Released: November 13, 2012
Publisher: Tor Teen
Source: the publisher
You can read the Goodreads summary here.
Ever since I first laid eyes on this cover, I knew I had to read Renegade. But sometimes there's this problem that happens with YA novels... the cover is better than the book. Thankfully, Renegade doesn't suffer from this affliction and completely blew away by expectations. Renegade is even better than its beautiful cover suggests!
Evelyn thinks her life is pretty close to perfect. She's the Daughter of the People, next in line to rule the underwater kingdom on Elysium. At sixteen, her mother - Mother of the People, is encouraging her to find her mate, but Evelyn is hesitant. She can't decide on a suitor until she meets Gavin, a Surface Dweller who finds himself in Elysium after getting lost while hunting. With Gavin's help, Evelyn soon begins to realize her life isn't what it seems...
I can't remember being this excited about a book in a long time. The world building was simply fantastic. Elysium is a 100% self-sustained community, completely underwater. It was fascinating to me to read about the technology that supported the community, particularly the volcano that powered electricity. It was all very futuristic and fun.
What I loved most about Renegade were the layers of deception. Evelyn thinks she knows who she is, but she really has no clue. As the novel progresses, we learn right along with Evelyn the facts about her past, the real-deal with Elysium, and of course her Mother. What an eye-opening experience. Evelyn's memory lapses are difficult and it only gets worse as the novel goes on; I can only imagine how frustrating that would be to experience. I was really pulling for Evelyn, because if only she could could get a grasp on who she really was and have the life she wanted with Gavin...
Oh Gavin! I couldn't help but feel a little bad for him at first, falling into this strange new world by mistake and suddenly being thrown together with a strange young woman intent on "coupling." Gavin's a good trooper as he goes along with Evelyn, though I felt some description on his past and where he came from was lacking, though I feel like we'll get more of that in the next book. Speaking of Gavin, Renegade was much more of a romance novel than I anticipated, not that there's anything wrong with that. Though Evelyn and Gavin fell in love within a matter of days, their relationship still felt organic and un-rushed to me.
Renegade is dark and the best example of this is Mother. She's not a nice lady and she comes across very neo-nazi, determined to perfect the world of Elysium right down to its blue-eyed, blond-haired inhabitants who must receive permits before breeding. The world Mother has created for herself is very disturbing, right down her pack of girl assassins who begin training at age three. Despite Mother's evil nature, I couldn't help but feel a little sympathy for her at points.
Five stars! I cannot rave about this book enough and I'm already trolling the Internet to try and find out when the next book in the series will be released. Any sort of YA dystopian, sci-fi, or romance lover will enjoy this novel... and I think that covers just about everybody! Put this one on your Christmas list right now, or better yet... just go but a copy. You won't regret it.