I received this book for free from the Publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Renegade by J. A. Souders
Series: The Elysium Chronicles #1
Published by Macmillan, Tor Teen on 2012-11-13
Genres: Dystopian, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Source: the Publisher via NetGalley
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Since the age of three, sixteen-year-old Evelyn Winters has been trained to be Daughter of the People in the underwater utopia known as Elysium. Selected from hundreds of children for her ideal genes, all her life she’s thought that everything was perfect; her world. Her people. The Law.
But when Gavin Hunter, a Surface Dweller, accidentally stumbles into their secluded little world, she’s forced to come to a startling realization: everything she knows is a lie.
Her memories have been altered.
Her mind and body aren’t under her own control.
And the person she knows as Mother is a monster.
Together with Gavin she plans her escape, only to learn that her own mind is a ticking time bomb... and Mother has one last secret that will destroy them all.
I loved this book. It was so refreshing to read a book that just drew me right in a wouldn’t let me go. Every new page had more action, more twists, more destruction, and more gore. I don’t even think I can begin to explain the plot without providing spoilers. I’m happy to have learned every new piece of the puzzle along the way just as I did. Any other way would have made the book much less exciting. So I’ll give a brief description, without spoilers, and follow it up with some of my favorite parts of the book.
My Summary: Evelyn Winters is sixteen and lives in Elysium, an underwater utopia created by Mother to escape the horrible, self-destructive Surface Dwellers on land. She is known as the Daughter of the People, a sort of pretty face of the society who keeps in closer contact with the people than Mother and was adopted by Mother and chosen for her genes to reproduce and help provide Elysium with a genetically perfect next generation.
One day, however, a Surface Dweller stumbles into Elysium and things begin to fall apart. The Surface Dweller seems different to Evelyn than they have always been described to her. He’s not crazy or violent. He’s scared and helpless and injured. So Evelyn helps him. When he is captured, she visits him in the prison under the guise of extracting information about how he got into Elysium for Mother, but in turn discovers truths about herself she hadn’t known before and forms a bond with Gavin. She sets in action a plan that she hopes will save both of them from their very unfortunate futures.
My Likes: It’s hard to say likes when really I loved this book. By the end of the first chapter, my jaw was on the floor. I was shocked! The book takes no time in building up the story, it just dumps you right into the middle of it. And I loved that! We learn what we need along the way, most of it just as Evelyn does. As the summary says, her memories and mind have been messed with, so what she thinks and does isn’t always under her control. And we get to figure it out alongside her. I don’t think it could have been done better. The action, the mind games, the Mother character, the romance, the dystopian aspects of the story, the lead-up to the end, I loved it all.
I don’t want to give anything away, especially about that first chapter, but it all just blew my mind! I’m so grateful when authors trust the readers to be able to follow along and keep up with a story without having to spell it all out. Sometimes I want to be surprised and shocked and allowed to stumble through the story thinking about different outcomes and sometimes being wrong, just like the main character. I don’t want to be told what’s happening in a book, I want to experience it along with the characters and I got that from this book.
My Dislikes: The only thing, and I mean the only thing, that wasn’t my favorite about this book was that a couple of the moments of action felt like they occurred just to have something happen. There were a couple of times when the action scene just came out of nowhere, felt a little dropped in, like there wasn’t a real reason for it other than to just have some more action. But to feel that only a couple of times when the book is literally action from cover to cover, it feels okay to me. Most of the action led from one thing to the next and felt right. I’m willing to overlook the couple that didn’t quite seem to flow as well since the rest of the book was awesome.
My Overall Feelings: Again, I loved this book! I loved the nonstop action. I loved the characters. Evelyn and Gavin were a perfect pair on the run. Evelyn was wonderful as a protagonist that doesn’t understand what’s happening to her and her world. And we, as the readers, get to experience all the revelations she goes through right along with her. This book is the perfect combination of science-fiction/dystopian/psychological thriller. If you’re a fan of those genres, I would definitely give this book a try. Also, be prepared for lots of gore. This book doesn’t shy away from blood and guts. If you get to the end of the first chapter and hate it, don’t read any more. I promise. You won’t like the rest of the book either. But if you jump out of your chair like I did, you’re going to love it. It reminded me a bit of the Mara Dyer series by Michelle Hodkin, with tons of twists and turns, shocking moments, and plenty of mind/memory issues. If you liked those, I’d give this one a try. I gave Renegade by J.A. Souders five stars.