Welcome to the next stop on the Raincoast Books blog tour for Marissa Meyer’s latest book, Renegades! I am so pleased to offer a brief Q&A with Marissa regarding her writing process in addition to my review of this very heavily-anticipated 2017 read.
Remember, if you haven’t already checked it out, there is an extensive official fan site at jointherenegades.com. This new website has a “What’s Your Extraordinary Power?” quiz, a Renegade/Anarchist avatar creator, character pages, interactive discussion board, and other exclusive content. You can also take a quiz to find out if you’re a Renegade or an Anarchist – I’m a member of the Anarchists, and my power is Telekinesis. That will definitely come in handy when I move later this month!!!
Q: When you’re in the thick of writing a novel, do you dream about your characters and plot?
Marissa Meyer: Rarely do I literally dream about my worlds or characters, but daydreaming about them is an integral part of writing any book. I would argue, perhaps, the most important part of writing a book, second only to the hands-on-keyboard part! For me, daydreaming is where all the ideas come from—from small ideas, such as a witty line of dialogue or a particular character to quirk, to big ideas, such as the creation of the Sentinel or the concept behind the Age of Anarchy. They almost all start as little seeds of inspiration that begin to grow into scenes, mysteries, plot twists, and—hopefully, in the end—a complete story. Of course there’s a lot of hard work in between all the daydreaming, such as brainstorming and plotting and outlining and filling in the huge, massive gaps left behind by all those dreams, but I still find that my absolute best ideas always strike in times of quiet idleness, when my imagination is free to wander.
True confessions time: I’m a HUGE Marissa Meyer fan. I was late to the party with Cinder and Scarlet, but once discovered, I devoured those books on audio, staying in the car to catch that last chapter before I had to leave. You’ll understand how excited I was to learn about Renegades, the first book in a new series by Meyer that explores the concepts of what it means to be special, and the fine line that separates hero and villain.
One of the things I love best about Meyer’s books is that she doesn’t give you characters in black and white. Everyone you meet in her books is drawn in multiple shades of grey, and that’s never been more apparent than in this book. Nova, Adrian and everyone around them have chosen sides: Renegade or Anarchist. What fascinated me most, however, was that there really wasn’t much difference between the two. Both teams are composed of humans with extraordinary abilities, both are looking to right wrongs in society, and both think that only they are the ones to enact effect change in the world around them. They may be prodigies, but these are ultimately humans with flaws, emotions and opinions, and to them, justice and vengeance are simply two sides of the same coin. As Nova and Adrian struggle to reconcile who they are with what they want most in the world, the lines between them are blurred even further.
The secondary characters are always an essential part of these books, and Oscar, Ruby, Ingrid, Leroy, et al are amazing. It’s important to remember that the patrol teams, such as Adrian, Oscar, Ruby, and Nova, are eenagers, and they act and respond as teens would. There are times where things get serious, and the levity provided by Oscar and Ruby in particular is not only a relief, but a reminder that these are not thirty-year-olds. Sometimes teens are impulsive, sometimes their emotions rule their judgements, and sometimes they make poor choices. That’s just life, albeit amped up 200% with superpowers!
I found myself fascinated by the philosophical questions that were being posed, as they caused Adrian and Nova to question their goals and focus:
“Were cities around the world becoming as dependent on the rule and protection of prodigies as Gatlon was? How long before all of humanity gave up on personal freedom and responsibility? How long before they forgot what that felt like at all?”
I’m totally obsessed by Max, the young boy kept in protective custody – and possibly the most deadly of them all. There’s another moral quandary brewing with him, and I liked how Meyer gave us a twist on his power that follows the path the others are taking. I won’t speak too much about the actual plot for fear of giving things away, but this book reminded me a lot of Cinder. There’s a tonne of world-building going on here, and a lot of characters to meet, and while it can take a bit for things to get going, you need that background in order for events to make sense later on.
Overall, this is a fantastic start to what promises to be an incredible series, and I cannot wait to see what happens next. Like any great action film, this one ends with a question, and it’s going to be hard to wait another year for the answer!
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.
A copy of Renegades was provided by Raincoast Books/ Feiwel & Friends as part of the Blog Tour in exchange for an honest review. It is available now for purchase from your favourite independent, online or bricks and mortar booksellers. ISBN: 9781250044662, 576 pages.