Wednesday, December 12, 2012


Coming 12/13
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.  

Renegade (The Elysium Chronicles, #1)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.

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.

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...

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.

Favorite Quote:

  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:

I have one copy of Renegade up for grabs, courtesy of Tor Teen.
The Details:
  • 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.

a Rafflecopter giveaway



  1. I'm SUPER excited to read Renegade. I've been lusting over it for months :D

  2. A fantastic review Andrea! Renegade is another book I'm really excited about reading. I like the sound of this dystopian world and the characters - especially Gavin ;)

    I loved the quotes you shared!

  3. Nice work, you have worked pretty hard to get this domain where it is today, good luck and hopefully you get the right price for.
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  4. You said it perfectly. I thought that this book was twisted and crazy the way a dysstopian should be. I really enjoyed this book too. Great review hon!!

  5. So happy you had better luck with this one than I did! I was not a huge fan... at all. I like the Bourne comparison, I totally see that. I guess this solidifies the fact that we are strictly contemp soulmates!

  6. Awesome giveaway! I haven't read the book yet, but I'm excited to read it!!

  7. Yes! I'm very excited to read it, I wasn't interested at first but lots of people I know loved it.

  8. You know I don't read a lot of dystopians, but this does sound good. I liked the quotes. I lol'd at: "I can see up your dress, okay? It's...distracting." (but of course I would LOL at something like that right?)

  9. I like dystopians and this sounds really good. Great review! Thanks for sharing!

  10. Thanks for the awesome post! I would love to read this book :)

  11. I am so excited to read this book and even more so after your review! It just sounds like a great read! Glad you enjoyed!

  12. So, I've been putting this one off for too long and now you've made me want to pick it up next with your awesome review and those great quotes you picked out. :) This book sounds great, especially with that Bourne comparison. Thanks for sharing!

  13. Haven't yet but I've heard awesome things about it:)

    Thank you:)

  14. Fantastic review, Andrea! You definitely have me adding this one to my reading list. I like the cover, and I love the quotes! Thanks for sharing :D

  15. I didn't really want to read this book, then I heard all o the amazing review on it and I did want to read it, so I bought it. Then I found out it was a dystopia (not my favorites) so it went back on my TBR, then I read and loved Black City so now I don't know what I want.
    This was a great review and I'm glad someone who is not a dystopia fan liked it :)

  16. Have shied away from this one because I'm not really a dystopia fan either but maybe I should give it a try.


  17. Of course I’m excited to read Renegade, especially if it is comparable to the Bourne series!

  18. I'm so happy to hear that you loved this one too!

    I'm kind of burned out on Dystopian novels but this one was so much fun - even though it was also intense. It had a different feel to me than the typical read front he genre.

    I agree that it was a lot like the Bourne movies. I hadn't even thought of that.

    You wrote a great review! Did you read mine?? OMG I love it....blah blah blah OMG lol

  19. So this has elements of a psychological thriller? Wow, I was excited about Renegade but now it's a full blown I-want-this-now kind of a thing. Eep. It sounds awesome and who doesn't love the Bourne series?

    Great review, Andrea! =D

    Sana @ artsy musings of a bibliophile

  20. I'm excited to read this one! I've been hearing good things and I love dystopia!

  21. I haven't read it yet, but it's the cover that first got my attention, those colors are just gorgeous! It sounds like in some ways it's very typical dystopian, but you add in the underwater home and they psychological thriller stuff and you get a very unique novel. I'm definitely looking forward to reading it for those reasons!

  22. I can't wait to read it, it sounds so good!

  23. Yay! So glad you enjoyed this one! Mother is one the most horrific and twisted villains that I've ever read about. Love her. Great review! You pinpointed all the great parts of this book for sure. I can't wait for book two :D

  24. The more I read about Renegade, the more I want to read it. I have it on the wishlist and my fingers are crossed. Thank you for sharing your review with us and for this treat of a giveaway opportunity.

  25. I have been wanting to read Renegade, and now that I read your review I want to read it even more. The psychological thriller part sounds like it is intense but awesome! I am going to have to get this one!

  26. I'm very excited to read this! Thanks for the great giveaway!


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