Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Renegade by J.A. Souders [ARC REVIEW]

TITLE: Renegade
           (The Elysium Chronicles #1)
AUTHOR: J.A. Souders
PUB DATE: Aug 20 2012

Summary from Goodreads:

"Since the age of three, sixteen-year-old Evelyn Winters has been 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 thought that everything was perfect; her world. Her people. The Law.

But when Gavin Hunter, a Surface Dweller, accidentally stumbles into their secluded little world, she’s forced to come 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."


Step into the underwater world of Elysium, and meet Evelyn Winters, the Daughter of the People. All her life she sees the law, the people, everything in her little world is perfect. Or so she thought…

Mother has always told her that Surface Dwellers are dangerous, but she need not to be alarmed, for she is safe in the palace, in her little garden. Everything is at it should be. Until Gavin Hunter, a Surface Dweller accidentally stumbles upon her while she worked on her garden. Suddenly everything isn’t all right anymore. She has memories she can’t recall having at all. She finds out that the one person she trusts the most has lied to her all her life.

And now Evie is on the run. She plans to escape with Gavin, but one dark secret is going to keep her from freedom, a secret that could lead them to destruction…

*Key in mellow piano score piece*
Oh! Look at that cover… It’s so beautiful. So sweet, so serene, looks like I’m in for an unflustered, sentimental story – NOT!

*Blast hard rock music, screaming guitars and heart thudding drum beats*
When other readers said not to be fooled by that pretty little cover, they weren’t kidding! No matter how sweet and calm that cover is, be prepared to witness the crazy and distressing world Evie lives in.

I was drawn in at page one. I was fascinated to find a dystopian/post-apocalyptic story that is set in the depths of the ocean. You don’t see that very often. Typically you would see the destroyed buildings, shabby living spaces and whatnot, or underground community living in shambles and debris. But not always do you step into a peaceful city inside a bubble (it’s actually glass, but you get the point) sitting at the bottom of a deep body of water. So yeah, that was refreshing!

Even though it is rather disturbing, I found the whole Mother-manipulating and mind control awesome. Souders just established the perfect villain. Not to mention that she has her empathic moments, which in her case makes her seem just a little misunderstood. But Mother’s evil streak, although unnerving, was well established.

Evie and Gavin were likable, although a bit typical at some point but likable nonetheless. Evie was every bit the docile protag, until Mother reveals her kick ass identity, that revelation made her all the more interesting. Gavin was sweet, but it didn’t make him standout as much as I want a leading man to be.

The most epic part of this book would probably be Evie and Gavin’s escape to the surface. Every scene was heart-stopping action. I loved every minute of the experience!

The only downfall of this book would probably be the setting. Nope, I have no qualms over the underwater situation, I just said earlier that it was amazing. What I’m saying is the description of the sectors and the means of transportation weren’t laid out very well. I was struggling to imagine how they could walk from here and travel by “train” (I think) there; which is which and where is where. And how did they keep this one sector hidden from the rest. It was also hard for me to picture out the shadowed parts of the city. I don’t know, maybe it was just me.

All in all, I think this was a great debut. It was unique and creative, and I’m looking forward to reading the next installment.

*Thank you, Tor Teen/ Forge and NetGalley for the copy of Renegade.


  1. LOL. I love the musical changes! LOVE IT! Anywho, all I've heard about this book is that it's very creative, and imaginative. That makes me want to read it, because it does sound REALLY good, and I wouldn't want to miss out! And who doesn't love a good dystopian? Really? Fabulous review, Janus! (:

    Megan@The Book Babe

    1. Thanks, Megan! This was so worth the time reading. I hope you enjoy it once you get a hold of it. :)


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