A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Renegades is the first book in a two-book superhero series by Marissa Meyer, the best-selling author of the Lunar Chronicles series and Heartless. As in every first intro to a superhero world, you'll find the main characters had a rough start. When she was 6, Nova watched her parents shot in front of her and heard her baby sister being killed. She's raised by villains. Adrian's superhero mother dies, and he's raised by a superhero dad couple. A war between superheroes and villains nine years before killed many and is discussed often. Battles in the present involve guns with real bullets (killing two), tranquilizer guns laced with poison (almost killing one), stun guns (stunning many), and various superpowers that wield stingers (temporarily paralyzing some, causing pain to others), bombs (causing much damage), fire (severely burning one), and poisonous gases (killing some). Readers are offered much food for thought on what could happen if society broke down and how hard it would be to maintain a balance between personal freedoms and safety and order.
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What's the story?
In RENEGADES, Nova lives with a small band of anarchists in the subway tunnels, just waiting for their chance to strike out against the Renegade superheroes who run the city of Gatlon. They seize their moment at a parade and Nova, aka Nightmare, takes aim at Captain Chromium from a high building and barely misses. As she flees, she encounters a new superhero on the rooftop: the Sentinel. He fights with fire and can leap high in the air, and his suit is nearly indestructible. Nova escapes with her life that day, and also with a new purpose. She must find out who this Sentinel is and how he possessed all those powers. She worries that the Renegades are using their labs to create super soldiers, and she figures the only way to uncover and sabotage the program is to turn spy and infiltrate their ranks. Meanwhile, the Sentinel, aka Adrian, hides his suit -- from everyone, but especially the Renegades -- and heads home to check on his dad, Captain Chromium. He is upset that Nightmare slipped away from him, and he's determined to find out everything he can to bring her to justice.
Is it any good?
This "if X-men types ran the government" story keeps the often explored superhero genre fresh enough with unique superpowers, spies, and double-crosses, and many layers of secrets. Readers may find it a little hard to dig into this world at first. So many superheroes and supervillains are introduced, it's hard to keep them straight as you learn about the war between them. It doesn't help that they all have real names and their alter-ego names and different powers.
A little frustration is worth it, however, when the main character, Nova, turns spy. The story builds from here, adding tension -- will Nova be found out? -- and adding more sympathetic notes to Nova's character. How long will she be bent on revenge as she learns more about her supposed enemies? And about Adrian. Their love story doesn't get far, which may disappoint readers of author Marissa Meyer's Lunar Chronicles series. They know she usually delivers a stellar romantic storyline. There's much romantic room to grow and many secrets to unveil in the next installment.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what each side is fighting for in Renegades. Is one side all right or all wrong? What prejudices get in the way of each side seeing the other more fairly?
How does the world of Renegades compare with other superhero worlds you've read about in books or seen in movies?
How do you think Nova and Adrian will change in the second and final book?
- Author: Marissa Meyer
- Genre: Fantasy
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Sports and Martial Arts, Superheroes, Misfits and Underdogs, Puppets
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
- Publication date: November 7, 2017
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 12 - 18
- Number of pages: 576
- Available on: Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
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