Happy book birthday to Renegades!
The author, Marissa Meyer, is hosting a bunch of giveaways to celebrate. You can check it out here!
I was lucky to receive an ebook ARC of Renegades from Netgalley, so I already finished it.
Before the review, here’s my short summary of Renegades:
Renagades is a bit like X-Men, if the X-Men replaced the government and the bad guys (Magneto’s guys) had to live underground after losing THE great battle.
But it also has espionage, secret identities and forbidden romance (but it’s not all focused on the romance, don’t worry).
Also, the main protagonist is a supervillain called The Nightmare, with the power of putting anyone to sleep by touching them. And the other protagonist is a superhero with not just one, but two secret identities.
Aaand that’s basically it.
The best part about this book is that I had fun reading it. Independently of how good or bad it was, I just liked the way it was written since it was mostly fast-paced and full of “things to look at”. The world building felt natural enough that it wasn’t overwhelming, but at the same time it kept showing new bits and concepts through the book, so it kept being entertaining even during slower chapters. I liked reading about the different and funky superpowers and theorizing about what kind of talent some characters could have.
It was also fun having two perspectives of this world. One from Adrian, a hero trying to catch a dangerous villain. And the other from Nova, a villain that infiltrates into Adrian’s team to steal information. There was a lot of secret identities and broken alliances too. See? All of the fun stuff!
But not your typical uplifting Marvel-esque superhero story.
I haven’t actually read a lot of comic books, but I’ve watched all the Marvel movies so at least I know how superheros work. And to be honest I’ve been getting tired of the same old formula from those movies. This story has a more realistic approach to superheroes though. It shows that not everyone is happy about having heroes on the street because they’re too intimidating, and that a hero’s job can get get incredibly bureaucratic! Also, and most importantly, that in a world full of different superpowers, there would be a big chance of people using their powers for their own selfish reasons (which is a main theme in the book).
It reminds me a lot of X-Men now that I think about it, since there’s a constant battle between the Renegades (X-men), the Anarchists (Magneto’s allies) and the general public (people without superpowers). Except in this case the government and police were replaced by the X-Men and they’re currently ruling the country. Or at least they’re trying.
I especially enjoyed the first few chapters of the book since they were the most intense and felt like a combination of Sci-Fi / Thriller. They tell Nova’s origin story and in just a few chapters build a strong character with realistic motivations.
I felt this book was too long (576 pages according to Goodreads).
When I was about 35% into this book, I thought it had potential to be my favorite book of the year. But then it kind of slowed down. And it’s not that it got boring since, like I said, it’s overall a fun read. But I felt like the first few chapters had a lot of substance and a lot of character development… and then it felt a little flat. The characters stopped showing their human side and the plot got more predictable. It also stopped having the fast-paced action scenes from the beginning in exchange for longer and clichéd fights.
I think if the book had fewer pages, it could condense the second half were most of the “bland” stuff happens and it would feel more rich. Instead, it felt like the author was spreading a bit of butter in too much bread. (Credit to Bilbo Baggins for the analogy).
Side characters felt a bit cardboard.
This was the saddest part! I was so in love with the first few chapters that I expected more characters to have a backstory and a strong personality. But apart from the two protagonists and their mentors, it felt like the rest of the world was just there to fill the empty space. There were a lot of sidekicks that could have been blended together to create more complete characters, instead of having so many people whose only trait was their superpower.
Even Adrian, the co-protagonist, didn’t have a lot of original thoughts after the first half of the book. He just kinda transformed into Captain America: lawful good, chivalrous, pretty, etc.
It ends with a cliffhanger!
I hope you don’t consider this a spoiler, but I had to warn you! IT ENDS WITH AN ANNOYING CLIFFHANGER AND THERE’S NO RESOLUTION FOR “THE THING”. You will know what “the thing” is. By the way, the last chapter of the book is also very similar to X-Men.m
- You like stories that are focused on the villain’s side.
- You’re an X-Men fan and want to read a book with a similar vibe.
- You like espionage, secret identities and code names.
- You like “forbidden love” stories.
- You find weird superpowers interesting.
- You enjoy 500 pages long books (even if they don’t have a lot of action).