Book Review: “Renegades” (No Spoilers)

From heroes and villains, to anti-heroes and vigilantes, “Renegades” by Marissa Meyer has it all. As the first book in the series, it sets the scene for a exciting trilogy, where the right answer isn’t always clear.

Prodigies-humans with extraordinary abilities- were feared for centuries. They were feared, hunted, and oppressed, and even thought to be witches and demons.

Ace Anarchy-one of the most powerful prodigies in the world- demanded change. He found companionship with a group called the Anarchists in Gatlon City, and his influence quickly spread around the globe. Villain gangs started arising everywhere and chaos ensued, thus beginning the Age of Anarchy. Government buildings fell, villain gangs ruled the world, and it was everyone, prodigy or not, for themselves.

For twenty years, the Age of Anarchy overruled Gatlon City. That was until a new group rose up. A group of heroes, called the Renegades. They rebuilt and restored the world, starting with Gatlon.

“Renegades” opens with Nova Artino, a six year old inventor and prodigy who has the power to put others to sleep, in her apartment along with her mother, father, and baby sister. Nova wakes up to a door slamming in her home and, upon investigation, finds a mercenary. Her father urges her to go hide, and Nova runs. She finds a closet and tells herself the Renegades will come, just like her father promised they would.

Eventually, the mercenary finds her, and she puts him to sleep out of panic. Nova stands over him at the same time her uncle- Ace Anarchy- walks into the apartment. He deals with the mercenary, and takes Nova to safety.

Ten years later, everything is different in Gatlon City. Most of the city is rebuilt, and the city is now run by a government made up of the five members of the Renegade Council, and protected by the Renegades. A now 16 year old Nova has a reason to hate the Renegades. They made a promise to protect her and her family, but failed to keep it.

The Renegade Parade is an annual celebration of the Renegades’ victory over Ace Anarchy nine years ago. Nova, along with the Anarchists, plans to get her revenge today.

On her way to her position, Nova gets stopped by a girl who steals her bracelet. A Renegade boy, Adrian, stops the girl. With his power to make anything he draws real, he fixes the bracelet and returns it to Nova.

Due to the altercation, Nova is delayed and her team believes they lost their chance. However, Nova gets into position at the last second, and lines up her shot on the Renegade Captain. When the time comes, though, she hesitates on pulling the trigger, and misses.

After missing their chance at revenge, the Anarchists have to think of another plan of action. Leroy, one of the Anarchists, points out that none of the Renegades know who Nova is, like they do the rest of the Anarchists. He suggests that Nova join the Renegades and take them down from the inside.

Some time and a lot of fake documents later, Nova Artino is now Nova McLain. She takes part in the Renegade Trials, an event where prodigies can try out in front of Renegade teams to see if they have what it takes to be a hero. After proving herself in a duel against a powerful prodigy, she gets accepted onto Adrian’s team.

As Nova finds her way around her newfound position in the Renegades, she also has to deal with Adrian, someone who believes in justice, and also in Nova.

“Renegades” is a daunting novel with everything a science-fiction lover could ask for. Right and wrong is never black and white, and Meyer captures the grey perfectly. With the Anarchists relying on her and the Renegades seemingly always on the verge of figuring out her identity, Nova has to navigate this grey area. Throughout the entire novel the same question begs: do you have what it takes to be a hero?