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Book Review: RENEGADES

Book Review:  RENEGADESRenegades by Marissa Meyer
Also by this author: Scarlet (The Lunar Chronicles, #2)
three-stars
Published by Feiwel & Friends on November 7th 2017
Pages: 552
Source: Goodreads
Amazon
Goodreads

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Goodreads. All opinions are my own..

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MY REVIEW:

Is there anything worse that having one of your most anticipated reads of the year not live up to expectations?  Because that’s what happened to me with Marissa Meyer’s Renegades.  Generally speaking, I LOVE Meyer’s books.  The Lunar Chronicles and Heartless have been some of my favorite reads from recent years, so when I heard she was coming out with another new series and that it was filled with superheroes and villains, my expectations were sky high.  Perhaps, too high.  I don’t know if I just built up expectations in my mind that were unrealistic or what, but for me, Renegades was just an average good read.  It wasn’t bad by any stretch – I definitely still enjoyed it and am interested in continuing the series – but it just didn’t blow me away like every other Meyer book I’ve read thus far.  So yeah, I was a little disappointed.

The premise behind Renegades is that it focuses on a group called Prodigies.  Prodigies are humans who have some kind of super powers.  Some of the prodigies become Anarchists, which are basically villains, while others join the Renegades, which are the heroes.  Needless to say, these two groups do no play well together.  The story itself is set during a time when society as we know it has basically come apart at the seams.  The Anarchists, who thrive on chaos, have taken advantage of the situation and deemed themselves in charge, thus creating even more instability and chaos as they run roughshod over those without powers.  That is, until they are challenged and defeated by the Renegades.  The Renegades restore some semblance of law and order and become a symbol of hope for the people.

When the novel opens, the Renegades are firmly in charge and are actually being celebrated with a parade through the city, while the Anarchists have been relegated to living in abandoned subway tunnels.  The Anarchists are not finished, however, and are actively planning how to get vengeance on their enemies.  At the crux of their plan is a young woman named Nova.  Nova, known in Anarchist circles as Nightmare, has been tasked with infiltrating the Renegades as a new recruit.  Why?  So as to learn as much about the Renegades’ inside operations as possible, which should in turn make it easier to take them down.  Nova is not only up to the task, but she is highly motivated to defeat the Renegades because she holds the Renegades responsible for the murders of everyone in her family.

Once Nova infiltrates the Renegades, however, she meets Adrian, a fellow Renegade who immediately takes a liking to her.  And as if that doesn’t put enough of a kink into Nova’s plan,  Adrian is also on a mission of his own that could potentially put them at odds.  Adrian is seeking justice for his mother, who was murdered by an Anarchist, and he, ironically enough, is actively searching for the Anarchist Nightmare (a.k.a. Nova) because he believes she holds the key to the murderer’s identity.

Will Adrian realize that Nightmare is basically hiding right under his nose posing as a Renegade or will Nova be able to maintain her secret identity?

Marissa Meyer has brought to life two fascinating main characters in Nova and Adrian.  Nova is an Anarchist, while Adrian is a Renegade.  However, even though they are at opposite ends of the hero-villain spectrum, they still have a lot in common, namely that they are both living double lives and keeping secrets from those around them.  I loved the complexity that the double lives added to each of these characters.

In addition to enjoying watching Nova and Adrian attempt to pull off these secret lives without revealing themselves, I also just found both of these characters extremely likeable and was therefore very sympathetic to both of their plights.  Adrian’s mother was murdered by an Anarchist and he desperately wants justice for her even if he has to work outside of the confines of being a Renegade to do so.  Nova’s entire family was killed right in front of her when she was a child and she feels betrayed by the Renegades who she had believed would show up and save them all but who didn’t show up at all until it was too late.  Even though I might not agree with the idea of seeking vengeance, I can understand why Nova feels the way she does, just as I can understand why Adrian is so determined to track down any leads he can when it come to his mother’s murder.

Aside from Nova and Adrian themselves, what I enjoyed most about Renegades were the superpowers that Meyer has envisioned for all of the Prodigies in the novel.  The powers themselves were unique and so exciting to watch in action.  The action sequences as each character was called on to unleash their powers were some of my favorite moments of the book.  If you’re a fan of Marvel, the X-Men, and other similar superhero stories, you would probably really enjoy this aspect of Renegades as well.  I thought it was especially brilliant that Adrian can use his power, the ability to sketch something and then somehow bring it to life, to actually draw additional powers for his secret super hero identity.  It’s almost as though he’s able to give himself an upgrade via ink.

My biggest issues with Renegades were the uneven pacing and what felt like too much filler information.  While I did fly through some sections of the book, there were many other places where I felt that the descriptions were just heavy handed and filled with unnecessary details that bogged the story down.  One slow area that comes to mind was when Nova first infiltrates Renegade Headquarters as a new recruit.  She is given a lengthy, in-depth tour of the facilities.  After the tour, we are then given a surprisingly long description of Nova being presented with and trying on her new uniform, followed by a discussion about how it fits and how it will be sent off to a tailor for a better fit.  I just kept thinking the entire time I was reading that what took pages and pages could have been wrapped up easily in a few paragraphs.  Because the book itself is so huge, I was very tuned in to descriptive passages like that one.  At over 500 pages, I’m always going to be one who begins to question what feels like extraneous information.

I also didn’t feel like I really got to know the secondary characters very well.  While I thought all of the superpowers of both the Renegades and the Anarchists were unique and very impressive, I just felt like the characters themselves fell kind of flat.  Most of the time I couldn’t even remember the names of Nova’s Renegades teammates or her fellow Anarchists.

As much as I enjoyed the overall storyline, I think if some of the descriptions had been pared down a bit and the secondary characters had been better fleshed out, this would have been a 4 star read for me.

Even though Renegades fell short of my expectations, I still think it’s a solid read that fans of superhero/villain stories would definitely enjoy.  The superhero powers are amazing, the action scenes are fun and exciting, and the two main characters are just so easy to find yourself rooting for.  While I would have liked more character development for the secondary characters and less wordy descriptions throughout, Renegades has still enticed me enough that I want to follow the series and see what happens to Nova and Adrian.

GOODREADS SYNOPSIS

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.

three-stars

About Marissa Meyer

meyer

“One of my first spoken words was “story” (right along with “bath” and “cookie”), my favorite toy as an infant was a soft, squishable book, and I’ve wanted to be a writer since I first realized such a job existed.

When I was fourteen my best friend introduced me to anime and fanfiction—over the years I would complete over forty Sailor Moon fanfics under the penname Alicia Blade. Those so inclined can still find my first stories at fanfiction.net. Writing fanfic turned out to be awesome fun and brought me in contact with an amazing group of fanfiction readers and writers. As Alicia Blade, I also had a novelette, “The Phantom of Linkshire Manor,” published in the gothic romance anthology Bound in Skin (CatsCurious Press, 2007).

When I was sixteen I worked at The Old Spaghetti Factory in Tacoma, Washington, affectionately termed “The Spag.” (Random factoid: This is also the restaurant where my parents met some 25 years before.) I attended Pacific Lutheran University where I sorted mail that came to the dorm, carted tables and chairs around campus, and took writing classes, eventually earning a Bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing and Children’s Literature. Knowing I wanted a career in books, I would also go on to receive a Master’s degree in Publishing from Pace University (which you can learn more about here). After graduation, I worked as an editor in Seattle for a while before becoming a freelance typesetter and proofreader.

Then, day of days, someone thought it would be a good idea to give me a book deal, so I became a full-time writer. CINDER was my first completed novel, though I have an adorable collection of unfinished ones lying around, too.

I married my husband in 2011, two months before the release of Cinder, and we adopted our two beautiful twin daughters, Sloane and Delaney, in 2015. Reading lots and lots of bedtime stories is most definitely a new favorite pastime.”

Marissa Meyer in her own words, from www.marissameyer.com

Waiting on/Can’t Wait Wednesday – Spotlight on RENEGADES by Marissa Meyer

New WoW

“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, which encourages fellow bloggers to spotlight upcoming releases that we’re excited about.  This week I’ll also be linking to Can’t Wait Wednesday, hosted by Tressa.

My “Waiting On/Can’t Wait” Wednesday selection for this week is Renegades by Marissa Meyer.  I’ve been working my way through Meyer’s The Lunar Chronicles and have just loved everything about that series so far.  So hearing that she has another book coming out has me super excited, especially as soon as I read that epic description. November is way too far away!

RENEGADES by Marissa Meyer

Publication Date:  November 7, 2017

From Amazon:

From #1 New York Times-bestselling author Marissa Meyer, comes a high-stakes world of adventure, passion, danger, and betrayal.

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.

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I’d love to hear what upcoming book releases you’re waiting on this Wednesday? Leave me your link in the comments below and I’ll stop by and check out your WoW selection for this week. 🙂

Waiting on Wednesday – Heartless by Marissa Meyer

New WoW“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, which encourages fellow bloggers to spotlight upcoming releases that we’re excited about.

My “Waiting On” Wednesday selection for this week:

Heartless by Marissa

heartless

Publication Date: November 8, 2016

From Amazon:

Long before she was the terror of Wonderland―the infamous Queen of Hearts―she was just a girl who wanted to fall in love.

Long before she was the terror of Wonderland, she was just a girl who wanted to fall in love. Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland, and a favorite of the unmarried King of Hearts, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, all she wants is to open a shop with her best friend. But according to her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for the young woman who could be the next queen.

Then Cath meets Jest, the handsome and mysterious court joker. For the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. At the risk of offending the king and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into an intense, secret courtship. Cath is determined to define her own destiny and fall in love on her terms. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans.

In her first stand-alone teen novel, the New York Times-bestselling author dazzles us with a prequel to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

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Alice in Wonderland is one of my favorite childhood stories, so I’m excited for Heartless because I love the idea of getting a possible backstory on the infamous Queen of Hearts.

I’d love to hear what upcoming book releases you’re waiting on this Wednesday. Is anyone else excited for Heartless?

Book Haul from my Trip to the Green Valley Book Fair

book haul

Heaven on Earth for this bookworm is a trip to the Green Valley Book Fair. Located in Mount Crawford, Virginia, in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley, the Green Valley Book Fair is one of the biggest, if not the biggest, book sales in the mid Atlantic region. Book lovers from up and down the east coast come to check out the selection each time the fair opens its doors, and it’s only open six times a year for about 2 weeks each time so bookworms near and far subscribe to the Fair’s mailing list to make sure they don’t miss each year’s fair dates.

The Green Valley Book Fair may not be much to look outside from the outside — just a giant warehouse building out in the middle of cow country — but once you walk in, book lust immediately sets in. The warehouse is huge, several floors, and holds roughly half a million books in pretty much every fiction and nonfiction category you can imagine, including young adult, children’s, classics, contemporary, African American, science fiction, fantasy, research, political, history, religion, cookbooks, audio books, and so much more. In addition to the incredible selection of books, there are also gift items like notebooks, t-shirts, puzzles and games. And the discounts are always excellent, 60-90% off retail!

Credit:  nbc29.com

Credit: nbc29.com

What I love about the Green Valley Book Fair is that you truly never know what you’re going to find when you walk through those doors. I’ve been going almost every year since I first discovered the fair in 1997 and can only think of a few times when I have walked away empty handed and those times were mainly due to lack of money on my part, not lack of selection. Instead, a typical trip to the book fair ends with me wondering how I’m ever going to fit all the books I’ve purchased into my car or onto my bookshelves once I’ve gotten them home. You won’t find the newest titles, but you will definitely find some recent releases as well as some older titles by your favorite authors. It’s like hunting for buried treasure!

For more information about the Green Valley Book Fair, visit their website at gobookfair.com.

Without further ado, here’s what I got on my latest trip to the Green Valley Book Fair. I spent $159 this time and was able to get not only all of the books shown in the photo below, but an equally large stack of children’s books for my son and another stack of nonfiction for my husband, 56 books in total between the three of us.

book haul

1. Linger by Maggie Stiefvater

2. Golden Son by Pierce Brown

3. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

4. Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen

5. That Summer by Sarah Dessen

6. Landline by Rainbow Rowell

7. The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey

8. Cinder by Marissa Meyer

9. Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

10. Cress by Marissa Meyer

11. Landing by Emma Donoghue

12. The Red Tent by Anita Diamant

13. Home Again by Kristin Hannah

14. Nora Webster by Colm Toibin

15. Apex Hides the Hurt by Colson Whitehead

16. John Henry Days by Colson Whitehead

17. The One and Only by Emily Giffin

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Happy Reading to me!

Have any of you ever visited the Green Valley Book Fair or have you read any of these titles?