Review: Renegades

2.5 out of 5 stars Renegades, by Marissa Meyer (Renegades #1)

On the highest, tippy top of the upside: The Lunar Chronicles.

On the lowest, bottom-scrape of the downside: Heartless.

nova1Marissa Meyer has done some of the best and worst work in recent YA fiction, so my hope for Renegades was wobbly. It doesn’t start off strong. Gatlin City has been dragged from the ashes of the Age of Anarchy into the new world, governed, policed, and held together by superheroes, called Renegades. Mehhhhhhh. From the jump, it’s a thin veil over an exhausted idea: Batman/Gotham City.

Our heroine, Nova, is a predictably sarcastic and wounded teen – now with superpowers! She never needs sleep, and she can put others to sleep with a touch. Nova is also an anarchist, working to bring back to golden age (?) of everything apparently being absolutely horrible and nearly destroying the city and all its inhabitants. Her inner monologue explains that she wants everyone to be “independent” and “responsible for themselves” – because that worked so well the first time? She barely bothers to try to make sense; this old map always leads to growing a heart of gold by book three.

nova2The Renegades are a group of up-and-ups trying to put the world back together. The founding members form The Council, they are the government now. (Think: Marvel) The rest, including teenagers, are law enforcement. (Think: X-Men) Nova has her reasons for hating them, which leads to infiltrating them by becoming one of their own.

The action is solid and most of the supporting cast are likable.  Overall, it’s a tolerable story, and eventually sheds it’s cheap, wannabe Batman start for something more interesting. Sadly, that thing is not Nova.She is not bright. She is not quick. For someone who agreed to go undercover, she gave it zero thought and less preparation. She does a lot of gaping dumbly, and repeats other people’s statements slowly as questions.

“Nova, there’s a call for you on the phone.”

“A call?” pauzzzze “For me?” pauzzzze “On the phone?”

It’s lame and painful, just filling space. But the story doesn’t need it – there’s enough here that could be tightened up into a 3+ star book, maybe even better. Marissa Meyer got in the door, but not past the cheap seats for this one. It’s much better than Heartless, but falls far short of her own mark from The Lunar Chronicles.

One thought on “Review: Renegades

  1. Persephone Black says:

    I have read this book about three times, and I have never once thought, oh this is just like batman. The only similarity between the two is the name of the city. Nova is most likely the one of the smartest characters in the book, she proves it in the first chapter when she lists off the inventions she has made and when she fights the Sentinel in the following chapter. Nova’s main goal isn’t exactly to bring back that ‘golden age’ it’s to dismantle the current government and bring forth the one her uncle was originally wanted. She acknowledges that gangs and criminals overtook Gatlon, and that’s why the original revolution failed, and she wants to avoid that mistake. I agree, she does do a lot of gaping, although not as much nor as painful as you put it, but it’s very realistic because she’s in unknown territory, it doesn’t look like she’s ever had any positive interaction with anyone not related to her, and she could get caught at any time. To say she’s unprepared is truthful, and I must agree with the ranking of all of Meyer’s books. I’d say this is a very good and thought-provoking review, but I still don’t see the Batman thing.


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