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Tuesday, July 2, 2013

MICHELLE'S REVIEW: Renegade by J.A. Souders

Title: Renegade
Author: J. A. Souders
Format Acquired: Hardcover
Publication Date: November 13, 2012
Publishing House: Tor Teen
ISBN: 9780765332455
Source of Copy: Purchased from Fully Booked


Since the age of three, sixteen-year-old Evelyn Winters has 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 believed that everything is perfect. Her world. Her people. The Law.

But when Gavin Hunter, a Surface Dweller, accidentally stumbles into Elysium's secluded little world, Evelyn comes 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 could destroy them all.

(Image and information courtesy of Goodreads; Summary lifted from actual book)


Evelyn Winters is the cherished Daughter of the People, but what she doesn't realize is that she is Mother's personal puppet. She is constantly brainwashed to do Mother's bidding, even when she knows that something doesn't seem right. When Gavin, a much abhorred Surface Dweller, comes literally crashing into Evie's "perfect" life, she is determined to return him back to the Surface and save him from the clutches of Mother, even when Evie herself may pose as a threat to Gavin after all.

Renegade had me when the blurb mentioned something about an underwater utopia. I've read books with settings in the desert, mountains, and even prison, but not once have I read about a story taking place in an area as mercurial as the sea. I actually have a fear of very deep waters (because I keep imagining sharks, despite being fascinated with them) but I was really curious as to how a society can withstand the almost alien-like environment of the sea.

Evie was an okay protagonist, and she was fitting for the story in itself. Although she was a puppet, she seemed to snap out of it real quick, despite needing the help of an outsider. Gavin was an alright guy as well, even when Evie and he fall for each other in a controlled environment. The romance wasn't that hard to digest, most probably because it didn't involve unnecessary mooning and swooning that just turns me off sometimes.

Souders covers almost every base with regards to how an underwater society can thrive and sustain itself, but I still do have some clarifications and issues with some parts. Elysium hasn't been established that long, and yet it already has citizens who seem to be all too familiar with the way of living. Based on my assumption of Mother's age, I give it a rough estimate of around 30-40 years, and already, there's all this new technology and developments. Another thing is that Elysium is also an underwater city. Sure, protected by some sort of bubble, but still thriving on the ocean floor. How can an underwater city grow materials for clothing or medicine?

Basically, Souders' Renegade isn't all that different from any dystopian book out there, and the only thing that sets it apart from all the others is the strange and unique setting - which somehow works. Pick this one up if, like me, you're craving for a different story environment. That is, if you're okay with books that involve protagonists running around give or take 80% of the time, trying to save their hides.




  1. I love sea vs land stories and for this to be a dystopian at that, I AM SOLD! Why is this not in my wishlist before? *kicks self* Thanks for the review!

    1. Hope it works better for you than it did for me!