Totally not what I was expecting. And I say that in the best way possible.
The cover is a lie. I mean that with all the love in the world
That synopsis doesn't give you a real hint at what's to come. Hopefully, you'll be forewarned.
So here's what I meant by those (I hope) slightly ominous words--Renegade really wasn't what I was expecting. And it was so much better than expected. The world was so...cruel and morbid, for lack of better words. There was an overall appearance of perfection, and it really sounded it in the beginning. Even if I knew that it was fake.
I just didn't realize how much of a lie it would be! And that cover? It really is beautiful, but it makes Renegade seem more innocent than it actually is. Her bleeding hand? That's kind of the only hint you can find to just how dark this "utopia" was.
And my my, what a dark world it was.
There was so much death, so many secrets, and so much brainwashing that you're just...strangely thrilled. You're wincing and cringing, but you just can't stop reading!
As for characters, I loved Evie. She was so efficient and smart and she was...strong. She got shot and what did she do? She kept her calm and knew exactly what to do. And you just had to admire that side of her. Sure, in the beginning, she's heavily (And I mean heavily) brainwashed, but she breaks through it and honestly? That was pretty willful of her. No matter what Mother or the Enforcers (basically, assassins) did, they couldn't keep her down for long and she'd always figure out another plan. A resourceful, efficient character who doesn't really depend on anyone for anything? At all? I can't quite think of another character like her. Except maybe Adelice...
But we're talking Renegade characters today. And Evie was a really, really great one, I promise.
Gavin was Gavin was Gavin.I have a lot of...mixed feelings about him. Don't get me wrong, I loved him. Honestly, it's rare when I don't love a love interest. I guess I was expecting Gavin to be...well either a) sweeter and more innocent than he seemed or b) uber dangerous but unresistable. But Gavin was a balance between both, really. But there was...something missing. And I still loved him. He was just...Gavin.
Mother was like, the perfect villain. She was perfectly evil, but there was something underneath that hinted at a plausible explanation for her madness. What did she mean when she said "Everyone leaves me"? Oh, the burning questions. But Mother was utterly, completely, without a doubt, evil. And it was just fascinating how Souders could pull off a character who seems both sincere and insincere at times. I'm not kidding.
Plot-wise, Renegade had it completely covered. It was fast paced and I don't think there were actually any filler chapters at all. Every single word, sentence, page, it advanced the plot whether romantically or goal-wise. It was definitely one of those books where each chapter pretty much has a cliffhanger and you can barely stop reading! For pretty much all the book (excluding the first...5 chapters?) Evie and Gavin are on an escape mission--something that surprised me for some reason. I'm actually not quite sure what I was expecting for the plot!
I've already gone over the worldbuilding, but I jsut wanted to say that the Sci-fi parts were ingenious. There were explanations for everything and there were absolutely no holes in the world building. How did this function? There was an answer. Why does a citizen do that? There was an answer. Why would someone risk there life for someone they always considered an enemy? There was...a sort of answer. Which leads us to...
Romance. The romance was the one thing I was really feeling annoyed by. It was pretty insta-love, but I guess that being on the run and a guy seeing the closest thing to perfection will do that. But even though I knew it was excusable, it didn't mean that it didn't annoy me. Y'all really know how much I despise insta-love, or anything close to it. On the other hand, I did like Evie a lot, so honestly, I just wanted her to actually be happy. Even if only the author can control that!
A creepily stunning debut novel, J.A. Souders has pulled off a unique blend of and underwater utopia with science, all the while capturing the reader's attention in a heartbeat. With a villain who seems real, a world so different it'll stun you, and one of the most resourceful characters I've seen in a while, Renegade will definitely be finding it's home on a lot of "favorites" shelves in whatever country it's sold! It was just that good!