Renegades by Marissa Meyer
Summary from Goodreads:
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.
I have seen some mixed reviews of this book, most people seemed to either really love it or thought it was too cliched and a rip off of many other superhero stories that are out there. Yes, there are many similarities between this book and other similar stories and movies, but I would like to say that most superhero stories are the same as any others. The names and abilities may change, but they all basically have the same story of good vs. evil and not much else in between. I really liked Renegades, not for the superhero aspect of it, but because of the characters and the plot. Also the world that Marissa Meyer has created in this book, is fascinating as are some of the abilities the characters have.
Nova is a unique character. She feels that the Renegades have wronged her because of the death of her family, and she believes in what the Anarchists stand for, but she is also conflicted with how they go about achieving those goals. Adrian brings a lot of her doubts to the surface as their friendship and attraction to each other grows. Adrian is also a character with a lot of self doubt and conflicting beliefs, maybe not as many as Nova, but they are still there. I think this is why he keeps what he has discovered about his own ability a secret from the Renegades.
The plot is pretty typical of this genre, but there are some good twists and turns that were not entirely expected that will keep you on your toes. The different abilities of some of the prodigies are unique and fascinating. There are slow parts, but some of those are more due to the world building than anything else. This world has a rich and complex history which is doled out in small doses throughout the book, which can make for some slow parts. I really like the contrasts between the times when the Anarchists were in charge to when the Renegades are. There really isn’t much difference except things are a little bit more orderly under the Renegades. The people’s attitudes toward all prodigies is interesting as well. There are still people who see them as freaks and some one to fear, not necessarily help. I really liked Nova’s thoughts concerning non-prodigies:
“If people wanted to stand up for themselves or protect their loved ones or do what they believe in their hearts is the right thing to do, then they would do it. If they wanted to be heroic, they would find ways to be heroic, even without supernatural powers.” … “It’s easy to say you want to be a hero, but the truth is most people are lazy and complacent.”
Overall I thought this was an excellent story about superheroes and villains and how sometimes you can’t tell the difference between the two.
“Hero or villain, all prodigies were powerful. All prodigies were dangerous.”