Marissa Meyer has constructed a detailed future world where anarchy has finally lost to the Reign of the Renegades – a group of virtuous superheroes. Although, for the Anarchists who once ran Galton City, there is a simmering discontentment as they plot to take down the Renegades by using with their new weapon – Nova, or Nightmare.
In a bid to take down the Renegades, Nova infiltrates their ranks; however, when she is taken in by Adrian’s team, a boy with secrets of his own, her loyalties are tested. The line between who is really good in this battle between good and evil comes to head. Things aren’t always black and white.
Meyer’s dystopian novel highlights the current fear of a totalitarian government who means well but the inherent corruption in leadership prevents them from creating a functioning society. She portrays the dependence on government but also the pitfalls of anarchy, with those who advocate for it acting as a terrorist faction.
Despite taking the first half of the book to world build, which caused it to drag in places, Meyer has created diverse characters which reflect our current society. Her characterisation made the reader empathise with the moral conflicts of both Nova and Adrian whose loyalty and trust are tested. The relationships between characters never felt forced and with a palpable chemistry and tenderness among them, making Renegades an easy read.
Meyers focuses on character mentality through a dual point of view which allowed the reader to have a constant insight into both Nova and Adrian’s worldviews. The two protagonists have distinct voices and are easy to empathise with. Their attempts to understand their unravelling world feels reminiscent of every young person navigating our politically contentious world.
Despite this, the book occasionally read like a retelling of a superhero movie, with recycled catchphrases and predictability. There was no new spin on existing formulas and tropes either. There was the constant thought in the back of the mind that I’d seen this before. It ended on a cliff hanger. From the very beginning, it was clear that Meyer planned to make a series out of it; therefore, there was little conclusion to the conflict.
A must read for superhero lovers, dystopian fans and those who adore good character development. 3.5/ 5 stars
Georgina Banfield is currently studying a Bachelor of Arts majoring in English at Flinders University. When she’s not reading, writing or listening to podcasts she can be found looking at conspiracy theories and true crime. She loves anything to do with history, literature and unsolved mysteries.