Renegades by Marissa Meyer

Renegades by Marissa Meyer is a story of Superheroes and Supervillains, a premise that continues to fascinate  and attract people (like me) with each new adaptation of the epic battle between good versus evil.

Because I’d so recently read Brandon Sanderson’s Steelheart, I was a little skeptical going into this story. Both are about supervillains, and at first glance the premises seemed oddly similar. But thankfully, Meyer’s Renegades takes this premise for a new spin, with two narrators: one from the villain league, the Anarchists, and one from the hero’s group, the Renegades. These two narrators from opposite ideologies find their preconceived notions of the world and how it should be run challenged, and they begin to find who they are and who they want to be as well as the difference they want to make in the world.

I enjoyed Meyer’s exploration of two opposite ideologies, the roots of which you can see in our own political sphere. I also enjoyed her exploration of themes such as: the importance of family and friends, the connection between freedom and safety, and the value of independence.

While I was very impressed with Meyer’s main characters and the connection I felt to both of them despite their differences, I was a little disappointed with her antagonists. Meyer relied a lot on insanity to explain certain villain’s actions which felt like lazy storytelling at times.

Overall, this book left me with more questions than answers, but I am looking forward to reading the next and final one in November.

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“Steelheart” an intro to Brandon Sanderson and Supervillains

Ten years ago, Calamity came. It was a burst in the sky that gave ordinary men and women extraordinary powers. The awed public started calling them Epics. But Epics are no friend of man. With incredible gifts came the desire to rule. And to rule man you must crush his will.
Nobody fights the Epics…nobody but the Reckoners. A shadowy group of ordinary humans, they spend their lives studying Epics, finding their weaknesses, and then assassinating them.
And David wants in. He wants Steelheart — the Epic who is said to be invincible. The Epic who killed David’s father. For years, like the Reckoners, David’s been studying, and planning — and he has something they need. Not an object, but an experience.
He’s seen Steelheart bleed. And he wants revenge.

Brandon Sanderson is a big name fantasy author, and for a couple years now I’ve been dragging my feet to read any of his things. Mostly because a lot of his books are super long (Way of Kings is 1,007 pages), and I prefer to read books that I can finish within a week. However, after some urging from my husband, I decided that I would give his YA books a chance since they are much more manageable.

So I picked up Steelheart and was blown away. This is a great book. Full of fantastic world building, hilarious narration, a good ensemble cast, and plenty of surprise twists and turns that I thought I was expecting, but really wasn’t.

One of Sanderson’s biggest strengths is his world-building. He is talented at furnishing his stories with details of the world without bogging down the story or characters. In Steelheart takes place in a world much like our own, except that in this world, a star appeared in the sky that turned people into supervillains. In that, Sanderson takes something that has been done time and time again (X-Men, Marvel, DC) and turns it into something different. This isn’t your normal superhero story, this is a story where there are no superheroes. Only supervillains and regular people trying to stand up to them, and it was really good.

Another reason it is so good is due to the fluid writing and clever characterizations. Steelheart is written in first-person, and the narrator is hilarious. David is a quirky, persuasive and optimistic young man who has a lot of trouble with metaphors. Seeing the story through his eyes made me snort a lot, and laugh out loud almost as much. Honestly, in a book that is so action packed I was really surprised that it was so funny.

All in all, this is a great, fun book, full of super powers, misguided metaphors, quirky characters, and even a little romance.

5 Stars.