Title: Renegade (The Elysium Chronicles #1)
Author: J.A. Souders
Release Date: November 13th 2012
Publisher: Tor Teen
Pages: 352 (hardcover)
Source: ARC from author (won at Fragments of Life)
Since the age of three, sixteen-year-old Evelyn Winters has been trained to be Daughter of the People in the underwater utopia known as Elysium. Selected from hundreds of children for her ideal genes, all her life she’s thought that everything was perfect; her world. Her people. The Law.
But when Gavin Hunter, a Surface Dweller, accidentally stumbles into their secluded little world, she’s forced to come to a startling realization: everything she knows is a lie.
Her memories have been altered.
Her mind and body aren’t under her own control.
And the person she knows as Mother is a monster.
Together with Gavin she plans her escape, only to learn that her own mind is a ticking time bomb... and Mother has one last secret that will destroy them all.
Renegade was one of the few books that had me cursing a lot, from page one till the dreaded last. I don't remember my expectations when I began reading this book, or if I even had one, but it certainly kept on surprising me, hence the cursing. Mother would have been displeased.
Evelyn's, or Evie, life is just about perfect. Mother, the leader of Elysium - a self-sufficent underwater city - had chosen her to be the Daughter of the People, and has been training to be the future leader ever since she could remember. She lives a peaceful life of routine until the day Gavin, a Surface Dweller, chances upon Elysium.
Evie was a great heroine. She was beautiful inside and out, smart, and curious. However, I also pitied her; whenever she did something that had Mother raising an eyebrow, her memories would be altered and by the time she wakes up, she'd be her loyal pet again. But I don't hold her inconsistent personality against her because it was evilly fun to see her struggle between who she is and who she's made to be.
Thank Mother for Gavin. If I were him, I'd be terrified to bits upon stumbling into Elysium and being thrown into prison. But no, he faced them bravely. The lack of depth to him disappointed me, but I'm sure we'll know him more in the second book.
Unfortunately, their romance teetered close to insta-love. When Gavin was trying to run away from the Guards, he entered Evie's garden and instead of reporting him, she tried to help him. I know she's like The Little Mermaid who wants to know more about the Surface, but I expected her to be afraid of him, especially because back then, she still believed Mother's lies about the dangers of mingling with Surface Dwellers.
But I'd be lying if I said I didn't like their relationship, which reminded me of Divergent by Veronica Roth's Fourtris, only Gavin depended a lot on Evie because he didn't know anything about Elysium. Anyway, the chemistry was there, and they swooned their way to my fickle heart.
Overall, reading Renegade was an exhilarating ride of brilliant pace and plentiful action. I would have finished it in one sitting, but I had to stop because I couldn't handle more of Mother's twisted, abhorring secrets. Although a lot of questions were unanswered, the ending had me pulling my hair and anxious for the sequel!
MY FAVORITE PART was when Evie discovered the truth about her bad-ass past.
(photo and summary from Goodreads.com)