Thursday, 25 January 2018

Renegades, by Marissa Meyer


Ms Meyer is the author of the very successful Lunar Chronicles series, her marvellous ‘adaptation’ of our most beloved fairy tales (see review below); this time she tackles SuperHeroes with the same gusto and flair – reading this was like racing through an exciting, fabulous comic without the illustrations – and with Ms Meyer’s writing talent, who needs pictures?

In a future riven by war and anarchy, a group of Super Prodigies restores order where there was chaos, justice and laws to combat criminality, and peace to a fractured world society. They call themselves the Renegades; each have a particular power of their own and they have used these gifts to triumph over the Anarchists, groups of criminal gangs who reduced the country’s population to poverty and starvation. As the Renegades’ power and success grew, so did a mantra: ‘If you need them, call the Renegades: they will come’.

But that is not always true, as six year-old Nova Artino discovers when hitmen from the Roaches gang murder her parents and baby sister because her father refuses to make weapons for them anymore. She has called for the Renegades but no-one came except her Uncle Alec – too late to save her family but in time to save her and kill the assassin. Nova’s childhood ends that night, but her Uncle keeps her safe; he is her island in a sea of sadness, her protector even though he is known as Ace Anarchy, leader of the Anarchists and sworn enemy of the Renegades. (Still with me? Pay attention, it’s worth it!)

During the decade that follows, Nova meets other Anarchists, all prodigies as she is, all with a particular super talent: the Detonator can make bombs from blue light issuing from her fingertips; Queen Bee has complete control of bees, hornets and wasps, guaranteeing some very nasty stings, and no-one would ever want to meet Phobia, ghostly instigator of your worst nightmares. They have all sworn to destroy the Renegades, especially since the defeat and loss of their leader, Ace in the last great battle that the Renegades won. But how?

Until the plan to infiltrate the Renegades’ echelons takes shape: Nova can enter the Renegade Trials which are held every year for Prodigies; if she is successful she can undermine the organisation from within, become a Super Spy for the Anarchists and provide enough information to mount successful assassination attacks on Captain Chromium and the Dread Warden, the Renegade leaders: ah, revenge will be SO sweet – until her successful integration into the Renegades reveals that not all of them are villains. She finds the double game she is playing dangerous indeed, especially when team leader Adrian starts to show his feelings.

The action is non-stop and there are even some curly moral questions concerning the nature of good and evil, and what really makes someone heroic. Like all Ms Meyer’s stories, ‘Renegades’ is a page-turner extraordinaire; the story ends on a cliffhanger, and the concluding volume will be published at the end of this year. Can’t come soon enough!

FIVE STARS

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