Sovereign (Nemesis #2) – Reflection: Anger

Photo credit: 2 : 😡 | Amy McTigue | CC 2.0

In Dreadnought, Danny had a decent amount of anger and talked about how she enjoyed being a superhero, but it isn’t until Sovereign that we see how much she relishes beating people up. It also becomes clear she has serious anger issues, which are now amplified since she has substantial powers. We gain a lot of insight into Danny in Sovereign and I really struggled with these internal monologues about loving violence. They unsettled me. They still do. Of course I could talk about whether a person with superpowers is a superhero if they love the violence, but that’s not really what unsettled me. What unsettled me was questions about how accurate of a depiction this is of humanity, particularly for people with anger issues.

We all know that there is a certain kind of person that relishes violence; those people are sadists. But Danny is not a sadist or at least I do not get that impression. Instead, Danny is depicted as someone who has trouble reigning in her rage and anger once she unleashes it. She regularly taps into that rage in order to win in battle, but it comes at a cost. It costs Danny her compassion and empathy. She is unable to see situations from the other person’s side and thus misses opportunities to resolve issues without violence. Unfortunately, for most of the book, Danny is okay with this as she fails to see how her anger impacts those around her.

All this left me wondering how accurate a depiction this is. There was a time in my life when I struggled with anger issues. Would I have relished power if I had been given it? Would I have relished violence if I was strong enough to bring it? Was my anger blinding me to compassion and empathy for others? How much did I miss out on when I was a ball of anger?

I do not quite understand why Danny’s discussions of how she deals with her ball of rage bothered me so much. It has greatly delayed the writing of this reflection because I just do not understand why that thread impacted me so much. What is it about Danny’s honesty about her anger that troubles me so? I am pretty sure I am just not ready to explore that yet. If I would relish power, I do not want to know that. If I would enjoy the violence a bit too much, I don’t want to face what that means about who I am.

But I suspect my hesitation to explore what Sovereign raised in me has more to do with where that anger comes from than whether I would follow in Danny’s footsteps. Reading the scene where she uses less force against a villain so she can battle him longer really did not sit well with me and I am confident I would not engage in the same behavior. For me, it is simply unacceptable to beat up someone with less defenses for as long as possible. This is partly why I dislike the whole superhero genre because I abhor violence. I am turned off by it and for that reason, do not enjoy many sports. In the end, I feel comfortable saying that if I became a superhero, I would use violence sparingly. But still, tapping into that rage is dangerous. It does blind one to much of the world around oneself. I am no stranger to tapping into that rage in order to power through; in order to pull myself up the ladder of success. It was not until I read Sovereign that I saw more clearly the cost of tapping into that rage. I do not like what I saw and it means I need to change, but I am not sure I am ready. Though are we ever?

Both Dreadnought and Sovereign have forced me to look at myself in ways I was not ready to. Both books have shown me the folly of my life choices and both have made it hard to continue down my current path. That is an incredible feat for any book, but for it to have come from a YA superhero novel, I am floored. This series has inspired me to continue to read outside my typical genre as it is clear to me that there are many life-changing books out there hiding in genres I tend to avoid. And that’s a lesson from this series I’m ready to embrace right now.


2 thoughts on “Sovereign (Nemesis #2) – Reflection: Anger

  1. I think part of the reason Danny prolongs those fights and seems to enjoy the violence of it all is because for so long she was trapped at her former home and couldn’t do anything. She had to put up with so much from her father and seeing her mother just so accepting of their living situation. So it all just festered inside Danny and now that she has power and can actually do something to channel all of that negativity she bottled up for so long, she is now taking it too far in expressing herself.

    Hopefully this is something that will be worked through and resolved in future, but I think it is an interesting viewpoint to see in a superhero story. So often the protagonists we follow are these beacons, these shining examples of morality and empathy. Having someone who has struggles with anger and violence and other issues to the extent that Danny is in Sovereign is actually sort of rare.

    And the fact that Dreadnought and Sovereign have impacted you so strongly and made you look at yourself and the path you’re on is fantastic. I love when books make people think and process and reevaluate things. That’s when you know that a book is truly meaningful to you. And I’m glad this has made you want to try out other genres as well. I hope you find many more books that you not only enjoy, but that give you a different perspective on yourself and the world.

    Awesome post!

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    • I agree with your assessment. Danny justifiably has a lot to be angry about, her home life being high on that list. Dealing with transphobia is another justifiable area and one which triggers her anger in Sovereign. Anger and rage are things that when pushed down and ignored, and then later tapped into, can explode in ways that are hard to control. Danny is grappling with that.

      I do not know much about the superhero genre, outside a few movies and comic books, so I appreciate you sharing that this is a rare treat. I also find it an interesting viewpoint and I hope in the next book, there is more time spent on flushing out what it means to be a superhero who has anger issues. I suspect it might. I find it refreshing to see such honesty on the internal struggles of a character. While less rare in other genres, I wouldn’t call it common either. There is something very special about this series.

      I love when books cause people to think and reevaluate things as well! I am always on the hunt for my next read which will cause me to think very deeply about life. I am so very glad to have come across this series! I hope so to!

      Thank you! ❤ ❤ ❤

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