Morning mortals! Have you got your cape on? Have you unbuttoned your shirt just enough to reveal the lycra super suit concealed beneath your otherwise ordinary work attire? Are you wearing magical glasses that conceal your identity despite the fact that glasses don’t work like that and maybe you need better friends who actually know what your face looks like? If so you might be ready for today’s review of Marissa Meyer’s latest contribution to YA: Renegades.
Secret Identities. Extraordinary Powers. She wants vengeance. He wants justice.
The Renegades are a syndicate of prodigies—humans with extraordinary abilities—who emerged from the ruins of a crumbled society and established peace and order where chaos reigned. As champions of justice, they remain a symbol of hope and courage to everyone…except the villains they once overthrew.
Nova has a reason to hate the Renegades, and she is on a mission for vengeance. As she gets closer to her target, she meets Adrian, a Renegade boy who believes in justice—and in Nova. But Nova’s allegiance is to a villain who has the power to end them both.
Yes to this story. Yes to these characters. Yes to Marissa Meyer taking a little step away from heteronormativity and putting in a gay couple (there’s still not enough, but it’s a step in a good direction for me). Yes to superhero novels with unusual superpowers. Yes to tragic backstories that lead to a deep burning desire for vengeance. Yes to deconstructing the idea of superheroes as the one form of authority and a stark divide between good and evil. Yes to all of these things.
My one ‘no’ is possibly the length of this book. It’s rather long at 576 pages hardback (thankfully I was reading on my Kindle, I don’t think I could lug that about with me on the bus). But I’m not sure I can see what would have been cut. There’s a lot of worldbuilding and character introduction that has to be done for any of the plot to make sense, the other option would have been to split this into multiple stories, but I’m not sure how that would work either. So while it might be a concern for some, it’s not unheard of to have great books that are a little on the lengthy side – Strange the Dreamer was 536 pages after all.
But enough about length, characters! Superheroes have been done to death in a lot of mediums but film and television have really dominated pop culture of late (did you see Thor: Ragnarok? It’s great) and it was so refreshing to read a Superhero novel (I do have Wonderwoman Warbringer on my TBR for the next few weeks don’t worry). But not only is the medium refreshing, the superpowers are as well. Marissa Meyer didn’t go for predictable or overdone powers. I mean our main character has the power to never sleep. Imagine how much reading you could do…I mean saving the world.
What is most important to mention about this book is the way it dismantles a lot of the ideas that surround the superhero/villain divide. This could easily have been an obvious plotline with clearcut morals, but it isn’t as simple as that. Meyer explores ideas of who deserves authority, who is worthy or has the right to wield authority over others.
I was so pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. I went in expecting another Marissa Meyer fairytale (I had just finished The Lunar Chronicles and was a little bit done with happy endings) but I got a much edgier novel than I would have thought possible.
My rating: 5/5 stars
By the way, I received a digital advanced review copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
What say you? Are you excited for Renegades? Let me know in the comments below!