Book: Not Your Villain (Sidekick Squad 2) by C.B. Lee
Release Date: October 5th 2017
Tags: Dystopia / Superheroes / Supernatural / Diversity / Transexual / POC / First Tense
Rating: 3,5 out of 5 stars
Other books in this series I reviewed
Not Your Sidekick
Possible spoilers for the previous books in the series
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for this review copy in exchange for an honest review.
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.
Not Your Villain is the sequel to Not Your Sidekick. Instead of Jess, this book focuses on Bells as the main character and as such the start of the book is somewhat different. It starts before the start of Not Your Sidekick, to show the start of Bells life in training for his super powers. The events from the first book are summarized and after that the story is continued on from the first book left off.
This creates a rather slow start. I was just waiting for the continuation to start. I think there could have been a more vibrant way to look back at this time for Bells as the story continued to move forward. Even so, some of his moments before the start of the first book were really interesting to see. Like how he met Emma.
The book is again written in third person point of view present tense. As I read this book right after Not Your Sidekick this time the writing style didn’t jar me as much as it did the first time around. I suppose I was used to it now. Plot wise I felt that this was more an in between book. There were no huge things that truly happened here that worked towards resolving the main plot. Just a bit more of world building in places and setting up for the next book I felt like.
I loved how we got Bells as the main character. I love his personality, his super powers. But through him we also get the normalization of being trans. There is talk of binders and injections and a brief look at a very young Bells and what it was like for him. But also through Bells we get a slightly different look on Emma. While she certainly is not my favorite character of the bunch, through him she is quite a bit more likeable. For me the romance between them wasn’t entirely necessary but Bells is happy so I guess that is enough for me then.
Jess and Abby are a bit more in the background this book but you can still see their relationship evolving. I liked how an argument didn’t necessarily turn into any huge dramas for days. Things got resolved which is what a relationship is.
Honestly, reading this book is worth it just for Bells. Trust me! And especially for teens I think this book is important when it comes to the sexuality and being on the spectrum themes.