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.
Honestly, I don’t think it’s possible for me to write a non-spoiler review, so look away now if you don’t want to be spoiled!
This book blew me away.
I had high expectations for Renegades, I’ll admit that. I watch emmmabooks on youtube quite a bit and she loves this book. But when I have high expectations for a book I get really nervous about reading it. I think that’s why it took me so long to pick this up; I was afraid that this book wouldn’t live up to my expectations, that it would fall flat and be a disappointment. And that’s really not what I wanted this book to be.
One can not be brave who has no fear.
Renegades tells the story of a world that would initially be seen as a dystopia – governments are falling apart, food is hard to come by, people were looting and killing – it was every man for themselves. But, that was until the Renegades came along. The Renegades are a group of people – or prodigies – who have special powers. They’re a bit like the X-Men, with their powers ranging from flight, telekinesis and invincibility to someone who can draw things and make them come to life. But with every great superhero team, there’s a team of villains. In Renegades, this team go by the Anarchists. And they’re awesome. I do love a good anti-hero, not-quite-a-villain story, and Renegades embodies that to its very core.
Heroism wasn’t about what you could do, it was about what you did. It was about who you saved when they needed saving.
The characters in this book is what was probably most interesting to me. I love characters. I love everything they bring to a story. They’re rich and they bring this world alive. Nova, who I would probably say was the protagonist of the novel, is the most interesting of all the characters. She’s an Anarchist, part of the villain group, dead set on revenge against the Renegades for not showing up in time to save her family from the wrath of a rival villain gang when she was a young girl.
What’s more interesting, however, is that Nova’s uncle – Ace Anarchy – is seen as the pillar, the leader, of the Anarchists who is presumed dead. When she infiltrates Renegades as a scheme to take them down from the inside, everything begins to change. She starts to see that not all Renegades are bad, and that some of her fellow villains don’t have the best ideas.
Then we meet Adrian. The son of Captain Chromium and the Death Warden, Adrian has the ability to draw things and bring them to life. His is probably the most interesting power in this book, and probably why the Sentinel is so fascinating. I can’t wait to find out more about his character and what the Sentinel will bring to the story. Furthermore, his relationship with Max is adorable, and I know it’s cliche to see a handsome, young male character interacting with a kid and it making my swoon, but it does. I love him.
Nova is arrogant and naive, yet brave and relentless. Adrian is brash and quick to judge, yet charming. They’re the perfect duo, but is the romance right for Renegades?
The seeds of romance are scattered from the beginning of the novel. It’s a bit predictable that it was going to happen and I know many people would feel that it was unnecessary and out of place, but I actually really enjoyed it. I don’t know if it’s because it’s the first time in years I’ve actually found a swoon-worthy character, but I think the romance really works. I enjoy their relationship and I know that they would bring out the best in each other as a couple. Plus, every great romance has a scene on a ferris wheel.
Like the reveal of their identities, the romance is a slow burn. That is to say, we haven’t been fulfilled yet. I want them to kiss. I want them to have a hot and steamy make out session. I want them to find out each other’s identities and have a big fight. And then make out. Whatever I want, all I know is that I’m left wanting So. Much. More.
You mean people don’t like to see hypocrisy in their leadership? Shocking.
Another incredible thing about this book is the representation. While the representation isn’t in your face, it is effortless. Usually it’s a small comment here or there – for example, Nova mentions that her mum was Filipino and her dad was Italian. It’s one comment, that’s it. There’s no other mention of it and it’s not a big deal, and yet with a few words our protagonist is a person of colour. Some people may think that it’s not enough just to make a throw away comment and count it as representation, and in most cases this would certainly be the case.
However, in this world it seems as though someone who is non-white or someone who is LGBT+ wouldn’t face much prejudice. Two of the leaders of the Renegades are gay – and married – and are seen as a figure to idolise, to look up to. The prejudices people to face in the world today aren’t the same prejudices they face in the world of Renegades and therefore may not need to be focused on as much.
There is so much more I could say about this novel. I love Max and I’d love to see more of him. I love the conversation it opened up about what makes a hero. Who decides what’s heroic? Why is it that only prodigies get to be heroic? And is it okay that ordinary people have become complacent about helping themselves because the Renegades do everything to help them.
I really loved the trials scene and I’d love to see more of it in the next book. The fun house scene was tense and eerie even though we knew what was happening. Everything that Meyer presents in Renegades is insightful and thought provoking. It’s deep and seems to have a whole history of its own. The world building is fantastic and, honestly, there’s not one part of this book I didn’t love.
I’m giving Renegades by Marissa Meyer 5 stars and I would strongly urge all of you to go read it.
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Have you read Renegades? Do you agree with my thoughts?
Who’s your favourite character? What was your favourite scene?