Monday, December 3, 2012

Blog Tour Review: Renegade by J.A. Souders

From the Back Cover:

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.

My Thoughts:

I was drawn to Renegade because I was intrigued by the idea of an underwater world and the conflict between its residents and the "Surface Dwellers." We are first introduced to Evie, who at sixteen and the heir to Elysium's leader, has the perfect life. She wiles away her hours in her rose garden, watching the sea life swim past. She's of an age to be Coupled and Mother has provided several Suitors for Evie to choose from. In her official capacity she gets to approve matches for Coupling and appear warm and beautiful for her people as she moves about the city. My life is just about perfect.

But there are shadows. There are always guards watching over her. And Enforcers, Mother's terrifying group of elite female assassins, are always leering at Evie, as if they're waiting for her to slip up. Evie has huge gaps in her memory and is often confused and disoriented. Snatches of violent visions surface but are soon forgotten. Visits to her therapist are mandatory. It's nice to have someone to talk with. Evie knows Elysium's rules are strict, and at times may seem unfair, but they're necessary to keep their city a place of peaceful refuge from the war-torn Surface. Surface Dwellers have been consumed with hate and violence, and should be considered extremely dangerous. Any Surface Dweller who attempts to break into Elysium should be shot on sight.

But when a Surface Dweller appears in Evie's garden, wounded, frightened, and chased by guards, Evie protects him. She is intrigued by him. Drawn to him. And though Mother wants him killed immediately, Evie convinces Mother to let her befriend him in an attempt to learn how he got there and why. Gavin is wary. Though he's glad to have been given a reprieve, there's something not right about the beautiful girl who heals him and sneaks him food. And the more Evie talks to Gavin, the more he realizes something is not right about the entire city. As they get to know each other, Gavin challenges Evie's perceptions of the world and of herself. And as Evie's feelings for Gavin grow, she devises a plan to keep him in her life, but as always, Mother is one step ahead of her. Evie and Gavin soon find themselves on the run for their lives, and Evie uncovers secrets that unravel the only world she's ever known, and cause her to question everything she believes in, including herself. As Evie accepts the new truths about herself, will she be able to save Gavin and escape with him to the Surface--or will she be the one to bring about their ultimate destruction?

Renegade is one of those stories that's deliciously deceptive--sweet and innocent one moment and then brutal and shocking the next. And there are a few really surprising plot twists that caught me off guard but then really added to the depth of the story. Those surprises kept me going, even when I thought the story was devolving into melodrama or stretching the limits of believability, which it did quite a bit for me. As I was reading I kept thinking, this would make a great movie, but as a book it needs more substance to provide motivations and relationship dynamics. The intense feelings Evie and Gavin have for each other develop suddenly over the course of just a couple of days, Mother comes off as a one-dimensional megalomaniac, and the story shifts rather abruptly from dystopian to horror toward the end, which ended up being pretty creepy, but the backstory wasn't explored enough for much of it to make sense within the overall story. What saved Renegade for me was Evie, who at first I thought was extremely naive and weak, but who actually evolved into a pretty kick-ass heroine, and the ending, which again, ended up being wonderfully surprising and very poignant. Renegade is not going to land among my favorites in the young adult dystopian genre, but I would recommend it to anyone looking for something different and unpredictable.

My Rating:  3 Stars out of 5

Thanks to Tor Teen I have a copy of Renegade to give away to a lucky reader! Simply leave a comment with your email address to enter.

This giveaway is open to residents of the U.S. and Canada and ends at 11:59pm Sunday, December 16, 2012. Winner will be selected at random. Thanks and good luck!

This giveaway is closed and the winner has been selected.
Stay tuned for more great giveaways!


  1. An intriguing novel and your review was great. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

  2. Great review! This book has been on my TBR list for a long time!! Thanks for the giveaway! n_thao06 at hotmail dot com

  3. When I first heard of this book, I didn't add it to my wishlist right away, but the more I keep hearing about it, the more I want to read it! Thanks for the giveaway!


  4. Great Review!! Thanks for the giveaway!!!

  5. I'm so excited for this book! thanks for the giveaway!

    -Len of Musings of a Reader Happy

  6. I'm also intrigued by the concept. I like the underwater world and am not sure what to expect. I do look forward to meeting a new cast of creatures though.


  7. I've been wanting to read this for a while. I love the cover! Thanks so much for the giveaway!
    Lauren@Mommabears Book Blog
    Lmackesy @

  8. I'm really looking forward to Renegade, thanks for the synopsis, review and giveaway. carlscott(at)prodigy(dot)net(dot)mx

  9. Thanks for the review and giveaway! I love dystopias, so I've been looking forward to reading Renegade for months.

    bookwormsusanna AT gmail DOT com

  10. Great review and thanks for the giveaway! Renegade sounds amazing.


  11. Love the cover! I'm sold!


  12. This book sounds amazing, I can't wait to read it :D



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