Review Detail

Young Adult Fiction 3443
Way Darker and More Awesome Than the Cover Suggests
Overall rating 
 
4.3
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
4.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
I suspect I know what you're thinking. You're looking at that cover and imagining that this will be yet another cheesy romance disguised as dystopia, with a world built solely to keep the hero and heroine from being able to get it on. Well, let me tell you right now, this is not the case here. The cover is beautiful and has a girl in a dress and just doesn't look like the cover for a true, creepy dystopia. You know what, though? This cover fits the book perfectly AND Renegade also happens to be a true dystopia, one that is freaky and creepy as all get out, and, oh my, did I love it.

You're still skeptical, right? I mean, the first sentence is "My life is just about perfect." That's a little barf-inducing. That was my thought too, so I don't begrudge you this suspicion. I worried at first because it did seem like what I expected: a selfish, naive heroine and a cheesy setup for a romance. I mentally prepared myself for the imminent headdesk that didn't come. I promise you that there's a reason that Evelyn acts the way she does in the beginning, and that reason is dark and shiver-inducing.

What's funny is that for the first couple of chapters this book is straight-up The Little Mermaid. I could think of nothing else at first, and it still makes me laugh. Evelyn likes to spend a lot of time in her garden, the privileged favorite of Mother, the leader of the people. Evelyn, though mostly a good daughter, is a little forgetful, a little disobedient. More obviously, Evelyn gets into trouble for collecting a coin from the surface, since, you know, they live in a community under the sea and aren't supposed to be interested in those on the surface. Mother's wrath reminded me heavily of Triton's when Ariel was all obsessed with the Eric statue and saved the real Eric and everything (though his anger pales in comparison to Mother's when the surface dweller Gavin appears, though that's a topic for later). Anyway, this concludes my discussion of The Little Mermaid.

Things quickly take a turn for the much less Disney, however. Enjoy the lava-shiny happy bits while they last, because it's pretty much going to be a mindfuck for the rest of the journey. As I've mentioned Mother is one scary bitch. She reminds me a bit of Eldest from Across the Universe for those of you who are familiar with that: willing to do anything to make sure her utopia remains just that. She has some serious control issues. Perhaps, though, you need a concrete example of just how horrifyingly awful and terrifying she is to believe my assessment. Well, I'll do you one better: I'll give you two examples.

1. Mother has created her idea of the perfect society in her underwater paradise. Elysium is entirely self-sufficient, can produce all of its food, technology and materials right there, with no need to go to the violent, war-torn surface. They are safe and happy. Every single person in Elysium is also blonde-haired and blue-eyed. Yeah, if taking a page out of Hitler's book doesn't have you fetching a straitjacket to stuff Mother into, then I think you probably need to go get some more education.

2. Even more horrific, since Mother could perhaps have just collected good Aryan stock to bring down with her and not created her society of people with what she believes to be perfect genetics through genocide, are the Enforcers. Every society needs police, of course, because accidents happen and people aren't perfect. Mother's Enforcers, though, are all women, taken from their parents at the age of three to be molded into the perfect killing machines.

Yeah, so this one definitely is not in the camp of fluffy books packaged as dystopias as an effort to make more money. It IS a dystopia. Hurrah! I really appreciated Souders' world building and writing, which worked really well with the story she's telling. I also thought the snippets of the society's governing tenants and documents were used to great effect at the beginning of each chapter.

The only weak point for me at all was in the characterization. Of course, this is largely intentional, I think, though I cannot explain precisely why without spoiling something I want to leave completely new to you. I think she gets the narration exactly right for what she's doing, but Evelyn is a little hard to feel with as a result. I will say thought that Evelyn will probably surprise you. She grows and changes constantly as the book progresses; like the ocean, she has hidden depths. Because we get everything through Evelyn's lens, however, the other characters do not coalesce into anything tangible.

More troubling is the instalove. Yes, I know, I hear you crying. While not ideal, I do think the instalove here is less obnoxious than most because of the circumstances they're in and because the society does not exist solely to keep them apart. The romance is there, but it's not the central struggle of the book.

Renegade is jam-packed with action and will totally mess with your head. There are a lot of dissapointing dystopias out there, as happens in any absurdly popular genre, but this one rocks and is definitely worth a read for dystopian fans. I am so excited to find out what will happen in the next book, because the story could go so many places right now and that's just fabulous!
Report this review Was this review helpful to you? 1 0

Comments

Already have an account? or Create an account
Powered by JReviews

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

Wings of Ebony (Wings of Ebony, #1)
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
In this riveting, keenly emotional debut fantasy, a Black teen...
Unchosen
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Katharyn Blair crafts a fiercely feminist fantasy with a horrifying...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Leanne Strong hates June eighth even though it's supposed to...
The Memory Thief  (Thirteen Witches #1)
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Twelve-year-old Rosie Singer’s mom is missing whatever it is that...
Singled Out: The True Story of Glenn Burke
 
4.5
 
0.0 (0)
On October 2nd, 1977, Glenn Burke, outfielder for the Los...
The Elephant in the Room
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
It's been almost a year since Sila's mother traveled halfway...
Alone in the Woods
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Jocelyn and Alex have always been best friends...until they aren't....
Disaster Days
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Hannah Steele loves living on Pelling, a tiny island near...
Wild River
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Daniel Redmayne is fast asleep on the first night of...
In the Penalty Box
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Willow Figure skating was supposed to be my...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
3 nights, 2 days, and 1 massive music fest ....
The Afterlife of the Party (Afterlife, #1)
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
I didn’t even want to go to the party. ...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Tianna Morgan and her friends run Cadie Mae High. Great...
The Alcazar (The Cerulean, #2)
 
3.0
 
0.0 (0)
From New York Times bestselling author Amy Ewing comes the...
Tears of Frost (Heart of Thorns, #2)
 
3.7
 
0.0 (0)
This captivating second book in Bree Barton’s Heart of...
The Broken Raven (Shadow Skye, #2)
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
In the heart-pounding second book in the Shadow Skye...

Latest Member Reviews

Alone in the Woods
 
5.0
"Jocelyn always looks forward to the vacation in a cabin that she and her friend Alex's family take every year...."
Wild River
 
5.0
"Daniel isn't all that sure why he was chosen to go on an outdoor experience trip with four other students..."
 
4.3
"If your expecting the same type of books that you’ve been reading in this series, you’d be wrong. This whole..."
The Goldrush Girl
 
4.0
"Victoria Blaisdell (who likes to be called Tory even though her mother doesn't think it is proper) has a good..."
Soldier Dogs #5: Battle of the Bulge
 
4.5
"Juliette's father is a baker in Belgium in 1944, and has been threatened by the occupying Nazis into giving them..."
In the Red
 
4.0
"Michael Prasad and his family live on a colony on Mars, under a dome that controls the environment. His father,..."
Catherine's War
 
5.0
"Catherine is living at the Sèvres Children's Home since both of her parents were taken. It has a progessive school,..."
Titan and the Wild Boars: The True Cave Rescue of the Thai Soccer Team
 
4.3
"TITAN AND THE WILD BOARS tells the true story of the trapped soccer team and their rescue in the caves..."
Lost in the Pacific, 1942 (Lost #1)
 
4.3
"LOST IN THE PACIFIC, 1942 is a true story of survival. During World War II, a plane is on a..."
Lost in the Amazon (Lost #3): A Battle for Survival in the Heart of the Rainforest
 
5.0
"LOST IN THE AMAZON is the incredible true story of a plane crash survivor who survived in the Amazon rainforest..."
Skyjacked!
 
3.3
"Six students from an elite private school are returning home after a camping trip on the private plane belonging to..."
Shifting Shadows (Bravelands #4)
 
4.0
"Ever since the death of Stinger, things have gotten worse in the Bravelands. Thorn is under constant pressure to become..."
Not if I Save You First
 
4.3
"this book is amazing!!! I am still reading it but I am up to a good part. don't wanna spoil..."
The Light Jar
 
4.0
"Nate and his mother leave their home in the middle of the night to get away from Gary, an emotionally..."
Lost in the Antarctic: The Doomed Voyage of the Endurance
 
5.0
"LOST IN THE ANTARCTIC takes you on the doomed, yet brave journey of the ship called the Endurance and its..."
A Wolf Called Wander
 
4.5
"Roseanne Parry’s book, A Wolf Called Wander is based on a real story about a wolf who became separated from..."
The Seclusion
 
4.7
" The Seclusion is scarily wonderful. I couldn't put this book down and ended up finishing it all in one..."
Dry
Dry
 
5.0
"It is a true testament to the authors’ skill that I was literally parched while reading this book. Readers will..."
Parkland Speaks: Survivors from Marjory Stoneman Douglas Share Their Stories
 
5.0
"The Parkland massacre took the lives of 17 students the day it happened and the very recent passings of two..."
Where She Fell
 
3.3
"Eliza is an aspiring geologist and self-professed 'nerd'. Even though she feels like the odd one out, Eliza tries hard..."