by Marissa Meyer
Published on November 7, 2017 by Feiwel & Friends
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
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Secret Identities. Extraordinary Powers. She wants vengeance. He wants justice.
The Renegades are a syndicate of prodigies—humans with extraordinary abilities—who emerged from the ruins of a crumbled society and established peace and order where chaos reigned. As champions of justice, they remain a symbol of hope and courage to everyone...except the villains they once overthrew.
Nova has a reason to hate the Renegades, and she is on a mission for vengeance. As she gets closer to her target, she meets Adrian, a Renegade boy who believes in justice—and in Nova. But Nova's allegiance is to a villain who has the power to end them both.
It was hard not to rate this book as high as possible. I’m a huge fan of the author’s other work and she’s easily a favorite YA author but I wanted something. . . more from this book.
I’ll be honest, Renegades is the first book I’ve taken on involving any form of superhero versus villain so I don’t have much to compare to on that front but I definitely will say I enjoyed this book. The way Meyer brings the world of Gatlon City to life is honestly masterful, and it’s a strength I’ve seen in her work throughout the Lunar Chronicle series and Heartless as well. I was actually really surprised that not all of the characters had crazy flashy powers. Nova can put people to sleep and doesn’t need sleep herself, but her strength comes through with the skills she’s worked to hone. Adrian can draw something and bring it into being but his strength is his creativity. One character turns into butterflies at will, another creates smoke, and so on. Sure, you get some of the “strong” superpowers thrown in the mix but the focus becomes less about the power and more about how it’s used that makes these characters Renegades (“heroes”) or Anarchists (“villains”).
I loved Nova and Adrian. First, a HUGE thank you to Meyer for not overdoing the amount of character perspectives. These two were just enough to get different sides of the same story and world without overwhelming the reader with information. And they contrasted nicely too especially with Adrian’s personal mission to bring down the Anarchist Nightmare while Nova is busy infiltrating the Renegades world. Both were forced to see different sides of the story which created a more dynamic set of characters. And the secondary cast weren’t any different. Each had a story, had lives beyond the page that came through in their actions and mannerisms.
While both characters were driven by revenge in some form or another, they went about it in different ways. Nova wanted vengeance for her family, for the lack of aid from the Renegades when they were killed. It has consumed her every action until she’s forced to face the fact that maybe the Renegades aren’t all bad. It’s that questioning and getting in her head that really hooked me. Then there’s Adrian, wanting information about who killed his mother. He hunts someone who might know more, an Anarchist, but at the same time he doesn’t hold his hatred of that person or the Renegades’ hatred of Anarchists against the others.
But for all the wonderful character development and world-building going on, this book was sllloooowwww. It took what felt like ages to really get into the story and then even when there was action, it became swamped with details. Not only did all this make the book drag on but it pulled me out of the story entirely at times.
Yet the worst thing about this book? THE ENDING.
So for nearly 600 pages, I thought this book was going to be a standalone (despite seeing that little series note on the Goodreads page). It read like a standalone, and the amount of detail made it seem like the author only had this one book to bring this world to life. But I got to the final page of the story (literally the LAST PAGE) and WHAM! Major cliffhanger.
To be honest, it kind of pissed me off. I spent the entire book expecting the story to wrap up because that’s how it read and then we get this one-liner thing that changes EVERYTHING and I mean I have to give it to Meyer for the shock value because she certainly succeeded there but it didn’t endear me to the story or coming series either.
Was this a good book? Absolutely. The world-building stole the show and I loved the characters. And I was really excited for this book, by an author that I auto-buy, but that ending left a bad taste in my mouth so we’ll see if I decide to tackle the sequel (okay y’all know I will but I’m still up in the air right now).