Though I’d been incredibly excited for this novel at the start, had excitedly rushed home from Barnes and Noble with my purchase–happily having been informed by the salesclerk that this book was actually a very popular one–I had a lot of trouble rating Renegades by Marissa Meyer. This was largely on account of the fact that I, to an incredibly high and likely very personal degree, feel as though Marissa Meyer deserves so much more than a three star rating for any book that she’s written. Not only is Meyer my favorite author, but she is an incredible writer and has always, without fail, managed to weave some quite impressive and addicting stories for my reading pleasure in the past in the past.
I felt it with The Lunar Chronicles. I felt it with Heartless.
I did not feel it with Renegades.
Meyer’s writing is powerful, I’ll give her that. She’s got a great many strengths when it comes to her capabilities as a writer and I’ve always been thrilled to read her work. Her characters in so many ways have been so well developed and beautiful. She’s one of those writers who captures the strength that female characters can have and deserve and I have always loved her for that.
I still love her for it.
Nova is a very well written and developed character. The opening of this book and Nova’s introduction (or backstory) was bold and heart-wrenching. I was broken up about it, but also so thoroughly impressed. But after the first few chapters, somewhere it all started to fall. It didn’t have the same addicting quality to it that has prompted me to finish all of her other books the day I got them. I didn’t fall in love with the characters. I wasn’t even concerned about whether or not one would die.
It felt…stale in a way I’d never have expected from Meyer.
I didn’t hate anyone, really…but rather fell into a position where I had no feelings whatsoever. Usually when I read one of Meyer’s books, I’m sat with a pencil eagerly underlining every single passage that really speaks to me, the parts of the story that are just so gorgeous they deserve special recognition for anyone whom I lend the book to as well as for me when I return to read it. I didn’t have that need once through the whole book. I didn’t LOVE the characters and in some cases didn’t even feel enough to like them. They almost felt like placeholders, as though they didn’t even matter in the first place.
I found myself at times reading passages and having to go back on account of the fact that I had forgotten everything I’d read. And unfortunately, I saw the ending coming a mile away. I’m not quite sure when exactly I decided that the plot twist was the most likely thing, but I know it was early on, culminating in certainty when Nova went alone to the top floor of the Renegade building. I don’t think it’s bad that I saw it coming, exactly, but I can say I was a little sad to realize that I was right.
There were some other things I didn’t particularly care for (mild spoiler hint ahead in this paragraph only) and I found the business with Ingrid lacking in a number of ways, particularly because it felt somewhat out of character for her with the way she’d been set up in the beginning? As it stands, when I do reread this book (likely next year) I will be looking for signs that I may have missed to change my mind on this matter as one can never be too sure. I was more confused about everything surrounding her character than I was shocked and betrayed, which is the sense I believe Meyer was going for.
And I think, ultimately, for an author who has been so good at making me FEEL in the past, who has always left me reeling with emotion and overwhelmed at how in love and amazed I was when I’ve finished the book, to have that missing from one of her works was thoroughly disappointing.
Meyer is still a wonderful writer. And I will read every book she puts out in the future, but this one was hard for me.