Release Date ~ November 13, 2012
Tor Teen ~ Macmillan
Review copy 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.
Renegade is one of those books that appealed to me from the very first minute I heard about it - the cover has a fairy tale/fantasy feel to it, and the synopsis has this sci-fi/dystopia vibe. BRILLIANT. Plus, the whole altered memory aspect really interested me because I find that incredibly fascinating from a psychological/political point of view.
Renegade delivered on all of those points and more - including a few scenes that were so creepy that this book is clearly a psychological thriller as well, and even a little bit of horror. Plus, I wonder if Renegade was inspired a LITTLE bit by the story of The Little Mermaid, which is my FAVOURITE, so bonus points for that.
- Fantasy, fairy-tale inspiration:
A girl who lives under the sea who dreams of the surface? Evie isn't a mermaid, but that's part of the core idea behind The Little Mermaid. But by no means is Renegade a retelling; it clearly isn't, but it seems to really take this (great) concept and then expand on it in its own creative way - which is exactly what I love my books to do! But there is very much a fantasy element, with Evie essentially playing the role of a princess in her little underwater utopia.
- A sci-fi psychological thriller:
Memory alteration/loss is one of the things that scares me most in life. I just can't stand the thought of not remembering what has happened to me. And the way Renegade is written, you can totally feel just how downright creepy it is. Especially when Evie keeps spouting off, "My life is just about perfect." I GET SHIVERS FROM THAT LINE NOW. It's so messed up, but very much a sci-fi/dystopian thing to do.
- A brave heroine:
Considering the fact that Evie can't really remember much that has happened to her, and she's essentially locked away in her palace, the girl has got major guts. She's inherently curious, and always willing to fight back in any way that she can. And as the story progresses, she just gets tougher and tougher. She comes off a little weak and ditzy at first, but she's totally not. Complete opposite, and it just takes a little while for the real Evie to break through completely.
- A poignant ending:
I know that Renegade is the first part of a series but... it would work really well as a stand-alone. You can easily read Renegade all on its own, and you'll be left with some questions but the story truly does wrap up. And shatter your heart into a million little fragments. And leave you begging for a sequel. NOW.
There was one big reveal that could have been hidden a little bit better, but it was still a very effective plot. I wish I had been kept in the dark for a little bit longer though, although I noticed when I finished the book that I had a lot of questions about Elysium I hope to have answered in future books.
As well, I was a bit iffy on the romance at first. It felt like they really jumped into things right away, but I could sort of understand why being in such a dangerous and intimate situation. It's hard for me to pinpoint exactly what it was, but I just felt like something was missing. But by the end I was totally sold. #TeamEvie&Gavin