Renegades (Renegades, #1)by Published 07 Nov 2017
|Renegades (Renegades, #1).pdf|
|Publisher||Feiwel & Friends|
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.
"Renegades (Renegades, #1)" Reviews
2 1/2 stars.
I'm reminding myself while I'm writing this that I really didn't like Meyer's Cinder but went on to enjoy the rest of the series. Maybe Meyer is just not great at beginnings. Maybe I'm already feeling burned out on this new "It" genre featuring superhero stories. All I know is that Renegades didn't really pick up until the second half and, looking back, I don't get the sense that this first book really had a story arc. There was no climax or revelation. It felt like one very long introduction.
For much of the book, this feels like a very standard superhero tale that doesn't do anything new. After an age of anarchy descended and gangs ruled the streets, the Renegades emerged to restore the balance with their superpowers. Now they rule the city. The orphaned Nova, however, feels they are the reason her parents were murdered and so she teams up with the other side - the Anarchists - in order to overthrow the Renegades.
It was almost unreadable at first, with the cliche dialogue making it seem as if the characters were reading off the script for the latest superhero movie:
"Nightmare," said Smokescreen, with a subtle incline of his head. "It's been a while."
"You're about to wish it had been longer."
"Your days of villainy are over, Nightmare."
Both characters and scenes seem stolen straight from Marvel. Frostbite is obviously a play on Storm from X-men, right down to the “silver-white hair”. Gargoyle is a Hulk-like monster. They are not developed far beyond the description of their powers, which makes it difficult to distinguish them from the superheroes we know. Similarly, the parade attack near the beginning will surely remind many readers of the Green Goblin vs Spiderman parade attack.
And how is it possible that no-one worked out that Adrian is the Sentinel? Honestly, how? The Sentinel is a mysterious new superhero who claims he is a Renegade and Adrian suddenly disappears every time he’s around. Plus everyone knows how much both Adrian and the Sentinel want to find Nightmare… how do they not know? He is the worst at having a secret identity. (Note: this is not a spoiler. We are told his identity in the beginning.)
It's a long book for YA and it feels even longer. Though it does pick up eventually, I thought it was too little, too late. I will probably read on with the series, if only because I learned once already that Meyer builds up to the goods. But my expectations have been dramatically lowered.
Diversity points for the Italian-Filipina protagonist, Adrian's two dads, and a character with a disability.
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THAT was freaking awesome!!
Nova is a girl called Nightmare. She's part of the Anarchists group. They are the villains, but not everything is as it seems. The thing is, the Anarchists and the "good guys" the Renegades both have bad people in their groups and good people.
Nova (Nightmare) wants to take the Renegades down. She was raised by her uncle, Ace after her family perished. Ace was the leader of the Anarchists.
Both of these groups have powers. I will let you find out about those yourself.
Let me add a little ***SPOILER*** in an excerpt of what happened to cause Nova to hate the Renegades.
Nova had been inspecting some reliquaries she'd found in one of the smaller chapels when Ace found her and sat her down on a worn wooden bench. He told her that one of the villain gangs--the Roaches--had demanded that her father craft them a collection of weapons using his gift. They had threatened David's wife and daughters if he didn't meet their expectations.
When her papa began to fall behind on their requests, he went to the Renegades and begged for protection. Captain Chromium himself had promised that no harm would come to him or his family, but only so long as he stopped making weapons for their enemies.
And so her dad did stop. And the Roaches, in retaliation, sent a hitman after him and his family.
Only, the Renegades hadn't kept their word. Captain Chromium hadn't kept his word. They were not there to protect David's family when they needed their protection the most.
When Ace finished telling this story, he handed Nova a cup of cold milk and two vanilla wafer cookies taken from plastic packaging that crinkled deafeningly loud. Nova, six years old and so small her feet didn't touch the stone floor as she sat on the bench, ate the cookies and drank the milk without comment. She remembered not crying. She remembered that in that moment, she had not felt sad.
She only felt anger.
Blinding, breathless rage.
As she stood up to leave so she could come to terms with the truth of her family's deaths, Ace had said simply, practically--"The Roaches were forty-seven members strong. Last night, I killed them all."
Hell yes he did. Just reading the part when Nova's family was being killed was horrible.
***END OF SPOILERS!!!***
So one day Nova is on an Anarchists mission to take out one of the Renegade leaders. Things don't go as planned and she meets the Sentinel. He's a new hero. He has an R on his suit but he's not with them. You can meet him in the book 😊
One of the Anarchists pushes Nova to become a Renegade and find out how to take them down. She becomes friends with Adrian, the son of the main dudes. She didn't see that coming. And there are lots of secrets.
Nova finds out a bunch of stuff that could devastate the world if it happens. And then there is Max. He's a secret 😊
The ending blew me away and holy shite balls I'm ready for the next book!!
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Ok I honestly had no idea what to expect from this (except that it was Marissa Meyer yay), so the whole thing was SUCH a fun surprise.
Ughhh this is one of those books where I'm going to fail miserably at explaining what it's about because I need to use my hands to map out the tangled web of identities and goals...
So Nova starts out with the "villain" Anarchists and Adrian is with the superhero Renegades, but Nova eventually goes undercover to try out for the Renegades. She ends up joining Adrian's superhero team and being a double agent... except it's really not that straightforward. Adrian and Nova are both keeping additional alter-egos a secret while maintaining both their superhero identities and regular personas within their team. Adrian and Nova's secret alter-egos are actually enemies (or at least out to get each other), but neither one of them knows that. And they are adorable together.
Actually, all of the characters are adorable! Oscar and Ruby were my favorites for sure. Marissa Meyer is just so good at showing the group dynamics of a bunch of teens so all of their unique personalities come through. Some of the fun banter totally reminded me of what I loved about The Lunar Chronicles. And the diversity was awesome here, too.
Basically, this book is just plain fun. It's a creative world full of so many different superheroes with every kind of power (it kind of reminded me of The Incredibles at times). But then plot got more philosophical at the same time and reflected a lot of relevant questions for our world.
For example, prodigies used to be persecuted, but then the Anarchists took down the system of oppression that only served a small group. Adrian remembers the gangs that rose to power in the absence of government in the Age of Anarchy and thinks the Renegade's current Council is better, but Nova's definitely there to take them down:
"The Council saw themselves as benevolent leaders attempting to solve all the problems of humanity, without any apparent grasp of how their involvement was only dooming society to helplessness and desperation."
There's an ongoing debate between Nova & Adrian about whether it's in humanity's best interest to have superheroes protect society or whether that's an infringement on personal freedom or responsibility that makes people lazy & complacent. Nova believes that the "system that was meant to protect and serve was nothing more than a failed social experiment" because the Renegades weren't there to stop her family from being murdered when she was six. She thinks the people would be better off on their own than in a society run by "dictators who had put themselves in this position of power without cause, and now had no idea what to do with it."
So I just really appreciated how everything wasn't simplistic. There are groups with different views and goals even on the same side, which made the story more realistic.
I loved this story BUT definitely think it could've been about half the length. It took me a bit to get a feel for the whole world and what was even going on. I had issues with the pacing for sure... it kind of felt like I was waiting for the real story to get going? It could've been a lot more concise and powerful if the next book was part of this one. But I liked the concept and characters enough that my enthusiasm remains!
Thank you to the publisher for sending me a finished copy.
This was SO fun! I went into it not knowing anything about the story itself, and I was so pleasantly surprised. Think of it as a superhero mashup told from opposing side POVs in a totally unique way. I was worried that with the overcrowded superhero media these days, the constant similar retellings and such, that this one wouldn't stand on its own.
It totally did. Super fun and unique, while still throwing nods at other stories.
Before I say anything else, a big thank you to the publishers for sending me an ARC in exchange for an honest review!
Basically, this is a world where prodigies (people with special abilities) used to be oppressed, but a man named Ace Anarchy rose up and fought for their freedom & acceptance. Except, the age of Ace turned into a villainous era, where villain gangs broke out and terrorized the citizens. So in turn, "good" heroes rose up to fight them, called the 'Renegades'. They overthrew the Anarchists and took control.
So you here you have it - the Anarchists (those who survived living underground) and the Renegades.
"One cannot be brave who has no fear."
I don't want to spoil much, but we open up into what DOES look like a typical superhero origin story. We witness Nova's family and how they meet their end, in which young Nova, who idolized the Renegades, realizes they never came to help her family after promising to protect them. But guess who did? Uncle Ace.
Now, Nova lives with the Anarchists underground. Her alias is the 'Nightmare', and she's able to put people to sleep with a single touch. While carrying out a plan to take out the Council (the original leaders of the Renegades), Nova is stopped by a boy who calls himself the 'Sentinel'. After a heated battle between the two, Nova barely escapes, wondering who the heck he is, because she's never seen him or heard of him from the Renegades.
A lone hero? Perhaps.
Enter Adrian (aka smol).
Adrian is the son of an original Renegade - his mother, who was murdered when he was young. Now, he lives with his adopted dads - the two heads of the Council (aka the most worshipped Renegades). They adopted him (and here I cry because it's so sweet) and he grew up within the Renegade headquarters. He's brilliant and has a super cool ability which I won't spoil. But he also has a secret that no one in the Renegades knows about.
He's the Sentinal.
And when he fought the 'Nightmare' (he has no idea who she is underneath her mask), she utters a phrase that tells him she might know who his mother's murderer is. So Adrian sets out to find her, while Nova sets plots in place to take out the Renegades for good. I'm going to stop there and leave the rest of the book as a surprise. Trust me, just dive in!
As I mentioned before, this is like a mashup of all your favorite superhero movies, but at the same time, the story is totally unique and so are the characters. I didn't feel like I was reading another origin story or watching a movie I've seen a thousand times. This was SO fun, twisty, and fast paced. And visual. Meyer is so insanely creative - we saw that in her Lunar Chronicles series that I loved - and I would argue that this might even be stronger (though no one can replace Thorne.) All the prodigies have crazy cool powers - ones that I would have NEVER thought of. The whole plot is brilliant.
My only complaint is that we don't get resolution for the one thing I craved, though it will certainly be in the sequel(s). I neeeeeded to see how that played out. Oh well, whatever. I'm hooked, Marissa. You got me.
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