Title: Not Your Villain
Author: C.B. Lee
Series or Standalone?: Sidekick Squad #2
Publishing Date: 5 October 2017
“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.”
- mild violence
- biracial bisexual character
- Latinx aroace character
- sapphic character
- f/f relationship
- Black trans man main character
Can I just say that I think this series is probably the most fun compared to other superhero books I’ve read? It has everything you’d ever want in a superhero series: superpowers, diversity, and teens sticking it to The Man.
Not Your Villain by C.B. Lee picks up before the start of Not Your Sidekick, but it quickly catches up to where it left off at the end. Instead of following Jess, it follows Bells, Emma and Jess’ lovely, hair color changing friend who just so happens to be a superhero turned supervillain. Or at least, that’s what the Heroes’ League of Heroes wants everyone to think. Bells, Emma, Jess, Emma, and Jess’ brother Brendan work together to try and find the Resistance and take down their tyrannical government.
If it were completely up to me, this whole review would be me gushing about Bells. But, since y’all probably want more than that, here we are. Seriously, though, I love Bells’ character, and I’m glad we have an entire book from his perspective. But my goodness, he pines so much. Seriously, Bells, just…tell her how you feel, my dude.
Oh, and Emma?? Our aroace/questioning queen. Seriously, though, I have read only a small number of books that have aro and/or ace characters, and I’m glad that the Sidekick Squad series is part of that list!
I love how Abby’s struggles aren’t shoved under the rug, too. She lost her powers — things that she’s had for years — and she is basically grieving throughout the book, even if it may not be permanent. She is frustrated and angry because she feels useless to her friends, but Jess and the others try their best to make her feel included and not inferior to them. I hope that it’s expanded upon in the next book in the series.
When it comes to the writing, I have similar thoughts when compared to Not Your Sidekick. It’s pretty fast-paced while also spending time on the characters. In general, it’s a wonderful superhero story where teens are trying to take over their corrupt government. Ya know, like ya do on a Saturday night. It can be a bit cliche, but in my opinion, that adds to its charm. Why can’t we have a diverse cast of characters in fun, cliche/trope-y stories? (Answer: no reason, we’re totally getting them, and I love it.)
Overall, I thought Not Your Villain to be a fun read with amazing characters and a quick plot. Can’t wait to get my hands on Not Your Backup!
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