Saturday, November 17, 2012

Renegade by JA Souders: A dark dystopia

My life is just about perfect. That's what Evie thinks, despite the memory loss she suffers, and the whispers in her mind of distant memories that she can't pull to the surface.  And what's not to be perfect? She's the pampered, beautiful daughter of "Mother", the ruler of an underwater realm. Elysium was created after a war on earth left only vicious "surface dwellers" living on above and destroyed all civilized life.  Or did it?

In Evie's perfect world, children are selected, based on their genetics, intelligence, and aptitudes, to be either breeders or enforcers. Like other breeders, now that Evie is 16, she's expected to undergo a coupling with another breeder, to ensure the purity and continuance of the people. Her mother has graciously let her select her coupling partner, but odd things keep happening to them -- if only she could remember who they were or what they'd meant to her. Should a citizen steps out of line, or when the expected surface dweller attack comes, then the enforcers step in with deadly precision. But for now, Evie is surrounded by silks, flowers, and beauty.

Until she finds Gavin, a surface dweller who stumbled into the underwater realm by accident, in her garden.  Suddenly she's having a hard time suppressing all those whispered memories of the past.  And let's face it. She's 16. He's handsome, dangerous, forbidden, and exciting. Hormones kick in big, too.  Soon, Evie and Gavin are on the run, fighting all that she believed true, to get Gavin back to the world he knows.

This was a pretty impressive foray into the world of YA fantasy. JA Souders creates this beautiful world underwater, but then rips away the underbelly to free the beast within. There's some pretty horrific realities here, nothing like silks, flowers, and beauty, that come spilling forth. And some comes spilling out of Evie, for she has been manipulated from the get go by her "loving" mother, and it's a crapshoot at times which overlay will win out. All I can say is that when my friend Maris, at age 16, complained that her mother was a "manipulative bitch who only thought about herself", she didn't have a clue how bad it could be. Compared to Mother, Maris's mom was a piker. Elysium is a vicious place, a dark dystopia, led by one psycho woman.

I see that there are other books planned in a series. I'll be curious to see how it all evolves.

Thanks to Tor publishing for sending this book my way.

No comments:

Post a Comment