by J.A. Souders
Series: The Elysium Chronicles #1
Publication date: 13 November 2012
Tor Teen, Hardcover, 364 pages
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.
Be forewarned, this book is for the brave-hearted. Don’t be fooled by the innocently gorgeous cover because this book is one of those that plays with your mind. To say I was blown away would be the understatement of the year. Renegade was part mind games, part action and 100% awesome sauce. I was utterly compelled by Elysium, the underwater city in which the story was located. It had a crazy governing style where ‘Mother’ was the Governess of the city and whatever she says go. This really added to the creep factor because it would be pretty scary if your life can be taken away with just a snap of fingers from Mother. Moreover, everyone in Elysium simply called Mother… Mother. It seemed really troubling and truth be told, I got chills down my back from the very first page.
Next, the protagonist, Evelyn (Evie) Winters, is really… peculiar at the beginning. You’ll doubt her sanity just like how she does but her slight craziness is very effective in piquing your curiosity to find out how she ended up that way. I feel that the cover of the book in fact reflects on Evie because she too, represents the fact that looks can be deceiving. In what way? You’ll just have to read the book and find out!
As for Gavin. I’m virtually swooning right now. He’s like all things guys should have packed into one sweet package. I don’t understand how Evie can even keep her hands off him. Now that I’ve gotten past my superficial bimbotic babbling, onto the the deeper side of Gavin. Well, I just have to say he probably felt pretty darn stunned when he arrived in Elysium. His life on the Surface might not have been perfect but seeing how Elysium is must’ve been terrifying. However, I loved that he handled the situation as best as he could and the fact that he didn’t trust Evie at first. An insta-connection would have, without a doubt, been too cliché.
Although Evie and Gavin’s relationship escalated a little too quickly (they’ve only known each other for a week?), I could overlook that because the rest of the book was just too creeptastically good! I’m not a sadist, but the violence and gore really portrayed how twisted a society Elysium was and the things one would do in the name of power. No matter how horrific the fictional world of Renegade was, I was really reluctant to leave it at the end of the book. I literally gobbled up this amazing story and it is definitely going on my ‘favourites’ shelf.
In conclusion, Renegade has taken me on one helluva emotional roller coaster ride. I’ve laughed, wept and gasped in horror so much while reading it, I’m pretty sure my friends think I’ve gone nuttier than I already am. I strongly recommend this book to anyone up for adventure, romance and a dystopian society. Reminder: prepare some tissues at the end!