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.
Can I just say how much I love Marissa Meyer? Like seriously, I do. When I read her first series, The Lunar Chronicles, I fell completely in love with her writing and her characters and the entire world she created there. Guess what? She did it again here. I have yet to read Heartless, and I’ve heard mixed things about it, but Renegades was such a great read and it gave me some Lunar vibes but not too many to make it seem repetitive or that Meyer can only write with one formula. The plot was beyond intriguing, the characters were flawed yet also had a spirit to them that made you want to root for them, there was a tiny flicker of romance, but not too much, and there were some crazy plot twists that literally had me screaming. I love what Meyer did with this book and the superhero trope in general and it made this book that much more unique, in my opinion. Marissa Meyer is absolutely killing the YA lit game and making it hers and that’s why I love her writing.
- While this is the second series I’ve read from Marissa Meyer, I know that she has never shied away from filling her stories with diversity. I can’t really speak for Heartless since I haven’t gotten to it yet, but based on The Lunar Chronicles and now Renegades I can guarantee that these are two series with guaranteed diversity and representation. I hate that I have to keep praising books that have diversity but it’s still such a problem for YA literature. Sometimes we’re at the point where we praise authors for putting one POC in their book and not killing them (side eyes @ SJM) but I know authors like Leigh Bardugo, Sabaa Tahir, Alexandra Bracken, and Renee Ahdieh are amazing with representation but not all authors are. So it not only makes me happy that Meyer is putting so much diversity in all of her books but the fact that she’s a white author doing this. Instead of making every character white, Meyer is using her privilege to represent those who aren’t and giving them a voice. For example, Nova is of Italian and Filipino heritage, Adrian is black, or even potentially half-black since he doesn’t know his biological father, and was adopted by a gay couple, Oscar is disabled, and I believe Danna is black as well. That’s at least half of her cast of characters including her two leads. I think the only person who was described as being white was Ruby, or at least that’s all I remember. This was one of the things I loved so much about The Lunar Chronicles and I’m so ecstatic that Meyer continued to do this with her new series. I can tell that representation and diversity in YA is important to her and I hope she never stops writing this way.
- The plot of heroes and villains is one that’s been done and explored a lot but what I liked about this plot was how it seemed to emphasize the morally grey zone of it all. When we meet Nova, she’s so focused on destroying the Renegades and believes that they’re the real villains and how they’ll never be there for you when you need them most, like how they weren’t there for her. It makes you think that maybe the Anarchists aren’t really villains and that maybe what they can do is just viewed as being evil because it doesn’t fit the Renegade mould. And then when we meet Adrian and the other heroes, you see how there are some Renegades that abuse their powers and status, like Frostbite, and maybe they really are the real villains. Nova is clearly teetering between good and bad, especially when she joins the Renegades in hopes of gaining the upper hand for the Anarchists and she can no longer decide who is actually doing the right thing in their world. And we definitely see that with Adrian who is like a Renegade legacy but creates an alter ego to be the hero that he thinks he should be. But with The Sentinel, both the Renegades and Anarchists don’t know what to think of him or how to even handle him. I think what this all does is it makes you question what it really means to be a hero or a villain and why people are placed in these categories because some Renegades clearly are not good heroes and some Anarchists could be great heroes if they weren’t stuck in that life. It’s a good commentary on this subject and I like how morally grey it feels as a whole.
- I love the fact that the major trope/plot device used in this book was alter egos and double agentry. It’s something that makes you want to keep reading because you want to see everything come out. As soon as I found out Adrian was The Sentinel and saw Nova join the Renegades, all I wanted was to see them find out about the other. You come up with so many scenarios of who finds out first and how, and then what will they do with that information. Will Adrian keep it to himself or tell his dads? Will Nova expose Adrian to the Anarchists or confront him? This kind of plot device gives you something to look forward to regardless of what’s going on in the story. And nothing is better than seeing the characters struggle with keeping their secrets or smiling smugly when their alter ego is brought up. I thought it was really well done here and I hope to see more of it in the next book of the series.
- Obviously there’s some kind of romance kindling between Nova and Adrian but I liked that it never went beyond that faint spark. I think this story is one of those situations where there isn’t really any time for romance nor is it really the place. It’s really cute how Adrian clearly has a thing for Nova and basically everyone around them knows it but Nova, or at least she’s just in clear denial, but it’s more like a third priority to taking down the Renegades or finding Nightmare. In other circumstances I’d for sure complain about the lack of romance because I’m such a sucker for it, but I love that it was really understated here, especially if you compare it to other YA fantasy novels. It’s refreshing.
- THE PLOT TWIST AT THE VERY END OF THIS BOOK. OH MY GOD. I had a feeling that was gonna happen but I didn’t think it was gonna happen like that. I was literally screaming when I finished the last chapter. Marissa Meyer is incredible at ending her books. Wow.
- I’m not sure if this is a bad point per se, but I just felt like this book was a tad bit too long. I can understand why it was 500+ pages since Meyer is only making Renegades a duology, but it just felt long. Maybe it’s because it took me a while to read it due to my crazy schedule that made it feel that way? It’s possible but I don’t know. I do believe that the beginning was a bit slow but it wasn’t hard to get into. I literally had no time to read it and enjoy it the way it deserved to be read and I think that took away from the overall enjoyment and experience of it. But I still think it was a tiny bit too long…..I say even though I read Winter which is 800+ pages in just under a week. Oh well.
THE BOTTOM LINE
- If you’re already familiar with Marissa Meyer’s work, I can promise you will not be disappointed by this book. It has that same feeling from The Lunar Chronicles regarding its characters and their dynamics but is still it’s own work. The representation is stellar, the plot is well paced and beyond intriguing, and the alter ego trope will keep you from putting this book down. Love or hate superheroes, you’ll enjoy this book for sure.
BONUS: how this book made me feel in a GIF
ABOUT THE BOOK
Title: Renegades (Renegades #1)
Author: Marissa Meyer
Release Date: November 7, 2017
Pages: 556 (Hardcover)
Until next time,
What did you think of the book? Leave a comment below!