Book Reviews

Review: Not Your Villain by C.B. Lee

If I thought I loved the first one, this sequel blew me out of the water. There was more diversity, more nuance, more intrigue and everything combines to just make this hurricane of awesomeness.

Summary

Straight from Goodreads: Bells Broussard thought he had it made when his superpowers manifested early. Being a shapeshifter is awesome. He can change his hair whenever he wants, and if putting on a binder for the day is too much, he’s got it covered. But that was before he became the country’s most-wanted villain.

After discovering a massive cover-up by the Heroes’ League of Heroes, Bells and his friends Jess, Emma, and Abby set off on a secret mission to find the Resistance. Meanwhile, power-hungry former hero Captain Orion is on the loose with a dangerous serum that renders meta-humans powerless, and a new militarized robotic threat emerges. Everyone is in danger. Between college applications and crushing on his best friend, will Bells have time to take down a corrupt government?

Sometimes, to do a hero’s job, you need to be a villain.

book review not your villain by cb leeReview

I loved the references, the geekdom, and especially the way Lee has our characters discover the technology of our time. That process just entrances me on this meta level that I adore. On this level of world building, Lee excels by not only thrilling us, but also enfolding us in a detailed world of the future. This book we get to travel even further and see parts of this world previously unknown to us.

But above all, the characters consistently impress me. The struggles of the ‘ordinary’ versus the ‘superhero’ are balanced so well. (I loved the way Lee incorporates texting into the book!) Lee also incorporates the older events, from Bells perspective, and the newer ones in a way that doesn’t feel like a ‘previously seen’ message. We have the same tried and true characters, Emma, Jess, Bells, and Abby. Plus we even meet some more which consistently surprise our concepts of superheros. I will be in love with this squad forever – and I think they’ve surpassed my favorite one from Six of crows *gasp*.

(I liked the discussions about asexuality in the book too! And I want to say that I love reading a book where the parents aren’t dead or downright awful).

Overall,

I could repeat much of what I’ve said in my last review, yesterday!, about the intrigue of the plot, the diversity in the characters, and, believe me, this book delivers on all of that and more! But that’d be kind of boring. Suffice it to say, this book is incredibly diverse, and conscious of that, and the plot is always twisting. Lee actively works against the sidekick idea and trope in a way that is refreshing and just plain entertaining.

What’s more, this is a book that is pure fun and it leaves you with such a good feeling afterwards. Yes there are things going wrong, danger and risks, but this is joyful, has a spirit of celebrating differences, and is entertainment. What is there more to say or want? I am even more excited for the sequel, knowing I’ll have to wait so long since I read an advance read copy of this. Basically, my fandom for this series is so extreme that this review just feels like one big OMG moment. Super professional, I know.

You need to pick up Not Your Villain if superheros or diverse YA fiction is your thing. You can get it at Amazon(US), your local indie, and add it to Goodreads.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review from Netgalley.

Discussion

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