ARC Review: “Renegade” by Amy Carol Reeves

Renegade2Renegade (Ripper #2) by Amy Carol Reeves

Goodreads | Amazon

Brimming with romance and danger, the suspenseful Ripper series continues

The Conclave—a secret group with twisted ideals and freakish practices—has been wiped out, thanks to Arabella Sharp. Now there’s a new malevolence afoot. Fishermen are getting killed, their partially devoured bodies washing up on the shores of Scotland. Is the Ripper responsible? Or have the Conclave’s sinister experiments left behind something more monstrous? Abbie fears the worst when her beloved Dr. William Siddal vanishes. To save the man she loves, Abbie must comply with the Ripper’s dreadful orders—and put her own life in grave danger.

3 stars

Thanks to NetGalley and Flux for this eARC! This title will be released April 8th.

This review was completed by guest reviewer Sarah from Adventures in Storyland! Thank you, Sarah!

(Note: This is a review for the second book in a series. It contains spoilers for the first book, Ripper.)

“I saw bubbles in the greenish depths of water somewhere. A creature, dragon-like, with a tail. Claws. In the murky water, I saw the creature’s scaly haunches, thick and muscular like a lioness’s, as my nostrils became overwhelmed with the smell of fish, of seaweed. The monster had hair, long hazelnut hair billowing out like burnt gold threads in the water. I saw the swift, fleshy movements of breasts. I gasped and the dream left me almost as soon as it appeared.”

I wondered where the Ripper series could go after all of Jack the Ripper’s canonical victims had been killed in the first book. The killer lived, but I was still uncertain. As the series is called Ripper, I assumed it would stay within that realm. Instead, it goes off the charts. other than the continued interest of an inspector, the Ripper case is left behind. Renegade concentrates instead on the experiments done by the Conclave. In the quote above, Abbie experiences a vision of a lamia created by the Conclave’s experiments. There are also zombies of some sort, but that thread disappears about halfway through the book and never really comes back. I can only assume it will be used in the third book.

It’s easy for a YA period book to slap the reader across the face with how very different and radical the female protagonist is, and how all other women are sheep. Renegade avoids this. It’s certainly acknowledged that Abbie’s desire to be a doctor will be difficult since few medical programs admit women, but it’s mostly taken in stride. She’s an intelligent nurse with a dedication to her patients that wants to go to medical school, and that’s accepted. Other women aren’t insulted or shamed to make her look good. It’s refreshing.

The major annoyance for me in Renegade was Abbie’s love life. Early on in the book, she discovers that William, her major love interest from Ripper, had slept with a woman nearly twice his age that had once been his father’s mistress. This was before he ever met Abbie and took place at a tumultuous time in her life, but Abbie is furious and feels betrayed. She decides that she can’t trust William and that he’ll probably just be a philanderer like his father, so she ends their relationship and then spends a lot of time thinking about how very, very hurt she is. I was thrilled when she slapped William for saying, “After all, I’m a man,” as a reason for his affair, but that was the one bright point. I got so sick of hearing about it that I could feel my eyes and brain glazing over.

Chapters from the lamia Seraphina’s point of view were a welcome break from Abbie’s whining about William. Monster ladies are kind of the best, and this one was complex and interesting. She hungers for human flesh, but because she loves her human master and is loyal to the Conclave, she keeps her appetites at bay. She’s in charge of caring for the Conclave’s menagerie, and does so with great dedication. She loves the animals dearly. She’s a painter who never finishes her work. She lives alone on an island, isolated, waiting for the times when her master will return and struggling to keep a feeding frenzy at bay. It was fascinating to watch her development as a character. I could have read an entire book about her and done without Abbie altogether.

All in all, if you enjoyed Ripper, you’ll probably enjoy Renegade, if not like it more. I know I had a lot more fun with it than I did with its predecessor. I gave it 3 out of 5 stars. The writing wasn’t great, but it kept me entertained.

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Mid-Winter’s Eve Giveaway Hop

midwinters eve

It’s time for another giveaway hop, this one hosted by I’m a Reader, Not a Writer and Oasis for YA! If you’re interested in checking out the almost 180 other blogs in this with me, click HERE.

And now for the giveaway!

I’m giving away a copy of Renegade by J. A. Souders and TWO Prophecy by Ellen Oh bookmarks (not pictured)!

RenegadeGoodreads | My Review

Interested? Click HERE to enter! The giveaway is US only and ends at 11:59 PM on December 27th.

ARC Review: “Renegade” by J. A. Souders

RenegadeRenegade (The Elysium Chronicles #1) by J. A. Souders

Goodreads | Amazon

Since the age of three, sixteen-year-old Evelyn Winters has been trained to be Daughter of the People in the underwater utopia known as Elysium. Selected from hundreds of children for her ideal genes, all her life she’s thought that everything was perfect; her world. Her people. The Law.

But when Gavin Hunter, a Surface Dweller, accidentally stumbles into their secluded little world, she’s forced to come to a startling realization: everything she knows is a lie.

Her memories have been altered.

Her mind and body aren’t under her own control.

And the person she knows as Mother is a monster.

Together with Gavin she plans her escape, only to learn that her own mind is a ticking time bomb… and Mother has one last secret that will destroy them all.

3 ½ stars

Thank you to TorTeen for this ARC! This book is now available!

I had very high hopes for Renegade, I’m not going to lie. It sounded almost too good to be true. I’m a sucker for stories that play with genetics, and—despite the obvious choice of love interest—the storyline looked unique and interesting.

I hate when I don’t get everything that I’m hoping for.

Renegade starts off ridiculously creepy. Like, good creepy. So fantastically creepy. Souders uses an interesting technique between chapters that excellently shows off how Evie’s mind is being altered by her mother. You are shown Mother’s cruelty right away as well, which sets the tone for the rest of the book. Don’t be fooled by the pretty cover; Renegade doesn’t shy away from blood and killing.

Things start to break down right around when Gavin, the Surface Dweller, is introduced. No, I’m not saying this just because I found their love story cliché. (I did, but that’s not the point.) The sessions where Evie is “interrogating” him are clearly an info dump opportunity so that we can learn more about the world, and I have no idea why they weren’t shot on spot right away. There is no way that Mother has all these security features and doesn’t have microphones in her jail cells.

It’s at this point that information starts to get jumbled. Souders has created a very complex world, and in the end that does her a disservice. A few too many things are glossed over or left unexplained entirely. A few key plot points are fixed almost magically. Certain characters turn bipolar and their actions make no sense.

I guess being frustrated that I never completely understood the world or the technology is sort of a good thing. After all, it means I was invested enough to want to know. It’s entirely possible that another reader, not looking as closely, wouldn’t notice the slip ups. I don’t know. What I do know is that there are world building holes I wish had been filled so that I could have a better grasp on the back story that Souders was attempting to make a key point but kept getting marginalized.

Evie’s story in itself was pretty gripping. The mental conditioning she had had was super creepy but super awesome at the same time. What can I say? I like narrators with fractured minds; it’s very interesting to read when done right. I wish, of course, that Gavin hadn’t been there, because then maybe Evie’s troubles would have been a little more compelling without the guy there to save her, but I digress.

Also, Gavin being there resulted in too many weird, sexually-charged moments. Like, he can’t climb a ladder because he’s distracted because he can see up her skirt? He watches her change in a mirror, even though she says don’t look? Gavin cannot be both her knight in shining armor and a creep. Just saying.

All in all, I wanted to like Renegade a lot more than I did. The world and plot were very interesting, but Souders got tangled up in her own complexities and got a little lost. Evie herself completely won my investment, but the story and the other characters didn’t back her up as well as they could have. I would tell you to give this a try if you’re in the mood for yet another dystopian, but I wouldn’t put it on my MUST BUY list. Goodreads lists this as number one in a series (which I didn’t realize, because it doesn’t really leave anything on a huge cliffhanger—it could be read as a standalone), but it’ll be a coin toss to see whether or not I pick up number two.

Stacking the Shelves #11

Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga’s Reviews!

Alright, so this one is a little crazy. It’s all eARCs, and it’s way more then I should have requested. Oh well!

FROM NETGALLEY

Renegade by Amy Carol Reeves ~ Renegade by J.A. Souders

Moonset by Scott Tracey ~ Also Known As by Robin Benway

Greta and the Goblin King by Chloe Jacobs ~ Luminosity by Stephanie Thomas

Elemental by Antony John ~ The Obsidian Mirror by Catherine Fisher

FROM EDELWEISS

Criminal by Terra Elan McVoy

Top Ten Books On My Fall T-B-Reviewed List

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish!

It’s a TTT Rewind week! For this one, I’m fudging the criteria a little. I thought it was really cool to show what reviews are coming up on the blog when I did this on September 4, so I’m going to do it again! And tell me if you’d rather see it never ever again.

1. Katya’s World by Jonathan L. Howard

I actually haven’t read a dystopian in ever, so I’m really excited to take another dip back into it. This one just strikes me as different for some reason, and I hope it lives up to it’s expectations. Look for this one October 12th.

2. Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill

I have had this since JUNE and it’s KILLING me that I haven’t read it yet. But the release date still isn’t til November, so here we are a crapton of months later. Luckly, this review is finally coming October 19th!

3. Dear Teen Me: Authors Write Letters to their Teen Selves edited by E. Kristin Anderson and Miranda Kenneally

This one has a really long title for not such a big book. But anyways. I have a physical copy of this sucker and I’m so happy because there are some high flying names in this one! I can’t wait to share it with you, even if I have no idea how to review it. This review will appear in some fashion on October 22nd.

4. The Messenger by Pamela DuMond

This book has, for some reason, switched titles and covers since I signed up for the blog tour, but I digress. This is the stuff Goodreads is using now, so don’t shoot me if it’s wrong. But, anyways, this is a blog tour and there will be a review and all will be discovered on October 25th.

5. Undeadly by Michele Vail

I consider myself to be lucky to have an ARC of this, considering I never realized the release date had been pushed back to November and it just happened to show up amid the chaos that is the new NetGalley. Look for a review October 29th – just in time for Halloween!

6. Endlessly by Kiersten White

This is the one and only book on this list that I have actually already read. Read a while ago, too. But I kept pushing it back for other scheduled blog tours and author interviews. I REFUSE to bump it ANOTHER month, so November 1st it is!

7. Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire

This is another one I keep pushing back, half because it was published ages ago and so I had to make room for newer releases and half because the reviews that came out all frightened me half to death. This should be interesting. Mark your calenders for November 2nd.

8. Velvet by Mary Hooper

This is a new acquisition that I’m VERY excited about. It’s fantasy, but it’s also historical and I LOVE IT when those two things mix. Hopefully it’ll live up to my expectations. You’ll see November 5th!

9. Secrets by Tim Mettey

This one actually doesn’t have a cover or a Goodreads page yet, but I JUST got my ARC in the mail and that’s very exciting. This one is scheduled for November 12th.

10. Renegade by J. A. Souders

Now I don’t actually have this one yet, but it does come out November 13th so Tor/Forge should be sending it to me some time before that. I have no idea when the review will go live, but it’s possible it’ll throw at least half these dates out of whack. 😛