Book Review: Renegades
Good or evil or just misunderstood? It depends on your perspective really...
Yes, this a superhero book with superpowers and good guys and bad guys. However, it is so much more than that. Like all good stories, bad and good is in the eye of the beholder.
People with extraordinary abilities, gifts, powers, what have you, were prosecuted by governments and humans who feared what they couldn't explain. One person with a gift, known as Ace Anarchy, had enough of seeing others repressed and banded together with powerful prodigies to take it all down.
Down the world crashed. But what happens after a rebellion? Is a permanent state of anarchy sustainable? Out of the ashes arose the Renegades, a ragtag group of prodigies that wanted to restore order.
The book takes place in a world where the Renegades is a worldwide corporation, with the big tower full of Renegade recruits to prove it. They have restored order, or their interpretation of order, and are regarded as heroes to all. Or mostly all.
You see, the Anarchists, who once rose up against injustice, were pinned as the bad guys and that tag has stuck. Nova has grown up with the Anarchists as her family and is sick of the way they have been treated, of how the Renegades are treated as heroes when Nova knows some of their deepest secrets and she wants to bring them down.
Renegades is an interesting look at good and bad and the shades of grey between. Both the Renegades and the Anarchists kill. Both believe in their mission. Does that make either of them good or bad? All groups will have their secrets, their heroes and villains. But if you constantly told you are a villain, and you are treated as such, being made to live in subhuman conditions and being subjected to prejudice, does that turn you into one in the end?
There are some interesting scenes, where some Renegades go and 'question' the Anarchists, destroying their food and home in the process, in an attempt to 'shake them up'. There is a scene where the Anarchists sit around and number their kills. There is a secret 'weapon', a child, that the Renegades exploit when they need to. The crazy puppeteer villain torments children in the crowd, but as a way to cause a diversion so Nova won't get captured, his only friend.
The story is told in alternate points of view, between Nova, a child of the Anarchists and Aiden, a child of the Renegades. Both of them have close familial ties with the beginning members of their respective factions. Both are coming of age and uncovering old secrets, with plenty of their own to keep them occupied. Both become friends. Both have secret identities. Both are going to have to face the past before it destroys what hope of the future is left.
What I really liked about the story, besides the interesting dynamic between good and evil, is the family and friendships each of the characters has. Also the diversity of the characters. We have same-sex couples, a character with a disability that is completely separate to their superpower, characters with different skin colours, families that are not a stereotypical definition of a mum and dad and two children with a picket fence. Families exist in different shapes and sizes and this is quietly set out in the book to form the base in which the characters are able to draw on the support of their families and friends to help them or hinder, in some cases.
There is a plenty of plot threads hidden throughout that I hope will be explored in depth in this series and a great plot twist which I want more answers to. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves to question:
Who is the true villain in this story?
I read Renegades coming off a readathon. I read in ebook format, in the app BorrowBox, connected to my Library (similar to OverDrive which I also use and recommended). I found reading the story in an ebook format allowed me to race through the pages to find out what was going to happen next. Before I knew it, I had read a 500+ page book and I am eager to find out what happens next in this series:)
Have you read Renegades? Do you recommend any other superhero stories? I would love to know your thoughts and recommendations in the comments below.