Hey beautiful! Today I’m going to review a trilogy I picked up in January: Renegades by Marissa Meyer. I gotta say, I’ve liked most everything of hers that I’ve read, so I had high hopes for this trilogy. Her first book that I read was Heartless, and I absolutely loved it. If you’ve read it, you know the ending, and will understand why I cried for three days after finishing it.
Anyway, Heartless set the bar high. I liked the Lunar Chronicles well enough, though I did find them a bit boring at parts (and everyone ended up dating someone at the end which I thought was unrealistic).
When I saw Renegades at a local secondhand book store (2nd and Charles— they have several locations and are amazing if you live close to one), I couldn’t wait to read it. I finished the entire trilogy a month or two ago, and now that I’ve had time to digest it a bit, I’m ready to review.
Without further ado, here’s my review!
Renegades, Archenemies, and Supernova by Marissa Meyer
First of all, if you’re a die-hard Lunar Chronicles Marissa Meyer fan, this series will probably be very hit or miss for you. It has an incredibly different vibe (tone?) than TLC. However, if you’re like me, you’ll love it.
I’m going to try and go by my three main categories as I review this series, but be warned: I have a lot to say and will probably go down a few rabbit trails along the way.
There may be a few spoilers, but I’ll try my hardest to avoid anything major.
I thought the plot for this series was, overall, excellent. It lended itself to a few tropes or predictable scenes from time to time. That didn’t change my opinion of the book much because I think that plot twists should be at least a little foreseeable in order to be believable.
The worldbuilding worked decently well. I would have liked a bit more information about the era before the time of the book because a lot of the plot hinges on it. Meyer sets up the story by telling us that superpowered anarchists overran society a few decades ago to free the people from an evil government (at least, that was my interpretation). A group of renegade superheroes came in to defeat the anarchists and set up a new form of government with themselves at its head. This doesn’t really spoil anything, as it’s all told right at the beginning of the book and is necessary to understand what I want to say next.
The dynamic of the two battling powers (Anarchists and Renegades) is very complicated and one of the most intriguing aspects of the plot. Neither group is perfect; they both have made poor decisions and are corrupted. Their main point of contention is their ideology for what a perfect society is. The two main characters of the series belong to different sides of this war, so we see that both have their merits and their issues. Showing both perspectives was, in my opinion, a brilliant move on Meyer’s part because it allows us to see past the classic Hero/Villain dualism that’s shown in many superhero stories.
Considering I liked just the setup for this story so much, I had high hopes for the rest of the plot. As a general rule, I wasn’t too disappointed, though there were a few things that frustrated me (not just because I was worried about the characters or anything, but more because I thought Meyer could have done better).
I give the plot 4/5 stars.
Okay. I think one of the areas Meyer tends to really shine in is characters. The two main characters, Nova and Adrian, are very well developed and complex. They do grow over the course of the series, which is something I’m always looking out for. Nova does make some dumb decisions, despite the fact that she should know better; however, I always felt like Meyer showed Nova’s motivation well enough that I understood why she acts the way she does. Motivation is especially important in a superhero/villain story, and I think Meyer did a wonderful job with that aspect.
This book’s tone is a lot grittier than TLC or Heartless, and the main characters are definitely flawed. This is important because it maintains the aspect of reality and relatability in a story that is so outside of our everyday experience. Though this is a good quality to have in writing, Meyer leaned into it a bit too much at parts, and the characters were occasionally unlikable (and not just the villains). Despite this minor problem, I fell in love with most of the characters, including the supporting characters (gosh I loved Ruby and Oscar so much). Everyone generally stays true to their motivation and their actions fit their character. The lack of morals in some of the villains did add an element of surprise when trying to figure out what their next move would be.
There were also lots of physically disabled characters, which I thought was cool. Several of the characters with superpowers had a physical problem of some kind. For instance, Ruby, whose blood forms sharp crystalline weapons, has a permanently unhealed wound in her abdomen, and Oscar, who can manipulate smoke, has to use a cane. I appreciate that Meyer makes an effort to put disabled characters in her stories. It gives disabled kids representation and makes the world more realistic.
I give characters 4/5 stars.
If any section could potentially have spoilers, it’s this one. I’ll try to avoid any major plot twists.
Okay. I appreciated the fact that there was real danger and some very real casualties. I didn’t get that in the Lunar Chronicles, and it felt weird because of the supposed “high stakes” of the story. There were similarly high stakes in this story, and I think the casualties and serious injuries that main characters had to deal with accurately reflected the problems they were facing.
The plot twist about who killed Nova’s parents was, I must say, predictable. And not just in a way that was in character. It was so predictable, I couldn’t believe Nova hadn’t realized already. *Spoilers in the next paragraph*
Speaking of that supposed plot twist, it really ruined the whole idea of both Anarchists and Renegades having some good in them. Throughout the whole series, we were shown how anarchy has its benefits, as does government by renegades. This plot twist, though, and its implications, really trashed the whole idea of Anarchists having any good in them. It didn’t make sense to me after how much work Meyer had put into making us believe otherwise. It felt counter intuitive.
The ending was very satisfying otherwise. I really liked the relationships we ended up with, and one of the unexpected heroes of the story really shone in the finale.
Overall, I give the ending 3.5/5 stars.
I love this trilogy so, so much and recommend it to a lot of my friends. My rating is 4 out of 5 stars.
Have you read Renegades? What did you think? Do you think my review is accurate? Let me know in the comments!
Have an adventurous day!