Monday, November 19, 2012

Review: Renegade by J.A. Souders

Read from November 9, 2012 to
November 13, 2012
Book: Renegade (The Elysium Chronicles #1) by J.A. Souders
Publication Date: November 13, 2012
Publisher: Tor Teen
Number of Pages: 364
Genre/s: Young Adult, Dystopia

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. - From Goodreads

I've been hearing quite a buzz for Renegade long before I finally succumbed and requested it via Netgalley. I'm really glad I did because I would have surely regret it if I haven't. 

If I would have to describe Renegade in one word it would be unconventional. It's unlike anything I've ever read before. It feels different. It reads different. I knew from the moment guns were mentioned, I was in trouble.

I'm not the kind of reader who rereads synopsis every time I start a book; I just dive right in. So my preconception of Renegade was it's a fairy tale or mythological retelling slash dystopian of some sort. While Renegade proved me wrong cause it wasn't any kind of retelling in the slightest, it was so much more. My surprise could be attributed to its cover. I mean look at that cover! It's gorgeous, yes, but it's another pretty girl in the cover. It's so unassuming and honestly it felt generic but from the very first page up to the last, I could definitely say that cover worked as an advantage to this novel. 

I really liked the pacing of the novel as well. Never was there a dull or dragging moment. Plot-wise, it's almost...quirky, setting its own unique brand of storytelling cause it seeps into you and it makes you feel bewildered and unsure of what you're really reading. When events started unraveling and I got a sense of what was really happening, the memory loss, the turrets suddenly blasting people off like targets from a carnival, DNAs swiped from the system, unCoupling licenses revoked, mandatory Festival attendance; the seemingly neat and immaculate system begun to feel very chaotic. The very structure of their world while rigid and unyielding to anything short of perfect and subservient was cracked from the core.

We are all Mother’s children. It is a privilege to show her our ultimate obedience to her laws.—engraved on a pillar in the Square, Sector Two

The charm of Renegade basically comes down to Evie. She's so bad-ass, it hurts. The meek girl went from defiant, to violent; intent on getting out. It's like the perfect character growth. I like my heroine likeable even without the help of her love interest and someone who can kick people's behind. She literally stumps Gavin presence in the process. I'm like Gavin who? And the villain in this story, goodness. Souders knows how to get in people's skin, doesn't she? Mother is like the perfect villain. With just enough background to somehow give justice in her actions, well, at least in a villain point of view. She's heartless, manipulative, and cold. Most of all, she's everywhere. 

Renegade manages to stand out from the rest of what I've read this year mainly because it's every bit unpredictable. It seemed like the first half of the book started in a different world then the second half felt like an action movie then the last half seemed like a horror movie slash thriller. It went from tame to gory. It defied all expectations. Just when it's becoming too easy, Souders would begin dropping bombs too keep you at the edge of your seat. 

Also once you realized those little hints along the way, it'd make you just whistle with appreciation with how she handled everything stealthily and sneakily. She savored planting them and when you set one off, everything else just explodes in your face. I think aside from being an author, Souders is a bombranger cause when she chucks one, she doesn't miss.

It takes one girl, a supposedly daft and docile girl, and one banged-up Surface Dweller to get things going and once it started it won't stop. The perfect formula, I daresay. 

Cupid's Verdict:
4 Cupids
An advance copy was provided by the publisher at no cost via Netgalley


  1. I have been hesitantly curious about Renegade since I saw the beautiful cover for the first time. But mermaidish or underwater worldish books have never really sat well with me for some reason. Yet, there is something about this one that does make me curious. You said 2 important things in this book that have concreted my decision to read: Unconventional, and the best thing, so bad-ass, it hurts. Thank you, thank you, thank you. (For now! If it stinks, I might have to take it away! Just kidding!)

  2. Interesting! for me, the most important thing would be the pacing of the book, and im glad it was good!! I think I should really read this, because saying that its different than anything youve read before? wow, that must be something good! Lovely review!!
    - Farah @ MajiBookshelf

  3. Fantastic review! Quirky is a good way to describe this story. It was unique and different, and so much fun too! I had a few issues with the romance - it never really did it for me - but I really enjoyed it otherwise. :) Brilliant review!

  4. love the story , love the cover n love your review :)

  5. This sounds like a promising new series. Thanks for your review. The cover is gorgeous too.
    - The Reading-ista

  6. Isn't the cover gorgeous! And the story too.. very intriguing.

  7. Oh, I've heard a bit about this but never enough to pull me over to deciding to read it, but since this is such a great review and you've made it sound so amazing... I'm adding it! I love the way you found it totally unlike novels you've read before- awesome review!
    Also, thank you for enjoying my guest post on Brodie's blog! x

  8. I've been wanting to read this for so long! It's really interesting, every blogger I've read who's reviewed it has loved it but for one, yet when I suggested to my library that they purchase it, they said the "professional" reviews were mixed so they weren't going to buy it. Oh well - it sounds like it's right up my alley anyway, and I finally just bit the bullet and ordered it last night because I want to read it so badly and, obviously, can't check it out of the library! I almost NEVER buy a hardback, but I can't wait for this one. Hopefully I'm not disappointed :)

  9. "It's so unassuming and honestly it felt generic ..."
    ^ THIS! I couldn't agree more! Countless pretty girl dress covers have disappointed me and I had totally pegged Renegade for that camp. Then reviews started rolling out saying it's creepy. Thanks for the review!


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