Review Of Renegade by J.A. Souders

Underwater people disturbed by a Surface dweller.

Interesting premise, isn’t it?  The entire time I was reading, I couldn’t help but think of Disney’s “The Little Mermaid.”  But “Renegade” is far from a charming Disney tail and, unfortunately, there were no mermaids.  (A romance between tail fins and human legs–that’d definitely be different!  Someone write it, please.)

Pros of Renegade

  1. Souders did a skilled job with crafting the plot, I thought.  The story was slow when it needed to be, and accelerated toward the end in a style that I personally like.  Twists had a unique way of sneaking out, and I didn’t predict the ending!  (That’s a huge pro for me since I read a lot.  If it’s predictable, I drop it.)
  2. Who doesn’t like the name Gavin Hunter?
  3. Gavin had some things to say that made me laugh out loud.

With that said, I’d also like to mention this was Souder’s debut novel.  It seems she’s written much more along this same story line since then.  Toward the end of “Renegade,” I decided I wasn’t a fan, at least not of the writing.  Here’s why:

Cons of Renegade

  1. This was probably the biggest point for me–I couldn’t see the story world.  I felt like I was in this elaborate setting all the time, but I only got glimpses and was never able to fully immerse myself in the story world.  If not for the map on the first pages, then I would’ve quit reading this book early on.
  2. I found the writing rather dry.  I kept reading because I thought the story was so interesting.
  3. I found the first person narrator to be equally dry.  This book didn’t have a YA tone to it.  But, I will say, it was nice to see a narrator who did not have a hateful relationship with her parents on the first few pages.
  4. I felt like I was deprived of a lot of the story, and some of that could’ve been solved by having Gavin and Evie swap narrative chapters.  Since I qualify as a Surface dweller, it would’ve been nice to see the story world through a surface dweller pair of eyes.
  5. My stars, the romance was terrible, like I imagine what I’d find in a cheap paperback novel with a half-naked man on the front.  You know what I’m talking about?  Okay, maybe not that bad, since I’ve never actually read one of those cheap romance novels, but still, the romance in this screamed faked and too perfect for me.  Things were flawless, the couples’ first fight came at a formulated time, and this really didn’t click with me.
  6. (SPOILER) I didn’t really connect the dots with why it was useful to have Evie be a previous Enforcer.  This was the only plot point I didn’t like because it just seemed thrown in there to make the story longer and more convenient.  And, I don’t care how tough she is, she wouldn’t be running with a bullet hole in her arm.  Period.  If she does, the author needs to show me how it hurts like hell, and Souders didn’t do that for me.

I’m interested to see if Renegade’s sequel is in the library next time I visit.  Sometimes I’ve known authors’ writing to improve dramatically by their second book.  In Souders’ case, I hope that happened.

If you do pick up Renegade, read the first few chapters and see what you think.  If it’s not clicking with you either, read the last chapter (because that’s really all you need), put it back on the shelf, and go grab the second book.

Want to see more of J.A. Souders?  Click here for the link to her site.

Happy reading!

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