Renegade (The Elysium Chronicles #1) by J.A. Souders

Posted January 9, 2013 by Kaitlynn in 4 stars, dystopian, J.A. Souders, review, series / 19 Comments

book cover of Renegade by J.A. Souders

Title: Renegade (The Elysium Chronicles #1)
Author: J.A. Souders
Release date: November 13, 2012
Publisher: Tor Teen
Pages: 364
Source: Publisher
Reading level: YA

Renegade (The Elysium Chronicles, #1)

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.

Renegade was a very highly anticipated book of mine.  I had heard such good things about it and the cover really drew me in.  While it wasn’t quite as spectacular as I was hoping, I was still very impressed with J.A. Souders debut novel.

Renegade has quite a slow beginning but once you get past that the story is completely unique and so interesting.  It took me about 8 chapters (50-60) to start really getting into the story but since it’s such a new world, it did take some time to set up.  The underwater world of Elysium was so cool!  It sounded so gorgeous and high-tech and just plain awesome.  I loved reading about the history (real and fake) of Elysium and with such lush, descriptive writing, I could easily picture it all in my head.

The characters are hard to like at first.  Both Gavin and Evelyn are closed off and kind of cold but they have their reasons.  Evelyn is in the dark about most of her life.  She’s confused and kind of brainwashed.  She knows not to trust people who live above ground but for some reason she’s drawn to Gavin and she can’t put up with the idea that her Mother might kill him.  She doesn’t seem like it at first but she really is a strong heroine.  It just takes some time for her to grow a backbone but once she does she’s fierce.  She goes through so much to do what’s right and find out what’s really going on in Elysium.  Gavin may be the guy in the relationship (obviously) but surprisingly, his role wasn’t to save Evelyn.  Instead, she kind of saved him.  Don’t get me wrong, Gavin was clearly a strong guy but he was willing to let Evelyn lead and I loved seeing this very different kind of guy.  Then there was Mother.  She was one scary woman.  Sure, she seemed perfectly innocent at first but her other side showed pretty quickly and it was not nice.  She was a great villain!

The romance was a great addition to the story.  It wasn’t overly done, it wasn’t really insta-love, and it was just sweet.  Gavin and Evelyn were definitely drawn to each other but they had tons of obstacles to overcome before they could even think of being together.  It was great to see them face things together and see how their relationship grew from their trials.

Overall, Renegade is a very unique story that I would definitely recommend.  I’m not sure if this is going to be a standalone novel but it definitely wraps things up nicely at the end which I loved.

Looking for more reviews of Renegade?
The Book Smugglers’ review
Nawanda Files’ review

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19 responses to “Renegade (The Elysium Chronicles #1) by J.A. Souders

  1. I really loved Renegade too, Katie! I twas one that really appealed to me as soon as I heard of it. I didn’t love the romance as much as you did (I tend to favour gradual romance) but I really loved how strong and brave Evie turned out to be, like you mentioned. I’m really excited to see where the next book goes. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

    Brenna from Esther’s Ever After

  2. This looks like a great book. Gavin seems totally awesome and sweet. Awesome review. I’ll definitely be checking this one out!

    Annie 🙂

  3. I love that you’re upfront about the somewhat rough start. A lot of times I’ll get a bit put-off by a less than stellar start and will start something else. Knowing in advance that it gets better (MUCH better) will help me keep reading!

    I love a good romance in a story, and it sounds like this one has it in spades! Great review, Katie!

  4. I’m glad you enjoyed this one, Katie! I have an ARC from a few months ago, but for some reason, I keep putting it off. It seems like most of my friends absolutely love it, and then there’s the other handful of friends who I mostly agree with who give it two stars, so I’m not really sure what to think. But this talk about a crazy ending is definitely intriguing. Great review!

  5. Renegade is on my to-read pile, though I still haven’t gotten to it. It’s a shame that the book was a bit hard to get into at the beginning, or at least that Evelyn and Gavin harder to relate to, but I agree with you on the romance. I love it when the characters overcome their problems and grow from them. Also, the underwater world sounds like a lot of fun! Maybe I should bump this book up :D.

  6. This sounds so good! I really hadn’t paid much attention to this at all because I’m not a huge fan of the cover (I know, I know). But I really love the idea of an underwater world, sort of like the video game Bioshock. Great review 🙂

  7. I wasn’t a fan of this one, I am so the black sheep in this case. Everyone seems to have gotten so much more out of it than I did. Although I think for me the problem was expectations. I had read so many glowing reviews for it and then I had it so built up in my head that I don’t really know if it ever stood a chance. Great review! I’m happy you had better luck with it than I did.

  8. I was really looking forward to this one, but everyone is telling me that it doesn’t live up to their expectations so I have bumped it down my TBR pile. I do love what you had to say about the romance though – no insta love is always a plus.

  9. Great review! I have had my eye on this one for a while. It does sound really interesting. I have heard from a few people though that the beginning starts off slow. The romance especially sounds great. It’s always good to hear when there isn’t an insta-love relationship. Definitely hoping to read it soon!

    Traci @ The Reading Geek

  10. I’m glad to hear you liked this. I have this in my reading schedule for some time in the next few weeks. The author will be at a con I’ll be at in mid-February so I wanted to read this first!!!

  11. Christina Kit.

    I’ve heard nothing but good things about this book, but I just don’t know about mermaids.

    But from your review there seems to be a psychological aspect to it, with how she’s brainwashed. That’s unique 🙂

    Lovely review 🙂

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