ARC Reviews

ARC REVIEW: Arch Nemesis by Gabriela Martins


aQ04XiXvPublisher: Self-pub
Release Date: May 15. 2018
Received From: Review copy from the author

Rodrigo is not very good at being a hero, but he’s convinced that if he catches the speedster who’s been terrorizing the South Brazilian high society and stealing their goods, it’ll be his heroic breakthrough. On top of that, he’s also worried about his grandma coming to live with him and his sister, when the last time they’d seen each other was before Rodrigo’s transition. But it’s okay. He’s got this. He’s totally got this. (Right?)


GENDER: transgender, cisgender
SEXUALITY: bisexual, presumed heterosexual
ROMANTIC ORIENTATION: biromantic, presumed heteroromantic


TROPES: superpowers, hero x villain, robin hood, class disparity
TAGS: young adult, contemporary, romance, queer romance, queer characters, Brazilian characters, Brazilian author
WARNINGS: binarism, ableism (immediately corrected on page)


All he felt was a little weak in the knees whenever she smiled like that, chin tilted up, looking at him like he was a dare, a challenge, and damn. Maybe he’d like to be.

This novella is so cute and fun, I wish there was more of it!

Rodrigo was a great main character; his narrative voice was funny and engaging, and he’s a character you can empathize with. He’s a teenage boy, trying to do good and be himself in a world that can be harsh and unforgiving, especially to queer people.

And speaking of his being queer, I really loved how his queerness was presented. We know from the blurb that he’s trans, as it mentions his transition, but it’s seamlessly brought into the narration through his thoughts and in situations that fit in with the context of the plot, not as an info dump to establish his gender identity. There are several casual mentions to his transness, without ever misgendering or deadnaming him. I really liked the way Martins dropped them into the story as facts that exist as part of his world, leaving no room for anything other than fact. He’s allowed to just be. Martins also introduces Rodrigo’s bisexuality in a similar fashion–he mentions that his best friend is his ex-boyfriend and then pursues a girl throughout the novel. Again, it’s not a big thing and is just presented as a factual piece of his life, not to be questioned or doubted.

I also liked that the romance had the hero and villain dynamic. (Though Bibiana isn’t really a villain–more like Robin Hood.) And the dog sidekick was a lovely touch, which I very much enjoyed. Everything came together in this story to make a wonderful novella, and as I mentioned, I only wish there was more of it for me to love!



Gabriela Martins is a Brazilian author with a terrifying obsession with witches, fictional wars, and superheroes. Her main hobbies include plotting murders to happen within made-up worlds, long walks to the couch to binge-watch TV shows on Netflix, and, surprisingly, Yoga.

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