Renegades by Marissa Meyer
Last month during her book launch tour, I had the honor of meeting Marissa Meyer and hearing how this crazy brainchild of an idea was turned into a duology. Renegades sounded interesting. In your typical dystopian backdrop, prodigies have powers—either ones they developed or were born with. And as a result, two factions have come to dominate society: the Renegades and the Anarchists. The Renegades are seen as society’s superheroes while the Anarchist are the villains.
Full disclosure, this is the first Marissa Meyer book I have read in its entirety. I own Heartless and Cinder but have only read a few chapters of each. I picked up this book and went to the book tour because I love meeting new authors, I had no idea what to expect. I was unfamiliar with Meyer’s writing style. But, her name always popped up in authors that I would likely enjoy based on my love of YA fiction.
Meyer’s writing style is a little too juvenile for me. It doesn’t feel complex. Because of this, I got frustrated with the book. The characters seemed flat, the pace was not consistent, the storyline is predictable, and I didn’t feel any connection to the people or places mentioned in this book.
Adrian and Nova come form different worlds, but they have faced similar tragedies. Adrian is hopeful and believes that Renegades are the perfect solution to the world’s problems. Nova believes the world would be a better place without Renegades and wants to dismantle the society the Renegades have created.
The story goes back and forth focusing on Adrian and Nova, while being told from a third-person perspective. We get to see both worlds and that each one has its own flaws. Every Renegade is not the perfect embodiment of a superhero. Some are ruthless and believe that they can bend the rules. Anarchists are not all evil; some have kind hearts and believe in a good cause. The struggle between what is good and what is evil is typical in a dystopian story, and it is apparent all throughout this novel.
The predictability in this novel will have you roll your eyes several times. The relationship between Nova and Adrian is supposed to be cute and a slow development as each figures out their own feelings, but it takes too long. Even by the end of the novel, there is no definitive answer on how they feel about each other.
The names of the superheroes/villains also feel a little unoriginal. Most stem from their actual power. Sketch draws things; Phobia personifies your greatest fears; Detonator creates and detonates explosives; Tsunami manipulates water.
The one saving grace in this novel is the take on humanity. Nova herself points out that humanity has become too reliant on the heroes. There isn’t even a local police force. People without powers rely on the Renegades to serve and protect them for every situation. This reliance eats away at humanity and their ability to self-govern or even sustain themselves. It is akin to celebrity idols and the way some people worship the ground they walk on, solely for who they are.
In true YA fashion, the real action doesn’t occur until the last 40 or so pages. This is a great set-up for the next book but makes the first 515 pages of this novel a struggle to get through. Sure, there are a few great scenes with action, but nothing stellar before the end.
I wouldn’t call this a “bad book” but I also wouldn’t list it as a favorite of the year, either. If you’re into superheroes and want to see them in a different light, this book may be worth your time. But with 2017 being the year of superheroes, you can get your fix elsewhere.