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.Hey, you! Yes, you there. I am talking to you. You may deny it but I can tell that you need something.
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.
These: links to buy Renegade either from Book Depository / Kindle / Amazon.
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Yes, guys! Renegade is THAT good. Did I anticipate it? A bit. It has a very gorgeous cover but I thought this is just another irrelevant 'girl with a pretty dress' cover. Heh. I was wrong. That cover is completely relevant to the story.
I didn't add Renegade to my TBR list until I saw Giselle and Keertana reviews. My expectation wasn't that high either because it's a dystopian book. And you do realize how hard it is to write a great, unique dystopian book these days, right? Tettttt!!! I was wrong again. J.A Sounders did the impossible; she wrote a great, unique dystopian book.
I was wrong.
I was wrong. I was wrong. I was wrong.
Fuhhh!!! Renegade is truly a spectacular little gem. I seriously can't hide my fangirlism. I was convinced to read it purely based on words of mouth and I hope this trend continues.
By all means, this book isn't perfect. I wouldn't go as far as saying Renegade is as good and as ground-breaking as The Hunger Games but it came pretty damn close. In fact, the best part of reading Renegade was to be swept away by Evelyn's journey for freedom and self-discovery. And by reading it, I can tell that not only the characters grow, the author showed a remarkable growth herself. J.A Souders made an exponential leap on her writing skill, world building, character development all within 369 pages of Renegade. And truthfully, I am scared plus excited to see what she can do next for its subsequent sequels. I believe they will be HUGE!
Renegade started a little shaky. Just at a few small parts of the story, the writing gets a bit stiff. I was a bit annoyed when Gavin kept gawking and drifting off at the initial stage of their escape. It's a bit unrealistic considering it was his life that was on the line. And for the first quarter of the book, I tried hard to stay content with a goody-two-shoes heroine. I had to keep telling myself, 'it's okay not to have a tough, kickass heroine for a dystopian book'.
Tettttt! I was wrong again.
You will not believe how drastic and how quick the story unfolds right under your nose (literally). Renegade was again, literally unputdownable! There was never a dull moment. And whenever I started to jot down something that was impractical or unrealistic, I had to cross that out because the author always came out with the answer or the explanation afterwards. Renegade gets darker towards the end and I like it! By the end of it, all I can say was 'as if this book was written for me'. It offers everything I ever wanted in a YA book. A heady mix of memory loss, mistaken identity, genetic manipulations and a genocidal dictator!
Again, by all means, I do not think that Renegade is perfect. But here's the thing; whenever the history, politics, or technology details of Elysium was mentioned, I knew I had to take a moment to connect everything up to that point to see if it's logical but it was impossible because I couldn't turn the pages fast enough! So, probably if I re-read it, I might find a flaw or two. As for now, I can convincingly say that Renegade may own the top spot of my best 2012 reads, just slightly above The Assassin's Curse and Slammed.
I think J.A Souders is very brave to tackle the subject of memory loss. It's easy to succumb to paradoxes when it comes to memory loss. When you read Renegade, don't worry if you end up as confused as I was and wonder why Evelyn can remember certain things and not the other things. J.A Souders has answers for that, so don't worry.
Even with the answers (Conditioning, programming etc), some of the things still bother me to be honest. For instance;
- The perfume in Evelyn's room. Once she smelled it, she remembered that she'd been conditioned before. Did she never smell that fragrance before? If yes, then how Evelyn ended up being conditioned again once she regained her memory? Wouldn't she try to escape Elysium straight away?
- Wouldn't the citizen question why would the Daughter of the People have a memory loss problem? Or are they too scared to question Mother's order? As for Evelyn herself, wouldn't it never cross her mind that why she had been chosen if she has that kind of problem. I thought she believed that she was chosen because she has the perfect genetics. Technically, a person with a perfect genetics shouldn't have a memory loss problem unless it's due to injury or something.
The romance developed just a bit too quick for my liking. Only a bit. After all, at the end, Evelyn and Gavin went through a lot together anyway. So, yes, at the end, it is totally justifiable.
That bi*ch! I'm really uncomfortable with cussing but I really hate Mother with a fiery rage. She is sadistic, cunning and 100% psychotic. I appreciate that little back-story of Mother. It really convinced me that she is indeed 100% psychotic.
***Spoilers ahead***[Before I end this review, my one little criticism is that I hope there were more descriptions given as to how the citizen actually live their life. Are they really happy going to the festival every year? Are they okay with the occasional missing people? Or does the conditioning take away so much of themselves that they can't feel much anymore? (hide spoiler)]
Before I end this review, my one little criticism is that I hope there were more descriptions given as to how the citizen actually live their life. Are they really happy going to the festival every year? Are they okay with the occasional missing people? Or does the conditioning take away so much of themselves that they can't feel much anymore?
To sum it up, Renegade came along as an early birthday present for me. I finished it yesterday and today is my birthday (yay!)
Five brilliant stars!
An ARC was provided to me by Macmillan-Tor/Forge in exchange for an honest review.
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