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Tuesday, October 23, 2012
Hi there, darlings! Welcome to my stop on the official Renegade blog tour! I'm really excited about it, and I hope that you are too!

First off, let me present my review.

Renegade (The Elysium Chronicles, #1)
J. A. Souders
Publisher: Tor Teen
Release Date: November 13, 2012
Source: Publisher
Goodreads | Purchase
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.

So, I truly did like Renegade. I mean, I really, really did. It's an awesome futuristic sci-fi with high stakes and some seriously intense action. There were barely any calmer moments, and even those were wracked with tension. Even so, despite my love for certain aspects of this novel, I cannot overlook its flaws as much as I might like to. It was gorgeous and lovely and definitely intriguing, but it had many things about it that unfortunately detracted and distracted from its overall awesomeness.

First off, Evie was really, annoyingly brainwashed in the beginning. Obviously, I realize that this wasn't her fault, but it doesn't change the fact that it is annoying. Evie isn't painted as a very likable character for at least 100 pages, and that feeling stuck with me, making me struggle to identify with her. I wanted to like her, but it was difficult to say the least. Evie was also extremely frustrating, and much too stubborn. She definitely got on my nerves more than once. She was also somewhat bipolar. This wash't her fault to a degree as we eventually learn. But again, still. It was endlessly irritating and needless to say Evie has unfortunately made my list of least favorite heroines.

Gavin. Hmmm, okay. I like Gavin to a degree, but he is a really shallow character. I mean, really shallow. He doesn't have much substance to him. The author attempts to give him a back story to fix this but I just couldn't buy it. I do like how Gavin almost always treats Evie well, but he doesn't put up with her when she's being ridiculous, at least some of the time. Overall, though, he kind of lacked a backbone, which negated most of his attractiveness. Even so, he clearly has a good heart, so, well.

Mother was honestly probably the most interesting character in this book. She's cruel and obsessive, and drunk with power. She treats Evie terribly and has no problem with doing morally questionably things to her to make her the perfect person but her standards. But at the same time, we get a glimpse into the person she once was and possibly even the person she could have been. But something warped her into this, this person who seemingly cares for no one.

Ah. yes, the plot. The intense, high-stakes, all-or-nothing plot. This is the type of plot that engrosses you so throughly you can't imagine doing anything else until you finish. You need to know what's next as if your heart will stop beating if you don't. It's a lesson in justification and a lesson in discipline, because skipping ahead is tempting. You somehow know they'll survive, but survival can mean many things.

The world of Elysium is complicated. Nothing is as it seems, not really. The people Evie has known her entire life have something wrong with them, measures taken by Mother to ensure what she considers to be peace. But it's wrong. It's all wrong.

Renegade, though, isn't about fixing the messed-up world that Evie live in. No, it's about escape. The entire book consists mostly of Gavin and Evie on the run. Evie isn't always sure she'll go with him, but when she sees and understands just how terrible Mother is she knows that she, too, must run. Elysium is no longer safe for her, at least not if she wants to stay true to herself.

Evie and Gavin run and face many dangers, many of which I found fascinating and horrifying at once. The sci-fi woven into this novel is incredible, and it's clear that J. A. has a fabulous imagination. The horrors that shape themselves in her novel are desperate and dark but they are also frighteningly real.

I also loved the fact that there was so much action with so much riding on it. Evie's future, and her life, depends on her escape. Mother will do anything to stop her.

Then it turns out that she might not need to. In the end, Evie might destroy both Gavin and herself. Because everyone is keeping secrets and has something to hide. It's simply a matter of finding out what these things are.

The romance here actually veered toward instalove. And I'm not talking a slight detour. Evie and Gavin had some chemistry, sure. But it did not justify how quickly everything happened between them. Like all of the sudden, they were just in love. Um, what? Okay, I know they say being in near-death situations makes you more likely to fall in love with someone, but I've never bought that. (They're really good at surviving! Obviously I'm in love with them! Um, no) So anyway, there was that unfortunate disaster. However, with more development I think I could grow to like this romance. It's cute, but it has an layer or seriousness too.

The writing was to saving grace of this novel. J. A. Souders has a gorgeous hand. Although I didn't necessarily like Evie's voice, I can appreciate the work that went into making it unique and the incredible attention to detail. Her world-building is excellent, the detail so complete I could literally imagine Evie's Elysium surrounding me, becoming not just her prison but mine, too. I also loved the dialogue between Evie and Gavin, and actually the dialogue between Evie and Mother was super interesting too.

The ending really threw me and actually, ticked me off. I'm not going to mince words here. I actually thought it was stupid. It made me so, so angry and I actually threw the book across the room. Then I snatched it back up to make sure that that lame ending was actually the last page. I couldn't believe it. I know the for some people it would be the perfect plot twist, but it just did not work at all for me. However, it did succeed in one respect. I wanted to know more about Elysium, because NONE OF MY QUESTIONS WERE ANSWERED.

Overall, yeah, I like Renegade. Clearly, I thought it had problems. And yes, these problems did lessen my enjoyment of the book. I'm not going to lie. Even so, I will definitely be continuing the Elysium Chronicles series. There was enough oomph to keep me interested and I definitely want to know what happens next. I'd recommend this mostly to sci-fi lovers, and people who can overlook faulty heroines. I actually think this would be a fantastic read for fans of Kiersten White.


J.A. Souders lives in Florida with her husband and their two children and is an active member of RWA, DFRW, YARWA, SCBWI, and SFWA. RENEGADE is her first novel.

Are you intrigued? Do you want to purchase the book? Look no further, then!

And one more thing before you go: there is a giveaway! You can win Renegade, plus some swag! Unfortunately it is for US only, but hopefully if you'll international you'll still consider buying your own copy.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

As always, the best of luck to my favorite roses! Thanks for reading! xx




  1. I was so curious about this one. I love the idea of an underwater utopia and I think that the cover of this one is gorgeous! I love a book that keeps you wanting to read with adventure. Great review!

    Kristin @ Young Adult Book Haven

  2. Shame it wasn't all that great. I was really looking forward to this one, but my expectations got lower. I'm not a fan of faulty MC's or insta-love, but I'm still curious.

  3. It can be tough to really enjoy a novel when the primary characters aren't all that appealing. That's a little disappointing. Good to know before I read it though, so I can lower my expectations accordingly.

  4. Oh, that's a shame. I don't want to bother with this book because if I don't like the characters, I will never finish the series. Glad to know ahead of time though. Going to skip this, especially with the insta-love. Can't stand it :(


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