Title: Renegade (The Elysium Chronicles #1)
Author: J.A. Souders
Published: November 13th 2012 by Tor Teen
Source: Copy received by the publisher for an honest review
"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."
First line: "My life is just about perfect."
Thoughts: Originally, I had no idea what to expect. I'm not a huge fan of sci-fi books, but I kept hearing amazing things about RENEGADE so I gave it a go. Let me tell you guys, this book blew me away. I cannot fathom into words how authentic and utterly spectacular RENEGADE is. I just...I can't. It's stunning. It really, really is.
First off, the setting? GORGEOUS! Imagine living inside a giant underwater dome. Imagine mending your garden but instead of birds, there are fishes and replace their chirps with whales singing. Mesmerizing, right? Indeed. When it comes to world building, the author uses such vivid details to the point where I honestly thought I was there. I constantly wanted to place my hand against the glass and watch the whales swim by. But is the scenery worth the price? That's the million dollar question, folks!
Evelyn aka Evie is the daughter of the people. I guess the best way to describe her position in this society is she's the princess and Elysium is her kingdom. Her life is practically perfect, except for the fact that her mind is constantly being altered and her "Mother" is a psycho. From the very beginning, you know her mind is being messed with. Her life is a constant battle between muddled memories and being the perfect daughter.
Initially, I wasn't sure how I felt about Evie. Here she is, sniffing roses in her garden and following rules like the good girl she has to be. She even gets to sleep in till 10:00 AM every morning! Eek! After the first chapter, though, I knew there was a fighter in her. Her life isn't perfect and as many time as they try (and sometimes succeed) to alter her mind, something inside keeps fighting for her to find out the truth. I constantly begged for her to remember. It's one of those moments you have where you, as the reader, know exactly what's going on, but the character doesn't. I can honestly say the phrase "Oh, come on" slipped from my lips multiple times. Needless to say, I heart Evie.
Let's talk about romance and oh yeah, Gavin. The romance in this book is mainly based around tension and desire. No one is allowed to touch Evie and even if they were, Mother has already chosen a couple other guys for her to "Couple" with. Gavin is a surface dweller that somehow found his way into Elysium. Normally surface dwellers are killed on sight, but not in this case. From the very beginning, you know Gavin is special. He's easy to fall for and just a down to
And lastly, Mother. I have to be honest, I haven't read such an evil villain since Lord Voldemort. Excuse my vulgarity, but this lady scares the crap out of me! She's manipulative, malevolent, and all those other terrifying things I personally love in an evildoer. In the words of Damien from Mean Girls, "She's fabulous, but she's evil."
Overall, I highly recommend everyone and their mom to pick up a copy of RENEGADE as soon as possible. I'm literally sitting here, shaking from excitement and book bliss. That's how much I love it. To say I can't wait for it's sequel is an understatement. Friends and foe, add RENEGADE to your Christmas lists now or forever hold your peace.
Thanks to the fabulous people over at Tor Teen, I am giving away a copy of RENEGADE. That's right, one lucky winner will be able to revel in all the glory that is book heaven. All you have to do is fill out the Rafflecopter form below. This giveaway is only open to US participants and will end December 16. The winner will be emailed shortly after and will also be announced in that week's Weekly Round-Up. Yay.
Go...enter and may the odds be ever in your favor.
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