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Renegade (Elysium Chronicles) (edition 2012)

by J.A. Souders

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1811965,444 (3.83)7
Member:jennrenae
Title:Renegade (Elysium Chronicles)
Authors:J.A. Souders
Info:Tor Teen (2012), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover, 368 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
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Renegade (The Elysium Chronicles) by J.A. Souders

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Evie lives in Elysium, a utopian complex under the ocean, safe from the barbaric world of the Surface Dwellers. Here, everything Evelyn wants is provided, as long as it is the framework of Mother's directive. Someday she will become Mother to Elysium and she must learn her duties. Right now her primary duty is to select a Couple-Mate so that she can bear an heir that will succeed her. One day while walking in her garden a strange-looking boy stumbles across her path and sets in motion events that will change Elysium forever.

This YA book had a lot in it that I tend to enjoy in my sci-fi stories: utopian cities, eugenics, unreliable memories, nanotech, etc. That said, I didn't love it. I wanted things elaborated on that weren't and that could be because there's a sequel. But I just don't have enough interest to read on. Best summed up as: Meh. ( )
  VictoriaPL | Mar 10, 2016 |
The story starts in the underwater city of Elysium where Evelyn Winters lives. She's the daughter of the people, her mother a sort of Governess/Empress who rules with some pretty strict laws and rules.

Most of the rules are to protect them from the surface dwellers whom the mother blames for a whole lot of things and who get characterized as warmongering monsters with no morals. Of course, that means that a surface dweller Gavin and Evelyn are bound to cross paths and they do. He drops into her gardens and ignites a curiosity in her to find out what Elysium really is, since it seems like it's not all it appears to be.

It's in the present tense, which I usually can't stand, but Souders seemed to do such a good solid job of writing it in present that at times I even forgot that it was written in present tense. I also expected it to be a little more science fiction/fantasy, but instead the main thrust of the book seemed to be a psychological thriller creepy plot with all those twists. I liked it, just didn't expect it.

Unfortunately there were things about it that I didn't like either. At times it was a bit preachy. I also couldn't really picture Elysium until the very end of the novel, which made picturing some of the action during the book a little hard.

I also had a lot of questions that were left unanswered at the end. Perhaps that's because it looks like it might be the start of a series.

I won my copy of this book from Tor Teen. ( )
  DanieXJ | Mar 5, 2015 |
I have a confession to make. I did not even know this book existed until I received its sequel from Tor Teen. I looked at the cover of this pretty hardback that I was set and wondered just what I was in for. When I saw it was the second book of the series, I looked up the first book, as any normal person would do, to see if I could get a quick overview of what had happened. I wasn't sure, you see, if I wanted to drop the cash on picking up the first one. But what I read in the summary, and what I could see of the writing in the sequel had me convinced. I needed to read the story of Evelyn and I needed to do it right, so I picked up an e-copy of Renegade by J.A. Souders and dove in.

Read the rest of this review at The Lost Entwife on Dec. 3, 2013. ( )
  TheLostEntwife | Nov 27, 2013 |
*Many thanks to Tor Teen and NetGalley for allowing early access to this title - I received a free galley in exchange for an honest review. I was not compensated in any way for this review.*

I started out LOVING this book. I thought the underwater setting was gorgeous and the whole setup was absolutely creepy. (I've been loving the creepy books lately.) Mother was one of the WORST antagonists I've ever read, and by worst, I mean she was horrible. (A horrible person, not a horribly written person, just to clarify.)

I really felt a lot of sympathy for Evie. It's obvious from the beginning that she's being terribly manipulated, but you don't really understand why. It's just one of those things that is, and you figure that it's always been that way.

As we progressed though and got to know Evie and her past, I started feeling like I was unable to suspend my disbelief any longer.

***THIS PART MAY GET SPOILERY IF YOU HAVEN'T READ THE BOOK...PROCEED AT YOUR OWN RISK***

...
...
...
...
...

I get that Evie has a past. I get that things are cloudy for her and that they'll only come back in bits and pieces. But seriously? You go from being pretty well mindless to sudden super ninja girl? I don't buy it. I'd absolutely buy her memory coming back like that, and I think that there is absolutely muscle memory involved. But to go from zero to sixty in about .05 seconds, NO. I don't believe that, not even for a second. Even with her conditioning, I feel like her body should have retained that training in some way, and not had it buried so incredibly deeply that it just popped up one day without any prior warning. I don't know. I'm a science geek, and this science just doesn't fly.

Let's talk about Coupling here for a second.

Ewww.

Government getting involved in reproduction is one of the few things guaranteed to spike my ire. Doing it in a yucky way is even more of a guarantee (remember how Bumped made me so mad I wanted to throw the book?). I do not like the idea of this. I do not like it at all. Plus, when you call is something icky like 'coupling', it makes me feel like somehow, the government (read: Mother) is going to be watching somehow. I don't want to think about cameras in my bedroom, or computer systems recording every movement, thank you very much.

Also, zombie people in the blocked off section?! PLEASE. I get why they were there. I understand that they were experiments gone wrong. But with as ruthless as we've been led to believe that Mother is, wouldn't she have just eliminated them entirely? Sure, she's using them for her own nefarious purposes, but it felt a little too contrived and too trendy to me. They didn't really fit with the feeling of the book, in my opinion. They felt forced and weird.

Also, I hate zombies. Put them in there without any warning, and I knock off points.


I feel bad that I started out loving this book and ended up having a serious love/hate relationship with it. I HATED Evie by the end. Really hated her. Couldn't muster a single bit of sympathy for her, and it's not even her fault.

*sigh*

I'll continue the series, only because I REALLY liked Gavin. He was the one character who felt real and awesome the entire time.

2.5 Eiffel Towers ( )
  emmyson | Oct 9, 2013 |
Evelyn Winters wakes up each day and pronounces: “My life is just about perfect.” Though she remembers little of her sixteen years, she knows she is special and destined to be the Daughter of the People. Her life is plush and privileged but still there are limitations on her as she gazes out at the ocean surrounding her underwater world. Why does Evelyn’s seemingly perfect life requires that she see her therapist on a regular basis and what about those tiny memories that keep flashing in her mind, making her wonder what it is that she can’t recall? Is her world the perfect utopia she’s been lead to believe? When a Surface Dweller from the land above is discovered trying to hide in her beautiful garden, she is conflicted. Both scared and intrigued by the boy, Gavin Hunter, she is drawn to him and tries to help. Mother, the supreme ruler of this land under the sea, reluctantly lets her daughter interrogate the intruder after they imprison him. Evelyn begins to learn that the world of people on land may not be like the tales of terror and barbarianism that she’s been told. Mother is the ultimate manipulator and may have the upper hand when Evelyn sides with Gavin. The book starts a little slow but the action is ratcheted up once Evelyn decides to defy her Mother and assist Gavin in escaping. The twists and turns due to the mind control and the secrets of who Evelyn really is, make for greater danger despite Evelyn’s intentions. Mother is especially horrific, making one’s skin crawl. The ending is increasingly intense as Evelyn struggles with her conditioning and her love for Gavin. It is the insidiousness of Mother’s control that is sickening and also riveting. It raises the book up a notch and teens will devour the story. ( )
  love_of_books | Aug 18, 2013 |
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Trained since the age of three to be Daughter of the People, sixteen-year-old Evelyn Winters believes her underwater world of Elysium is perfect until Gavin Hunter, a surface Dweller, stumbles into Elysium and she realizes that everything she knows is a lie perpetrated by "Mother".… (more)

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