I loved Not Your Sidekick so I couldn’t wait to pick up the next book in the series. Unfortunately I was a bit disappointed about this one.
Note: There are NO spoilers for Not Your Villain in this review, however spoilers for Not Your Sidekick (Sidekick Squad #1) were hard to avoid. Please check out my review for Not Your Sidekick if you haven’t read it yet!
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.
Bells was a trans teenage boy trying to navigate the world as a meta-human and a superhero. He was well-liked by his classmates and he had a tight circle of friends- Jess, Emma, and now Abby…….. although he had been crushing on Emma ever since they were little. Bells was a fun character to read about. Although he was popular and happy on the outside, he struggled with lots of emotions on the inside. Bells was one of my favourite characters in Sidekick, which was the reason why I snatched up the sequel to this series so quickly. In this book I was also happy to see other characters from the first book, such as Jess, Abby and Emma.
I loved the diverse representation, especially from LGBT+. Related to this, I loved that there were so many non-nuclear families in this book. I enjoyed that this depicted a future world which embraced different people and their identities without discrimination.
I also liked how parents were portrayed in this book. I find that in many young adult books, parents were often……. not good parents, whether they were overbearing, negligent in their parenting abilities, or simply non-existent. It was refreshing that in this book, the parents were caring, responsible and understanding. In fact, they actually helped out in the effort against the League. I was refreshing to see that teens were working together with their parents in this novel, rather than rebelling against their parents or going behind their backs.
In this sequel, Bells was officially declared a dangerous villain at large by the League of Heroes. He and his group of friends learned about the conspiracy behind the League, and worked together to find and join forces with the resistance.
However much I enjoyed the characters in this book, the pacing was dreadfully slow. The first quarter of the book recapped the ending of the first book in Bells’s point of view, which I felt was unexciting and unnecessary. The remainder of the plot was…….. kind of non-existent. Although the protagonists busied themselves with leads and missions, I felt that nothing substantial was achieved in this book. It felt like a set-up for book 3.
For the most part, the writing was okay. My only complaint was that certain unimportant scenes felt long and drawn out when they could be summarized in a sentence or a paragraph.
For example, there was a scene when the sidekick squad met to work out, and every aspect of their routine was described (squats, pull-ups and sit-ups, etc.) What could be more boring than doing squats? Reading about doing squats. (Sorry I couldn’t resist that there.)
Not Your Villain is full of diverse representation and good parenting which is awesome, but without much of a plot, it felt like an elaborate set-up for book 3.