Series: The Elysium Chronicles #1
Published by Tor Teen on November 13th 2012
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.
By this point, I have learned to take book hype with a grain of salt. There have been plenty of reads that promise this or look amazing, and somewhere along the way, there is a disconnect. While I wish every read could live up to the hype, it is not always going to happen. Therefore, ignoring the hype, I went into Renegade just hoping not to be disappointed.
Renegade starts off beautifully. A young girl describing her morning routine. Breakfast. A stroll through her favorite gardens. Basic details. I loved the simplicity of the first chapter of Renegade. Until… I got to the next chapter, and found something strange. The beginning paragraphs of the two chapters were exactly the same. How odd. At first, I told myself, oh, its a galley, maybe a copy mistake. Then, I got to the third chapter. Only to find the same thing happening again with slight differences. It was like a light bulb had gone off. This was no copy mistake, this was actually the tale. At that point, my interest in Renegade hit a new level. I could see that Renegade was going to have a lot more to it than I originally had thought.
My thought regarding Renegade are not exactly cut and dry. From mind control to an us vs. them mentality with the citizens of Elysium and the Surface Dwellers to scientific experiences gone wrong, there is a lot going on in this read. Some of it fantastic. Some of it a little too much. And it is the over the top details that make Renegade a bit difficult for me to wrap my head around.
Renegade stands out in a sea of dystopian reads for the right reasons. Evie, our main character, has more than enough depth to over compensate for the lack of depth that effects some of our secondary characters. The setting is lush, but at times confusing. Once the back story is revealed, many details that left me scratching my head earlier in the book began to make better sense, but sadly, also opened the door for more questions.
Final verdict: Adored Renegade. But have some reservations.
I would recommend? Absolutely. But, again, with some reservations.
Finally, a word of caution. Renegade is not for the faint of heart. Although, a good two thirds of the book can be described as tame, the remaining third contains scenes that are anything but that. You have been warned.