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.show more
by Andrea Thompson