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Renegade (The Elysium Chronicles) Hardcover – November 13, 2012

4.4 out of 5 stars 78 customer reviews
Book 1 of 3 in the Elysium Chronicles Series

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 7 Up-Evelyn Winters's life is just about perfect-or so she's been brainwashed to believe. As Daughter of the People of Elysium, an underwater utopia, she seemingly lives a life of luxury. The Leader of the People, her Mother, is training her to take over one day and manage the isolated community. When Gavin, a Surface Dweller, infiltrates Elysium, everything Evie's ever been taught begins to unravel. Her memories can't be right. Her life, her Law, her world, isn't perfect. Scores of people who have created "problems" are simply killed-and Mother is behind it all. Evie has to escape. Renegade is a creepier, underwater version of the Society in Ally Condie's Matched (Dutton, 2010). Souders creates an unsettling tone with the repetition of Evie's rote internal dialogue. First in a trilogy, Renegade is another dark and exciting YA novel about how striving for perfection leads to murder and manipulation. The love story between Gavin and Evie is lackluster, but the action mostly makes up for it. A solid recommendation for fans of dystopian fiction.-Emily Chornomaz, Camden County Library System, NJα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

In the underwater utopia Elysium, 16-year-old Evelyn Winter’s life is “nearly perfect.” After all, she is the coddled, trained, and admired Daughter of the People, chosen for her ideal genes to lead Elysium’s inhabitants. So why does Evie occasionally have strange, disjointed flashbacks and the feeling that she is often forgetting something? When surface dweller Gavin Hunter accidentally stumbles upon Evie’s world, everything that Evie thought she knew about herself, her land, and the woman she calls Mother is turned upside down. Will Evie’s training help or hinder her quest for the truth? The romance between Evie and Gavin falls a little flat, with an unlikely speed to their relationship and the unnecessary inclusion of a mild love triangle. Still, Souders’ exciting, suspenseful, and action-packed debut novel will be a welcome addition to any library’s dystopia collection. Hand this to fans of Suzanne Collins, Veronica Roth, and Scott Westerfeld. Grades 8-11. --Candice Mack

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Product Details

  • Series: The Elysium Chronicles (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Teen (November 13, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765332450
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765332455
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.2 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (78 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,791,284 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
~Thank you to TorTeen for this ARC!~

I had very high hopes for Renegade, I'm not going to lie. It sounded almost too good to be true. I'm a sucker for stories that play with genetics, and--despite the obvious choice of love interest--the storyline looked unique and interesting.

I hate when I don't get everything that I'm hoping for.

Renegade starts off ridiculously creepy. Like, good creepy. So fantastically creepy. Souders uses an interesting technique between chapters that excellently shows off how Evie's mind is being altered by her mother. You are shown Mother's cruelty right away as well, which sets the tone for the rest of the book. Don't be fooled by the pretty cover; Renegade doesn't shy away from blood and killing.

Things start to break down right around when Gavin, the Surface Dweller, is introduced. No, I'm not saying this just because I found their love story cliché. (I did, but that's not the point.) The sessions where Evie is "interrogating" him are clearly an info dump opportunity so that we can learn more about the world, and I have no idea why they weren't shot on spot right away. There is no way that Mother has all these security features and doesn't have microphones in her jail cells.

It's at this point that information starts to get jumbled. Souders has created a very complex world, and in the end that does her a disservice. A few too many things are glossed over or left unexplained entirely. A few key plot points are fixed almost magically. Certain characters turn bipolar and their actions make no sense.

I guess being frustrated that I never completely understood the world or the technology is sort of a good thing. After all, it means I was invested enough to want to know.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I. Heart. This. Book. Seriously. I heart Jessica for writing it. I had like an EPIC blast reading it and I can't wait for more EPIC Gavin book two!!! I mean this book had everything I could possibly want in a YA novel. Suspense, a crazy amazing bad guy, a hot boy, romance, action, secrets around every corner, a crazy ending.....ack! This book will always be in my heart. From this day on now and forever more...yeah we get it. ALWAYS. End of story.

I thought that the idea behind this book was very intriguing. Not so much the dystopia aspect, but the underwater aspect. Why? It's NOT ABOUT MERMAIDS! Phew! Not that I have anything against mermaids, but it's kinda hard to find a non-cliche mermaid book at least in some aspects.... okay moving on. Anyway it's this big glass dome underwater! Totally like when you're in an aquarium and there's the big glass wall so you can look at fish and sharks...except this time it's the whole ocean, and if it breaks you are DEAD. Kinda awesome right? (Not the dead part of course.) So there...

Anyway, it's an insane picture in your head, with Nemo and Dori swimming above you and whales trying to eat them, and beneath the glass you have a monster. Named MOTHER. Personally, I think that Mother is one of the BEST villains I have EVER READ lately. She's intense and villainy, yes, but she has a good connection to Evie and that is why it works so well! And I think that naming her Mother was a stroke of genius, it shows that connection. It gave Evelyn a struggle to accept the fact that the villain is someone normally so close to her. Hands down she's extraordinaire. And we know how I feel about extraordinaire

Time for Evie. Nice little perfect Evie in a perfect world. I liked her.
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Format: Hardcover
3.5 stars

'We are all Mother's children. It is a privilege to show her our ultimate obedience to her laws.'

Evelyn Winters is the Daughter of the People in the underwater world of Elysium. She is a flawless specimen with ideal genes perfectly suited to create flawless children. Mother has worked hard to solidify Evelyn's perfection and the perfection of all citizens in Elysium. Mother will do anything and everything to make sure this remains so. All is not as it appears in Elysium. Look carefully, beyond the perfection.... and you'll see the malevolence hidden closely beneath the surface.

'Greed has poisoned men's souls. Surface Dwellers have destroyed what was once beautiful and turned it into a ghostly illusion of what they call peace. But down here, we have real peace. There will be no fear, or sickness, hunger, hate, or greed. We have created our Utopia. And it is magnificent.'

Evelyn is told from an early age that her people escaped to Elysium to hide from the evil Surface Dwellers that war with one another but when a Surface Dweller manages to breach Elysium Evelyn can't help but be intrigued by him. His name is Gavin and with his help Evelyn realizes that the very world she lives in is a complete lie.

An underwater utopia? How. Awesome. I loved the descriptions and details of how everything worked and how people managed to not only survive but to truly thrive and be completely self-sufficient under the sea. I would have loved for it to be explained more in detail in the beginning rather than a conversation between Evelyn and Gavin when he'd ask a question here and there. I believe an introduction in the beginning on the underwater society would have been better.
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