ARC received from Tor/Forge
Release Date: 11-13-2012
Reviewed by: Middle Sis Jenn
The Sisters Say: Hypnotizing., Harrowing and Hot.
“My life is just about perfect.” ARC, pg. 11
Tantalizingly creepy and lusciously seductive, J.A. Souder’s Renegade pulls back the veil to reveal how desperation, violence, and insanity can alter the fabric of society. J.A. creates a world rife with delusion, where truth has been obliterated, love has been tainted, and justice has been eradicated. Dive into the trenches of Elysium, but be careful, for there are more dangerous creatures than sharks in these treacherous waters.
I Loved Renegade!
From Chapter 1, I was hooked! This book wastes no time getting straight into the action, which is great because I get annoyed when there is too much backstory at the beginning. Right away, we see evidence of Evelyn’s mind control. She is constantly repeating phrases and the things she says sounds very preachy and awkward. I found it so intriguing to read about how this mind control worked, and I really enjoyed how this book jumped straight into the psychological thriller territory! It was unique and not something you see in YA.
I found the similarities between Elysium and Nazi Germany captivating. When I taught 8th grade Literature, I always did an entire until on the Nazi’s, and I would have loved for my students to be able to read this and draw parallels between the two societies. Both have a leader obsessed with the purity of race who will stop at nothing to achieve perfection. Mother was eerie and dark and maniacal, and J.A. Souder’s wrote her madness amazingly well.
What about the characters?
Evie was a testament in contradictions---strong yet weak, loving yet hateful, and submissive yet revolutionary. What’s interesting is that she is a somewhat unreliable narrator because her mind has been manipulated, so I was kept on the edge of my seat wondering when and if she was going to snap. She has flashes of memories throughout the novel, but who’s to say these memories weren’t altered or created to fit Mother’s needs? She was unpredictable and flighty, and I really enjoyed not knowing where she was going to end up—or with who. She was just as likely to become the villain as she was to become the hero---and I LOVED that she walked this line.
Oh, Mr. Surface Dweller, you can couple with me any time you want! (insert giggle) J.A. described him perfectly—so chiseled that you could see the lines of his muscles when he moved. Plus the tan and the golden hair and the gray eyes. Yummy yum yum! Plus, he’s smart, and he is able to figure out what is going on with Evie quickly, which makes him even more hot! I’ll tell you, if I were ever to be under mind control, I would definitely want Gavin to come to my rescue! Add to all that his protectiveness and willingness to die for Evie and you get the perfect hero! (Plus, I imagine his as Chris Hemsworth….drool).
J.A. knows how to write a villain. Mother was a monster. Her words were dripping with venom, her actions riddled with madness, and her smile was laced with seduction. She was manipulative and intelligent---a puppet master to an entire society. And oh did she pull their strings. The world Mother created was terrifying. Perfect and peaceful from the inside, but when you take a step out of her control and look back, you see it for what it truly is—macabre and sinister. I liked that J.A. didn’t hold back with the gruesomeness of the world; it was creepy, but in a great way.
Renegade was one of my favorites of 2012! I loved how J.A. created a dystopian society masquerading as the perfect world. But, get a few chapters in, and that mask will begin to deteriorate until the ugly truth is revealed. Horrifying and entrancing, Elysium will ensnare you and then catapult you into a game of cat and mouse, where reality is manipulated, hearts are betrayed, and death just might be welcome. But then again, your life might be “just about perfect.”
“How can you even know who you are, if you can’t remember who you’ve been?” ARC, pg 87