Title: Renegade (The Elysium Chronicles #1)
Author: J.A. Souders
Published by: Tor Teen
Summary: Evelyn lives in an underwater utopia called Elysium. As the Daughter of the People, her days are filled with listening to the public's requests and attending to her garden. Her life is just about perfect. Then a Surface Dweller finds his way into Elysium. Evelyn has always been told to hate Surface Dwellers who ruined the Surface because of war and not taking care of the environment. But Evelyn can't make herself hate this Surface Dweller, in fact, she wants to help him escape. But in trying to free him, she finds out life in Elysium isn't as perfect as she's been told. She finds out her mother, The Mother of all Elysium's people, isn't really a benevolent ruler. Elysium is more prison than sanctuary and Evelyn must do whatever she can to escape this underwater sanctuary and find out who and what she really is.
My Thoughts: I picked up this book based on the beautiful cover and very much enjoyed the story inside. My favorite part about this book was the introduction to the world. The way Elysium was described made it seem like such a beautiful place. The descriptions brought to mind the scenery from Disney's The Little Mermaid. A fantastic undersea world. The idea behind the world was really interesting too. That these people could make an underwater dome city self-sufficient and able to sustain a colony of people.
Real quick into the book though, you get a sense that all is not right in this world. That there is something strange going on within it. The conditioning or brainwashing was really interesting too. It just added more of a sinister feeling to the story and world. I wanted to find out what was going to happen and why Evelyn was being brainwashed.
Gavin wins for being a dreamy book boy. I liked him from the first and wanted him to get out of the city alive. I also enjoyed all the action and romance in the story. I think it leans more towards older YA's because of those aspects. The story kept me interested in reading and seeing just what was going to happen next.
I don't think I loved Evelyn's character, but I think that was just because I never got to experience who she really was. Her head had been messed with so much that she's not even sure who she is. I think it was hard for me to connect with her character just because she was constantly changing. It will be interesting to see where she goes in the sequel.
All in all, I enjoyed this book. The world building was really cool. The action had me turning pages to get to the end. And Gavin was dreamy. I'm curious to see what happens in the sequel and to see what has happened to the surface because of this long ago war. Definitely not a bad book.
BOOKCITEMENT LEVEL 3.5/5
What a World!