A boy stands in a ruined city looking up at a ball of lightning in the sky

About the Book

Title: Renegade (Elemental #3)
Published: 2014
Series: Elemental

Cover Story: You Maniacs! You Blew It Up!
Drinking Buddy:
Um, Just Set It On The Table…
Testosterone Level:
Love Hurts
Talky Talk:
Shiver Me Timbers!
Bonus Factors:
Bromance Status:
Old Veterans’ Home

Cover Story: You Maniacs! You Blew It Up!

The lone guy standing in the middle of the abandoned city. Can’t really go wrong with an opening like that.

The Deal:

Spoiler alert, but this is the third book of a trilogy, so you’ve been warned.

Okay, so it’s the near future. The American mainland has been rendered uninhabitable by a plague of vicious, diseased rats. Survivors cling to islands or ships, eking out whatever existence they can.

Thomas and clan are all ‘elementals.’ They each control either the air, earth, water, or fire. They lived on Roanoke island until Dare the pirate drove them from their home. After an unfortunate stay at Ft. Sumter, the survivors are now planning to retake their homeland at whatever cost.

Thomas, our narrator, was always the outcast of the island. He believed he had no element. It was only during the pirate crisis that he learned he has one of the most powerful elements of all…he can use the elements of others, direct them and combine them, with or without their permission. Doing this–even touching Thomas–causes others tremendous physical pain. He’s powerful, but people are scared of him.

And now Thomas and his brothers have learned that their mother, long ago given up for dead, is being held captive on Roanoke. The pirates are fighting each other. Now may be their chance. But with so many Guardians (adult elementals) dead or captured, it falls to Thomas to lead the charge. Is he up to it?

Drinking Buddy: Um, Just Set It On the Table…

Two pints of beer cheersing

So Thom has the most powerful element of all. He can control, combine, and intensify the elements of other people. He can make machines work with no electricity. He’s practically a god.

But in order to make this element work, he has to touch the other person. And even slight physical contact with Thom causes agony.

In the previous book, the elementals arrive at Ft. Sumter and find that the farther from Roanoke they get, the weaker their elements are. For the first time ever, Thom and his friend Rose can experience the unexplored side of the their friendship. Finally. At long last…

And now they’re back home. No one can touch Thom. And while he never means to use someone’s element without permission, sometimes there just isn’t time to ask. He only does it for the greater good. You understand, right? We’re okay, right? Right?

Thom is now sort of the leader of the elementals, and he hates it. When the elements backfire, when people die in a firestorm he created, can he justify it? Was he happier in the days when he thought he had no power?

Testosterone Level: Love Hurts

So Thom is forced back into a ‘just friends’ relationship with Rose, which is too bad, because things were kind of heating up in the last book.

But there’s no time for that. Thom must rescue his mother, who’s being held on Roanoke by a rival gang of pirates. Pirates who control a young elemental with a power that rivals Thom’s. Should Thom trust Dare to help with the rescue? Can there be peace between the elementals and the clan folk (non elementals)?

Yeah, enough with the philosophy. There’s an awesome naval/land battle that culminates with a last stand on a collapsing water tower, as pirates, civilians, and elementals battle an overwhelming army of unstoppable plague rats.

Talky Talk: Shiver Me Timbers!

A good swashbuckling tale with fireballs and rats. Not nearly as violent at The Hunger Games and not nearly as long as Lord of the Rings. I’d recommend this one to young readers who want a good series, but don’t want to memorize a thousand characters and universe laws. I read the second installment a year ago, and it took me less than a chapter to reacquaint myself with everyone.

Bonus Factor: Pirates

Captain Hook on his ship from Once Upon a Time

Pirates are not adorable. They are not adorable in this book. QED, this is a good book.

Bromance Status: Old Veterans’ Home

Nothing like cracking open a good book and reliving the Battle of Skeleton Town. I was there you know. I fought there. I have stories. Want to hear my stories?

FTC full disclosure: I got a free copy of this book from the author (and he got one of mine). No money exchanged hands.

Brian wrote his first YA novel when he was down and out in Mexico. He now lives in Missouri with his wonderful wife and daughter. He divides his time between writing and working as a school librarian. Brian still misses the preachy YA books of the eighties.