Monday, November 19, 2012

Review: Renegade by J.A. Souders

Renegade by J.A. Souders
Series: The Elysium Chronicles #1
Publisher: Tor Teen
First published: November 13th, 2012
Source: NetGalley
Format: eARC
Pages: 364
Goodreads Summary:
Since the age of three, sixteen-year-old Evelyn Winters has been trained to be Daughter of the People in the underwater utopia known as Elysium. Selected from hundreds of children for her ideal genes, all her life she’s thought that everything was perfect; her world. Her people. The Law.

But when Gavin Hunter, a Surface Dweller, accidentally stumbles into their secluded little world, she’s forced to come to a startling realization: everything she knows is a lie.

Her memories have been altered.

Her mind and body aren’t under her own control.

And the person she knows as Mother is a monster.

Together with Gavin she plans her escape, only to learn that her own mind is a ticking time bomb... and Mother has one last secret that will destroy them all.

My Rating: 3.5 / 5

First thoughts:
Presenting us one of the most unique dystopian settings I have encountered so far, Renegade is a very interesting story. While I'm not completely happy with the characters and would have wished to be able to connect with them more, I liked the overall premise and its execution.

My thoughts about...

... the plot:
With dystopian novels flooding the YA market, it's hard to find a refreshing approach. But luckily Renegade's setting is incredibly unique, with a society that still has typical characteristics of the dystopian elements we know: oppression, brainwashing, manipulation, and rebellion. In addition to that, Renegade is wonderfully fast-paced and, especially during the second half, action-packed, which turns it into a book that's very hard to put down.

... the characters: 
I'm not really sure what to think of Renegade's main character. Evelyn sadly doesn't even know herself very well thanks to the alternation of her memories, which made it hard for me to truly understand her feelings and motivations. At times she was naive, but later it felt like her decisions were made too rash without being well thought-out.

Her love interest, Gavin, comes from the Surface and is thrust into a world that's completely different from what he's used to. In Elysium he is the bad guy, someone who should be murdered on sight. Meeting Evie saves his life and when they get to know each other better, they soon fall in love. Sadly it felt like a case of instant-love to me and even during the later course of the story I couldn't see why they had such strong feelings for each other. This lack of connection to the main characters is what made me enjoy Renegade a lot less than I would have otherwise.

There are a few but not too many secondary characters and while some of them were great to meet, others I'm definitely not looking forward to be confronted with again. At times Renegade's world is painted only in black and white - there were too few elements for me that would have made me feel sorry for the "bad guys", which is a very important aspect of stories for me though.

... everything:
All in all, I ended up liking Renegade even though it didn't completely live up to expectations. Its narration is very easy to follow and despite my lack of connection with Evie, I felt like she is a great narrator - seeing the world from her eyes is definitely interesting. So far I'm definitely curious about how this story will continue and I hope I will get to love these characters more.

Debut Author Challange 2012

Are you still a fan of dystopian stories or have you read too many? What do you think about the premise of Renegade? Are you curious about this book? Or, if you have read it already, what did you think about it?

I'd love to hear your thoughts!


  1. I really, really want to read this book! It sounds absolutely brilliant, and I'm loving the cover. I'm curious to experience this world for myself...

  2. I've heard good things about this book, and it's so hard to find a good dystopian. I'm definitely going to read this one. Thanks!

  3. I really loved this book. I agree with you it is a quick developing relationship for sure but I saw it as a bond forming because of their life or death situations. I think it'll be a hit of miss with readers that romance. I loved how sick and disturbing the whole world was the most. Mother is one sick b*tch! >.< Glad that you enjoyed it regardless of your quirks with it, Carina!

  4. This is why I hate hype, your expectations always exceed the content!

    Thanks for your honesty though Carina!

    Amber Elise @ Du Livre

  5. Great review :D Glad you liked this book some ;p I just read it as well, and I did enjoy it. For the most part :) I did have the same problems that you did, though. About connecting to the characters :\ But I did manage to enjoy it, still :)

  6. For me, the characters were also the major letdown of this book, but I'm sure we'll know them better in the next book <3 Great review!

    - Kazhy @ My Library in the Making

  7. I did like Renegade more than I like most dystopians these days (I'm not a fan of the genre on the best of days), and I do agree that characterization could have been better. Like you, I am curious as to how things are going to go down in the second installment, as Souders didn't clearly indicate what would happen next.

  8. Alas, your thoughts, Carina! I have been really curious as to what you would think about this series! I'm still quite interested in reading this book, since I've heard such great things. I'm kind of scared that it won't live up to my expectations now though, too. At least I know now to look out for insta-love! I can see how you wouldn't be able to understand the main character, since she is brainwashed. Lovely review, Carina! Thanks for being honest. :)


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