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With Powers Come Great Responsibility

The battle between good and evil isn’t black and white in Marissa Meyer’s new superhero novel, Renegades.

With Powers Come Great Responsibility

BOOK REPORT for Renegades (Renegades #1) by Marissa Meyer

Cover Story: Graphic Novel
BFF Charm: Yay
Swoonworthy Scale: 4
Talky Talk: Both Sides
Bonus Factors: Superheroes, Two Dads, Surprise!
Anti-Bonus Factor: Secrets
Relationship Status: Fangirl

Cover Story: Graphic Novel

This cover is a little deceptive; upon first glance, I feel like this could be a graphic novel. However, this works very well considering that the novel is about superheroes and villains. There just aren’t any pictures inside.

The Deal:

Gatlon City has seen its fair share of difficulties. When prodigies—people with superhuman abilities—decided that they’d had enough of rules and regulations, they rose up. The city fell into disrepair; although the Anarchists, led by Ace Anarchy, had (mostly) honorable ideas of freeing the people, humans are notorious for not doing well when they have no one leading them in the right direction.

Ace’s “Age of Anarchy” came to an end when a group of superheroes called the Renegades took control, and they’ve been in power for nearly a decade. They’re leading the people, but they’re heroes, not government officials.

Nova, Ace’s niece, has mostly been content to live her life with the other remaining Anarchists, under the watchful eye of the Renegades. But the need for vengeance festers in her heart, and she’s willing to do almost anything to get back on the path her uncle wanted for the world.

BFF Charm: Yay

From the very start, it’s obvious that Nova’s supposed to be an anti-hero. She’s a member of the villains, after all, and wants to rid the world of the Renegades—the good guys. But Nova’s not really a bad person. Instead, she sees that the Renegades maybe bit off more than they could chew with trying to right the wrongs the Age of Anarchy created. She believes strongly that the world would be a better place if everyone was completely free. Which is sadly naive, but I give her props for believing so strongly in an ideal.

Swoonworthy Scale: 4

Nova’s definitely interested in Adrian, a young prodigy she meets on her path toward Renegade destruction. But there’s a time and place for young love, and it’s not clear if Nova can make room for a relationship while she’s thirsting for revenge. (The two also have some serious issues standing in their way, but those aren’t resolved in this first book.)

Talky Talk: Both Sides

Renegades is filled with characters who are more three-dimensional than your standard superheroes and supervillains. They walk the gray area between “always good,” and “always bad,” which makes them all the more compelling. Of course, there are a few characters who are total stereotypes, but they fit nicely into the story because they’re more familiar to this sort of tale.

Also, I’m a big fan of Meyer’s world-building, and the world she creates for Renegades is definitely up to her normal standards. Gatlon City is a colorful place filled with colorful people; it fits right in with fictional cities like Metropolis and Gotham. My only nitpick is that there’s little history as to where the prodigies came from, but as someone who’s watched/read a lot of superhero stories, it wasn’t hard to just roll with it.

Bonus Factor: Superheroes

Just when you think you’ve seen all the superpowers there are to see, Meyer comes up with some new ones* that are really dang cool/creepy. Not all of the powers in Renegades are new, mind you, but there are enough that it doesn’t feel like Meyer just trolled through some comics grabbing the ones she liked best.

*New to me. There could be characters in comics with all of these powers, but I’m not familiar with them if there are.

Bonus Factor: Two Dads

One of the characters in the book has two dads, and it’s awesome how normal this is in the world of Renegades. It’s also awesome who these two dads are, but I don’t want to spoil that reveal for you. (We can take it to the comments if you want to chat.)

Bonus Factor: Surprise!

There’s a great twist at the end of the book that I totally didn’t see coming.

Anti-Bonus Factor: Secrets

It’s natural for characters in a comics-inspired book to have secrets—secret identities, secret family histories, secret lairs, etc.—but the secrets in Renegades are going to come back to bite these characters SO HARD in Book 2.

Relationship Status: Fangirl

I’d buy merch for both Nova and the Renegades, Book, if I were able to. Superheroes in general are totally my jam, and I can’t resist the draw of a complicated villain. At this point, I don’t know who’s side I’m on, but I am willing to stick around to figure it out.

FTC Full Disclosure: I bought a copy of this book with my own money, and received neither a private dance party with Tom Hiddleston nor money in exchange for this review. Renegades is available now.

Mandy Curtis's photo About the Author: Mandy is a small town girl living in a nerdy world, or—if you want to get literal—an editor/writer living in Austin, TX. In addition to yearning for YA books—the more dystopian or fantastical, the better—she can also be found swooning over superheroes, dreaming of The Doctor and grinning at GIFs.
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