Book Review: Renegade by J.A. Souders

The Winter Prince by Elizabeth E. Wein

  • Method of Obtaining: Purchased.
  • Published by:  Tor Teen
  • Release Date:  11.13.2012

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.

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My Review:

I have a confession to make.  I did not even know this book existed until I received its sequel from Tor Teen.  I looked at the cover of this pretty hardback that I was set and wondered just what I was in for.  When I saw it was the second book of the series, I looked up the first book, as any normal person would do, to see if I could get a quick overview of what had happened.  I wasn’t sure, you see, if I wanted to drop the cash on picking up the first one.  But what I read in the summary, and what I could see of the writing in the sequel had me convinced.  I needed to read the story of Evelyn and I needed to do it right, so I picked up an e-copy of Renegade by J.A. Souders and dove in.

First, before I talk about the story, can I just say that a small part of me is so sad that I didn’t spring for the hard copy.  In the interest of wanting to read the book right away and not having to wait oodles of time for it (that’s what happens when you live on an island in the middle of the Pacific, by the way), I decided to go with the e-copy.  In doing so, I missed out on this gorgeous cover.  The follow-up doesn’t disappoint, don’t get me wrong.  But there’s something to say for having a matching set displayed on my bookshelf, you know?

Anyway, enough about the cover.  Let’s talk about the story, and I want to talk about the one thing I didn’t like first to get it out of the way.  What I didn’t like was the tense used.  I’m never a fan of first person present tense. It’s awkward and clunky and it just doesn’t work for me.  However, the story moved at a quick enough pace and held enough interest for me to get over that dislike after about 50 pages or so in.  Also, I understand why Souders did things the way she did.  We’re basically inside of Evelyn’s mind throughout the story and it’s made scarier and more intense by the style of writing utilized.

Now, let’s talk about the plot.  I adored the idea of a world under the water.  It brought to mind Atlantis and the myths of mermaids and everything I loved as a child.  But those are not present in the story – instead, what is present is a sort of Utopia that features female assassins, a scary “Mother,” and a whole lot of brain-washing.  Sound interesting?  It should – it certainly hooked me.  While Renegade has a bit of that “instant-love” that I’m really not a fan of, I appreciate that there is a reason behind it and that, ultimately, Evelyn is struggling against something that is outside of her own power.

I don’t know why Renegade flew under my radar.  I had never heard of it before its sequel showed up on my doorstep, but I’m very glad that it did.  This is a fantastic, dystopia story that really is quite different from anything I’ve read thus far.  It’s filled with action and heartbreak and I think it’s quite the worthy addition to the genre.

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