is he a good guy or a bad guy? Hmm! Then he talks to his dads about Nightmare and finding out more about her and the Anarchists. They decide to send a team to talk to them.
Yeah, talk. When she gets back to the Anarchists hideout, Nova talks to her friend/father figure Cyanide, a poison expert, who convinces her to try out for The Renegades. No one knows who she is, she's young enough to join and he can help her create a fake identity. Maybe she could learn some things to help them out... A little bit later, The Renegades come. To talk, remember? Frostbite, Stingray, Aftershock and Gargoyle. And they're not nice. They destroy a bunch of the Anarchists' stuff and are just awful. Cyanide talks back about how the Council is terrible and the Renegades are not doing anyone any favors and they fight back and forth, then they beat up the Anarchists even though they were unprovoked. See? Awful. Then the Sentinel shows up… and helps the Anarchists? Who is this guy? He's looking for Nightmare but everyone denies knowing her. Phobia and Nova stay hidden during this confrontation and then Nova decides that yeah, she is going to join the Renegades so she can take them down.
Now known as Insomnia, with the power of never needing to sleep (which yeah, is half of what she does, the other half is putting people to sleep with her touch), Nova goes to the Renegade trials, beats Gargoyle, and joins Sketch's team. How convenient! She gets settled in and set up in a fake house and goes to the Renegade headquarters where they learn that she's super observant and smart and all sorts of other great things. With Sketch, Smokescreen and Red Assassin, they go on a stake-out. At the library. Because the Librarian is a librarian, but also an Anarchist arms dealer who has knowledge retention. (Heck yes!) While watching the library, they all talk about their pasts and how they got their names and powers. Sketch brought his childhood drawings to life, Smokescreen died in a house fire then woke up and spewed out smoke, Red Assassin bleeds rubies that she can use as weapons because she swallowed some to protect them from thieves, then was stabbed by a thief and instead of blood coming out, rubies did. Nova only kind of tells her story, definitely doesn't mention that she can put people to sleep, only mentions that she stopped sleeping after she was six, conveniently around the same time her parents and baby sister were murdered.
During the stake-out, they see The Detonator go into the library. Uh, what? She was supposed to tell the librarian what was going on and to hide all his stuff, but apparently she didn't. The Renegade team goes in and things go terribly wrong, like, the Librarian dies and the library gets exploded thanks to The Detonator. The team gets separated and guess who shows up? The Sentinel. Ingrid laid a trap for The Renegades expecting Nova to jump on board and kill them right along with her, but she's in it for the long haul. She wants to take down ALL the Renegades, not just this one small group. And, we all know, not Adrian.
The library begins collapsing and Nova is rescued by The Sentinel, who she then shoots multiple times. He's fine though. Ingrid gets away when the older Renegades show up and then they realize that Adrian is missing. The library is on fire and, you know, exploded, but when his dads go in, they find Adrian inside an igloo that he drew to keep himself safe. Pretty clever. He and his team are still in trouble though. And still no one knows he's The Sentinel. And nobody knows that Nova is Nightmare.
She goes back to the Anarchists' hideout to find that they are leaving because of course the Renegades are going to come investigate again. And they decide to move into the house they set up for Nova while she's pretending to be a Renegade, but tell Ingrid that she can't come. Phobia decided on his own that he's not going, but he's kind of never around anyway. They explode their hideout and head for Nova's place. Back at Renegade headquarters, Nova and the rest of her team are put on probation, but Adrian asks if they can interview The Puppeteer. His request is granted, which means trouble for Nova. Will he blow her cover? I guess we'll have to wait and see. Since many weapons were recovered from the library explosion, the council asks Nova to help them catalog things and she jumps at the opportunity, excited to do some investigation while everyone is asleep. They visit Max "The Bandit" in quarantine again, and Nova really wants to know why he's in there, but the rest of the team gives vague answers. He's dangerous, he's too powerful, it's classified, they're running tests. But he's just a kid! Oh well, maybe she'll find out when she's snooping on the computer as she's doing her overnight cataloging work.
The team is granted permission to talk to The Puppeteer and Nova can't get out of it. She's just going to have to hope that he doesn't give her away. And he doesn't! Adrian asks for info about Nightmare and The Puppeteer tells half truths and gives false leads. Thank goodness. Adrian and the rest of the team are going to check them out and definitely not get anywhere. Nova goes back to her cataloging work and finds a file about her family's murder, but it's password protected. Huh. That's odd. And it's also odd that she looks out across the building and sees Max in his quarantine, hovering several feet above the ground, levitating his cityscape, too. Oh man. Only one other prodigy had that much telekinetic power. Ace Anarchy...
Max realizes Nova is looking at him, gets startled and falls, collapsing into his glass city and getting badly injured. She runs to help, goes inside the quarantine and passes out before she can really help him. Adrian shows up then, he had just bought Nova a romantic midnight snack of sandwiches and was going to visit her while she was working, and sees all the chaos happening in Max's room. He goes into the quarantine to get Nova out. Oh hey, guess what happens when you go around Max, The Bandit? He absorbs your powers. That's why Nova passed out. He took her powers and she fell asleep. He got a little bit of Adrian's drawing ability, too. We don't know how much of Nova's power he took, mostly because he's not able to go to sleep after the accident because of the adrenaline and also because, well, no one knows about all her powers to check for them.
Nova wakes up, freaked out because, hey, she was asleep. She doesn't know if Max took all her powers and can't really test to see since she'd have to put someone to sleep and you can't really do that nonchalantly. Monarch comes by the infirmary to see her and bring her some snacks because who likes to eat hospital food? She brings some other things to keep her entertained too since they'll be keeping her for up to 72 hours for observation. Uh, yeah right, she's not going to stick around for that long. She manages to put Monarch to sleep and plays it off like she passed out because of her injuries she's still recovering from from the very beginning. Well, at least her powers still work. She gets out of there while she can. Adrian meanwhile goes to check on Max. Max talks to him about his power absorption and how he's worried that he's going to end up being bad because Ace Anarchy was bad and he has his powers. Adrian assures him that it's your choices that define you and that Max will definitely choose to be good.
Nova doesn't escape too far from the infirmary. She goes to check out some of the weapons and other things the Renegades have on display. One thing in particular catches her eye. Ace Anarchy's helmet. She examines it, expecting alarms to go off but they don't. She picks up the helmet and sees that it's only a replica. The Dread Warden shows up, so maybe she triggered an alarm after all… She expects to be in trouble because she's laughing so much at this stupid fake helmet. Dread Warden explains to her that yes, that's a fake, but they do have the real one, undestroyed, in the warehouse. He tells Nova what happened on the Day of Triumph, the day when Ace was finally defeated. No one would dare get close to him because his telekinesis was so strong. But Captain Chromium had a plan. He carried baby-toddler Max on his back into the battle. Max drained Ace's power so much that Captain Chromium was able to remove his helmet, thus weakening his power even more. Ace then leapt off a three story building and into a fiery inferno below. She heads back home after finding out this very important bit of information.
When she gets home, Honey (Queen Bee, with the power to control bees and wasps) is there and so is Leroy aka Cyanide. She goes for a walk and is followed by Ingrid, The Detonator, who no one has seen since she exploded the library and they kicked her out of the group. Ingrid proposes that she and Nova stage a standoff in plain sight and fake both their deaths. Sounds like a pretty good plan. Then they can go on about their lives, The Detonator disappearing and Nightmare becoming Insomnia. Adrian comes by to check on her and asks her to investigate one of The Puppeteer's Nightmare leads with him the next day. At an amusement park. Together. Just the two of them. Aww! That night, she and The Detonator make their plans. At the amusement park. Together. Just the two of them.
Nova and Adrian end up playing and flirting a lot at the park, but they do have an important discussion of whether or not the world would be better off without superheroes. Nova thinks regular people can be just as heroic if only they had the chance. Adrian sees her point, but, I mean, he's a superhero and so is his whole entire family. She finally directs him to her carefully laid plans in the old derelict fun house. She claims to have seen Nightmare and then falls down a chute and conveniently disappears. Adrian continues to look for her and for Nightmare and comes upon The Detonator and Nightmare having an argument that leads to a fight to the "death." The plan was that The Detonator and Nightmare would battle it out where Adrian could see. He'll call for backup. Everyone will see them fighting and then they'll see Nightmare shoot The Detonator just as The Detonator explodes Nightmare. Perfect okay. Except it seems like she really did kill Nightmare...
The Detonator stands up, says how gullible Nightmare is and that she took care of Nova, too. Adrian calls her out for her villain speech and handcuffs her as he waits for backup, but oh it's too late and such a good thing that all of The Renegades will be there because she's hidden bombs all over the park and they'll all start going off soon. All the deaths will be her fault, but The Renegades will be blamed, too. One of the Renegades says not to kill The Detonator because the new treatment will be ready soon. The one that takes away powers. Then Nova comes out of the rubble and shoots The Detonator in the head. Too late though, because the bombs start going off. The Renegades save everyone, though a few are injured. Nova is not pleased to hear about the treatment that they've obviously been using Max to create, so instead of hanging around and maybe kissing Adrian after the battle is over, she says she's going home.
But instead, she goes down into the tunnels. She encounters Phobia who I guess has been hanging out down there this whole time. He tells Nova that she's afraid of failure, she's afraid that everything she's done will be for nothing and she's afraid that she'll come to regret killing The Detonator, but all these fears will serve her well, because, after all, one cannot be brave who has no fear. (Oh snap!) She rolls her eyes and heads down the tunnels. Where Ace Anarchy has been hiding all this time. And she tells him that The Renegades still have his helmet. (OH SNAP!)