- Page Count: 576
- Release Date: November 7, 2017
- My Rating: 5 stars
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.
I LEFT OUT ANY MAJOR SPOILERS.
Ok I honestly had no idea what to expect from this (except that it was Marissa Meyer yay), so the whole thing was SUCH a fun surprise.
Ughhh this is one of those books where I’m going to fail miserably at explaining what it’s about because I need to use my hands to map out the tangled web of identities and goals…
So Nova starts out with the “villain” Anarchists and Adrian is with the superhero Renegades, but Nova eventually goes undercover to try out for the Renegades. She ends up joining Adrian’s superhero team and being a double agent… except it’s really not that straightforward. Adrian and Nova are both keeping additional alter-egos a secret while maintaining both their superhero identities and regular personas within their team. Adrian and Nova’s secret alter-egos are actually enemies (or at least out to get each other), but neither one of them knows that. And they are adorable together.
Actually, all of the characters are adorable! Oscar and Ruby were my favorites for sure. Marissa Meyer is just so good at showing the group dynamics of a bunch of teens so all of their unique personalities come through. Some of the fun banter totally reminded me of what I loved about The Lunar Chronicles. And the diversity was awesome here, too.
Basically, this book is just plain fun. It’s a creative world full of so many different superheroes with every kind of power (it kind of reminded me of The Incredibles at times). But then plot got more philosophical at the same time and reflected a lot of relevant questions for our world.
For example, prodigies used to be persecuted, but then the Anarchists took down the system of oppression that only served a small group. Adrian remembers the gangs that rose to power in the absence of government in the Age of Anarchy and thinks the Renegade’s current Council is better, but Nova’s definitely there to take them down:
“The Council saw themselves as benevolent leaders attempting to solve all the problems of humanity, without any apparent grasp of how their involvement was only dooming society to helplessness and desperation.”
There’s an ongoing debate between Nova & Adrian about whether it’s in humanity’s best interest to have superheroes protect society or whether that’s an infringement on personal freedom or responsibility that makes people lazy & complacent. Nova believes that the “system that was meant to protect and serve was nothing more than a failed social experiment” because the Renegades weren’t there to stop her family from being murdered when she was six. She thinks the people would be better off on their own than in a society run by “dictators who had put themselves in this position of power without cause, and now had no idea what to do with it.”
So I just really appreciated how everything wasn’t simplistic. There are groups with different views and goals even on the same side, which made the story more realistic.
I loved this story BUT definitely think it could’ve been about half the length. It took me a bit to get a feel for the whole world and what was even going on. I had issues with the pacing for sure… it kind of felt like I was waiting for the real story to get going? It could’ve been a lot more concise and powerful if the next book was part of this one. But I liked the concept and characters enough that my enthusiasm remains!
Thank you to the publisher for sending me a finished copy.