Book Review: RENEGADES by Marissa Meyer

Title in white on blue-grey graphic of two people back to back with skyscraper in between them
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Age Range: YA
Star Rating: 4.5/5 stars
Series: Yes - first book of trilogy



Secret identities. Extraordinary powers.

She wants vengeance. He wants justice.

The Renegades are a syndicate of prodigies―humans with extraordinary abilities―who emerged from the ruins of a crumbled society and established peace and order where chaos reigned. As champions of justice, they remain a symbol of hope and courage to everyone . . . except the villains they once overthrew.

Nova has a reason to hate the Renegades, and she is on a mission for vengeance. As she gets closer to her target, she meets Adrian, a Renegade boy who believes in justice―and in Nova. But Nova’s allegiance is to a villain who has the power to end them both.

Synopsis taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.


I love this book – a teen superhero book where the main character is on the villain’s side, and yet never feels like an anti-hero. There’s a web of loyalties, conflicting world views (and I agreed with both sides!) and enough secret identities to always be on edge that someone is about to be discovered.

My absolute favourite thing about RENEGADES is the super powers. Think of all your traditional superhero powers, then throw them out the window. Meyer clearly had a whale of a time thinking up inventive, unusual powers.

Nova has the power all bookworms want – she doesn’t sleep, and doesn’t get tired. How many books could we read with an extra 8 hours a day? Sure, she uses it to build weapons and train, but I’m not a superhero – or super-villain. I’d just read. It’s also so much fun to see the lead ‘superhero’ not have a superpower as such, not one that takes down her enemies. She’s fighting with wits, inventions and lots of training. It really helps build and reinforce her world view about the problems caused by superheroes.

Adrian can turn drawings into reality – and the applications are so much fun. From mini dinosaurs to weapons, to giving himself additional powers. Other powers are equally inventive – Danna can turn into a swarm of butterflies, Ingrid can create energy bombs, Ruby bleeds jewel-like stones and Leroy secretes poison.

By not relying on traditional power – like flight or super-strength – for the leads, the book has so much more tension. Everyone’s power has weaknesses and limitations, so the characters have to use their powers in creative ways. No one feels overpowered, able to solve a problem instantly or defeat their enemies with a single glare *cough most comic book movies cough*. The fight scenes aren’t about who can punch hardest, but who can think fastest – or have a trick up their sleeves. And the actual fights are such a small part of the book.

The plot is a delicious mix of conflicting investigations – and priorities – from Nova and Adrian, as well as their respective organisations.

Nova is an Anarchist, the super-villain group who lost to the Renegades a decade ago. She infiltrates the Renegades to bring them down from the inside and direct them away from the ragtag remains of the Anarchists. The Renegades are hunting her super-villain alter ego – Nightmare – because she’s bested them before.

Adrian wants to bring the Anarchists to justice – and find Nightmare who might know something about his mother’s murder. Not to mention he’s trying to hide his new powers and own secret identity as the Sentinel. The Sentinel was supposed to help the Renegades fight crime more effectively, but backfires, prompting the Renegades to hunt for him too.

This basic premise is as fun as it sounds, which a lead on each side of the Renegade/Anarchist divide and with their own agendas. It’s leads to some really tense scenes when identities could be revealed, conflicting loyalties in fights and an exploration of what the consequences of a super-powered world would be. This discussion, woven into the fabric of the story, was so interesting.

Of course, with a male and female lead on opposing sides, they’re going to be attracted to one another. Luckily, it’s such a small part of the story and they never address it. It’s simply another complication in the web of loyalties – and they really do have chemistry.

I am rather sad they’ve changed the UK covers from the one above – which I adore – to a variation on the US. Oh well, such is the way of publishing.

Now onwards to ARCHENEMIES, which is published this week in the UK! *squeal*

Read my reviews of other books by Marissa Meyer

Renegades (this series):



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