Welcome to The Bookish Babe's stop on the Renegade Blog Tour. My stop includes a review and giveaway. Special thanks to the lovely people at Tor Publishing for inviting me to take part in the tour.
Series: The Elysium Chronicles #1
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publisher: Tor Teen
Publication Date: 11/13/12
Source: Received from publisher for review.
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.I'm going to start by saying that I am very intimidated about writing this review. Renegade is a book that seems to be a huge hit with fellow bloggers, many of whom have stated their thoughts much better than I likely will. Here's my stab at it...
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.
Renegade epitomizes what dystopian books are all about. You have a "perfect" society led by an all-knowing leader. The citizens of Elysium live by a very specific and demanding standard of law: no touching by those who are "unCoupled", only those who are a good genetic match are allowed to Couple and procreate, citizens are given an occupation/duty to perform as their part of the society. This is a sample of the rules the citizens must live by. Who is their leader? Mother. Mother is the all-knowing, all-powerful leader of Elysium. Backed by her skilled Enforcers, those who question Mother disappear.
Sixteen-year old Evelyn is the Daughter of the People. The young woman Mother is grooming to take her place one day in the future. Evelyn spends her days gardening, listening to the needs of the citizens, playing her harp... her life "is just about perfect". But Evie is plagued with headaches, lost spaces of time, and the shadow of a memory of a boy. A memory that of a feeling, of a touch, the sound of wind chimes, that stays just out of reach. But when a Surface Dweller unwittingly invades the Elysium and is captured, Evie, despite her "training" doesn't believe this boy, Gavin, is her enemy. A niggling feeling about Gavin's character, and close proximity, leads the two into a fast-paced relationship. As they get to know more about one another, and their environments, Evie begins to realize that Mother really doesn't know best.
Besides being a really great example of a dystopian society, Renegade is also an intense psychological thriller. I don't remember where I read this comparison, but someone somewhere compare Renegade to The Bourne series. That's a perfect comparison, in my opinion. You have a heroine who has been manipulated, in multiple ways, into performing and thinking as she's been told. Bit by bit, the layers are peeled back, revealing the depth and horror of the world Evie was brought up in. The truly atrocious lengths Mother will go to in building and maintaining her perfect society. Along the way, Gavin, who is also horrified by Mother's machinations, is there to support Evie. And when I say support, I feel that should be emphasized. Evie is the leader of the duo, the trained assassin, the one who will push through. I loved that at each horrific revelation he experiences with Evie, that he never judges or turns his back on her. Also, the flirtation/evolving relationship between the two is very, very sweet, but never takes the story over.
I truly didn't know what I was going to find in Renegade. I don't love a lot of dystopian books. Renegade truly turned into more than I ever expected, or hoped for. My mind was reeling and I could not put the book down until the very (awesome) end. The ending felt complete, in a way, and left me in a good place. But make no mistake. I want more.
When I glance up to tell Gavin he can turn around, I see the mirror on the far wall. His eyes stare into mine perfectly. He has a grin on his face.
Who the hell puts a mirror in a supper club cellar?
"You could have told me there was a mirror there," I say, fighting my blush.
"What the fun in that?" He turns to face me. "Besides, I didn't see anything. I closed my eyes. For most of it." He grins at me again. (pg. 160)
It's quiet for so long I chance a peek down at him. He's keeping his eyes fixed on the wall behind the ladder and reaching blindly for the next rung.
"I can see up your dress, okay? It's...distracting." (pg.214)
I don't know exactly what I feel for him, but I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be risking my life for someone I only liked. I don't have time to think about it, either. I need to focus on getting us out of here alive. (pg.215)
You can purchase Rengade at:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
About the Author
J.A. SOUDERS lives in Florida with her husband and their two children and is an active member of the RWA, CFRW, YARWA and SCBWI. RENEGADE is her first nove. Connect at: www.jasouders.com.
I have one copy of Renegade up for grabs, courtesy of Tor Teen.
- Open to US Residents only (or those with a US mailing address)
- Must be 13+ years of age to enter.
- Must fill out the Rafflecopter form.
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