Secret Identities. Extraordinary Powers. She wants vengeance. He wants justice.
The Renegades are a syndicate of prodigies — humans with extraordinary abilities — who emerged from the ruins of a crumbled society and established peace and order where chaos reigned. As champions of justice, they remain a symbol of hope and courage to everyone… except the villains they once overthrew.
Nova has a reason to hate the Renegades, and she is on a mission for vengeance. As she gets closer to her target, she meets Adrian, a Renegade boy who believes in justice — and in Nova. But Nova’s allegiance is to a villain who has the power to end them both.
This was fun. It was fast paced and action-packed, which you would expect from Marissa Meyer, if you’ve read any of her other books. But apart from that, I didn’t really get much out of it. It felt really forgettable, like a by-the-numbers superhero movie made in an attempt to capitalize off the MCU.
This is one of those reviews where I don’t really know what to say. I didn’t like enough to mention it. I didn’t hate enough to mention it. My reaction could be best summed up as a shrug. It was fine. I guess.
I think my biggest problem was all the superhero stuff. And I say this as someone who watches every single movie Marvel puts out. It just felt too overt. People were seriously referring to stuff as superheros and villains and everybody had a really campy name and costume. And this is an entire society! I know that’s kind of how it’s done in comics, but it just really pulled me out of the story and kept me from ever fully investing in the world and the people who lived in it.
The characters also fell a little flat for me. They weren’t terrible! They just weren’t great either. I was never fully invested in the romance, or whether Nova succeded or failed, and the secondary characters mostly stayed flat.
I also found the plot, if page-turning and entertaining, a little flimsy. There were a few twists that really shocked me but, unlike really excellent twists where as soon as they happen all these earlier clues and pieces come together and you suddenly see the big picture, these twists felt kind of unfounded and really out of left field. The general effect was less gobsmacked oh my god than a somewhat surprised wait, what?
One thing this book did do well was making the case for both the villains and the heroes. A frequent critique of superhero stories is that they are too black-and-white, good-and-bad, but Marissa Meyer did a fair job of making you understand why the villains did what they did and kind of want them to succeed as well as showing the issues with the heroes and the reasons why they might not be the best thing for everyone.
Renegades really was a mixed bag. It’s not super memorable – the plot and its twists weren’t the best thought-out, the characters were meh, and the superhero elements were a little too cheesy for me – but it’s still an entertaining read that provides a surprisingly nuanced view of its heroes and villains.