Renegade by J. A. SoudersRenegade by J. A. Souders

Renegade

byJ. A. Souders

Hardcover | November 13, 2012

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J.A. Souders's haunting debut-Renegade 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 will destroy them all.

J.A. SOUDERS is the author of the Elysium Chronicles (including Renegade and Revelations) and lives in the land of sunshine and palm trees with her husband and two children where she spends her time writing about the monsters under the bed, day dreaming about living in an underwater colony, and failing miserably at playing video games.
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Title:RenegadeFormat:HardcoverDimensions:368 pages, 8.62 × 5.79 × 1.24 inPublished:November 13, 2012Publisher:Tom Doherty AssociatesLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0765332450

ISBN - 13:9780765332455

Reviews

Rated 3 out of 5 by from A Paradise under the sea...with some serious secrets! Renegade manages to blend old world aristocratic charm with the spectacular technological wonders that are the bones and heart of Elysium; a bubble in the deep blue sea, like the fabled lost city of Atlantis. Separated from the violent and unruly surface, the people of Elysium live a charmed and orderly life with designations for their jobs, who they have kids with and where they live. In the gardens of this paradise we meet Evelyn - the chosen Daughter of the People, where she explains that her life is "Just about perfect." But pobody's nerfect... The cover speaks a lot about the story itself and it's not until you read it that you realize the significance of the hair and the roses, or the drops of blood and the mix of technology and scenery blended into the cover. But to me it feels like the head to body proportion is off a bit. Almost as if the neck is too short and the hair makes everything look too heavy. It just throws me off a bit. We first meet Evelyn in her prized rose garden elaborating about Elysium and how everything works. It was hard to get into her narrative voice at first because it felt so stiff and rehearsed, but it wasn't until her days literally - and even the words that were coming out of her mouth started repeating themselves that I was intrigued. Being trained to lead the people of Elysium after Mother, Evelyn has to be absolutely perfect - right down to the genetics that give her the blond hair and blue eyes (sounding eerily familiar yet?) that Mother prizes. But when she steps out of line Mother has her dealt with....crafting a carefully scripted daughter every time. Under the superficial title as Daughter of the People, Evelyn is naturally curious and does what's right...even when it goes against everything she's been taught. Gavin, the gruff survivalist surface dweller that stumbles into their little slice of heaven is in for a rude awakening as he's hunted down ruthlessly. But upon meeting Evelyn he sees a glimmer of hope for getting out of this incredibly tough situation. I don't really have strong feelings about Gavin. He's the usual head strong, run in without forethought kind of guy that wants the girl and to live happily ever after. He has really sweet moments though, especially at the end. Their relationship is an unconventional one. At first Evelyn wants to save him out of pure curiosity - she's never met a surface dweller before and this might be her only chance. What starts out as a thirst for knowledge slowly starts to grow into something more as she gets to know Gavin and soon Evelyn's own loyalties are tested as Mother gets suspicious of her interest in the surface dweller. Their relationship takes on hilarious twist, but after Evelyn starts seeing the cracks in the illusion of her perfect world she throws all her chips in with Gavin in hopes of escaping Mother's clutches. However, every step closer to the surface reveals a secret about Mother and Evelyn's own past... I loved watching Evelyn break past the brain washing, her voice and tone noticeably changes from formal to more emotional and passionate so that when brain washing moments do happen there's a distinct demarcation in her attitude. For most of the book the story felt almost like a role playing video game. There is a droning monotony especially when the characters ran from one end of the dome to the other, back and forth completing little quests along the way while avoiding the authorities in order to get to their grand escape plan. It was a bit predictable unfortunately. But where the story really picks up and completely gripped me is the the last 1/4 of the book. It takes on a really dark tone as all of the skeleton's in Mother's closet are revealed and Evelyn's character does a complete 180 and becomes a lethal ticking time bomb while there's hordes of crazy zombie-esque creatures between them and freedom. Here Souders builds an air of desperation, intense action and where I could finally jump on the Evelyn and Gavin train to cheer for their success! It's a really interesting concept when it's all revealed. But it's the stuttering, repetition and awkwardness of the first half of the story that was a bit hard to get through. The whole situation at the end though was spectacular and I'm really curious as to where Souders might take the rest of the series.
Date published: 2013-02-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Review from Esther's Ever After Renegade is one of those books that appealed to me from the very first minute I heard about it - the cover has a fairy tale/fantasy feel to it, and the synopsis has this sci-fi/dystopia vibe. BRILLIANT. Plus, the whole altered memory aspect really interested me because I find that incredibly fascinating from a psychological/political point of view. Renegade delivered on all of those points and more - including a few scenes that were so creepy that this book is clearly a psychological thriller as well, and even a little bit of horror. Plus, I wonder if Renegade was inspired a LITTLE bit by the story of The Little Mermaid, which is my FAVOURITE, so bonus points for that. REASONS TO READ: 1. Fantasy, fairy-tale inspiration: A girl who lives under the sea who dreams of the surface? Evie isn't a mermaid, but that's part of the core idea behind The Little Mermaid. But by no means is Renegade a retelling; it clearly isn't, but it seems to really take this (great) concept and then expand on it in its own creative way - which is exactly what I love my books to do! But there is very much a fantasy element, with Evie essentially playing the role of a princess in her little underwater utopia. 2. A sci-fi psychological thriller: Memory alteration/loss is one of the things that scares me most in life. I just can't stand the thought of not remembering what has happened to me. And the way Renegade is written, you can totally feel just how downright creepy it is. Especially when Evie keeps spouting off, "My life is just about perfect." I GET SHIVERS FROM THAT LINE NOW. It's so messed up, but very much a sci-fi/dystopian thing to do. 3. A brave heroine: Considering the fact that Evie can't really remember much that has happened to her, and she's essentially locked away in her palace, the girl has got major guts. She's inherently curious, and always willing to fight back in any way that she can. And as the story progresses, she just gets tougher and tougher. She comes off a little weak and ditzy at first, but she's totally not. Complete opposite, and it just takes a little while for the real Evie to break through completely. 4. A poignant ending: I know that Renegade is the first part of a series but... it would work really well as a stand-alone. You can easily read Renegade all on its own, and you'll be left with some questions but the story truly does wrap up. And shatter your heart into a million little fragments. And leave you begging for a sequel. NOW. There was one big reveal that could have been hidden a little bit better, but it was still a very effective plot. I wish I had been kept in the dark for a little bit longer though, although I noticed when I finished the book that I had a lot of questions about Elysium I hope to have answered in future books. As well, I was a bit iffy on the romance at first. It felt like they really jumped into things right away, but I could sort of understand why being in such a dangerous and intimate situation. It's hard for me to pinpoint exactly what it was, but I just felt like something was missing. But by the end I was totally sold. #TeamEvie&Gavin Review copy received from Tor for my honest review; no other compensation was received.
Date published: 2013-01-14
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Whirlwind of a book! Wow this book was very good, it had action romance and a different society that I never expected to happen in a YA Book. Renegade was one of the first reads that will grab your attention in the first 2 chapters to find out what is happening in the city that Evie lives in. The "surface dwellers" are the people who live in the surface (us) while they live underground in a different society based on perfection and characters that will kill you if a surface dweller was found there. J.A. Souders had great writing and I was quickly drawn to the book which I finished just one day. The cover is gorgeous and this book was so captivating because of this underwater world. I really liked how J.A. Souders created this world and created the good and evil. In Elysium, it is run by a matriarch named "Mother" is is a very interesting character from the very beginning. She is a very powerful and she is everything you don't expect in your average day mom, but she is described as a monster whose character is so crazy. I did like Evelyn as the main character, and I loved how we got to know her through the book. She goes through a lot, and she doesn't really know herself. Her "Mother" who is shaping her to be the next in line. Evie is strong and determined to find out who she is, and will keep fighting to find answers. Gavin is the Surface Dweller who disturbs Evie's world but at the same time opens up her view of what lies beyond Elysium. I loved his chemistry with Evie. He get Evie to trust him and also with her help bring him home. From the very beginning you can feel the tension and feeling between them. They both fall in love and he would also never let her stay in this crazy society! I did like the romance between them, the connection made it intense and at the same time. I loved reading about this world, and the issues of this world. It had so many scenes which were amazing. It had all the elements that I like in a YA book. It is one of my favorite genres to read which did draw me into reading this book. I am looking forward to the next book in the series because it was a good ending because it gets you excited to read it! Overall one great read, which was also intense at times. There was also some major mind blowing information that will hopefully be answered in book. Renegade. The beginning was slow but it really picks up after 1/3 of the book. If you like dystopian books I recommend you check it out!!
Date published: 2012-12-13
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Beautifully written! Alright, the cover of Renegade is absolutely gorgeous!! I saw it and read the synopsis and knew it was a book that I couldn't miss out on. First of all, Elysium is a city underwater, isn't that awesome? I don't think I've actually read a book where the setting was underwater that wasn't about mermaids. I was actually very interested in learning more about Elysium, it was just a neat concept. It definitely wasn't disappointing. Souders does a really great job creating a setting and explaining how everything works without going into too much detail. She's a great story teller and I'm very much looking forward to reading more from her. As far as debut novels go, this one is one you might want to check out. So what makes it so awesome? Well for one there is Evelyn, she is the protagonist and she is basically a spoiled girl. She is loved by everyone, even if they think she's a bit daft. She busies herself in her garden, cross-stitching and playing her violin each day. She is destined to be the future leader of Elysium. Or so she thinks. Her entire world is thrown upside down when Gavin, the Surface Dweller, shows up. Surface Dwellers are savages and not to be trusted, but for some reason, Evelyn feels connection to Gavin and tries to protect him. She grows quite a bit as a character, throughout the book, she really changes a lot. She can't always remember everything, and her memory seems to get better, yet worse as time goes along. She fights her instincts as hard as she can though, which is pretty hard for her, since she's basically been brainwashed. She's quite a strong character and I really liked her. As for Gavin, he's awesome! He doesn't give up on Evelyn and is even willing to die for her. He saves her life more than once (and she his). And he's pretty drool-worthy. He also brings some humour into the story and throws off Evelyn's whole perspective of Surface Dwellers. I loved him! Overall, Souders has created a wonderful world. Her world building and character building both come together wonderfully and don't take anything away from the story The story itself goes along at a good pace and I never found myself bored while reading. If you're into the dystopia or sci fi genres, you'll want to check this one out!
Date published: 2012-11-13

Editorial Reviews

"Grim, vicious, riveting. Renegade is a haunting, unforgettable debut." -Ann Aguirre, national bestselling author of Enclave"Deliciously creepy and filled with psychological twists, Renegade kept me on the edge of my seat until the very last page." -Kristen Simmons, author of Article 5"Renegade is a dark tale of deceit, with twists that will keep you turning the pages, and an ending that will have you on the edge of your seat." -Lisa Desrochers, author of Personal Demons