November 16, 2012

Blog Tour: Renegade by J.A. Souders – Review, Guest Post & G!veaway

Welcome back guys!  We are so excited to be part of the blog tour for

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

presented by TOR!

Today, we are thrilled to have Jessica back
on the blog today with her thoughts on
What’s left to fight for when there’s nothing left? 

We also have our thoughts on this awesome book, AND
be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post!

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.

Renegade (The Elysium Chronicles #1) by J.A. Souders
Publication Date:  November 13, 2012
Publisher:  Tor Teen

I couldn’t find a trailer, so here’s a song for you!
I was having a little talk with Jessica via Twitter, and she disclosed the she is a big Mariana’s Trench fan.
She also said that there’s at least one of their songs on her books’ playlists!
When I asked her which song was on the playlist for Renegade…
well…here you go!
[youtube_sc url=”” autohide=”1″ hd=”1″]

** This title was provided to us by the Publisher for an honest review.
We were in no way paid for our opinions **

I’m just going to be straight with you; Renegade by author J.A. Souders is literally one of the best novels I have read all year. I’ve seen a lot in 2012, the good stories, the bad and the great. I love when I get a novel that is great, but it’s so rare that you get one that is the complete and total package of just about—well… everything! In Renegade you get dystopia, romance, betrayal, badass action scenes and a hunky romantic interest (who I personally liked to imagine as Stephen Amell): Who could ever want more?

Renegade is the story of sixteen year old Evelyn Winters who is Mother’s daughter (note how that had a capital M). But she isn’t just Mother’s daughter, she’s the Daughter of the People and is considered everybody’s daughter.  In the underwater city of Elysium, the last safe haven from the war tarnished Surface and its inhabitants the Surface Dwellers, Mother’s word is law and to disobey her is death. Nobody would question Mother or their perfect world and so it’s kinda ironic that the first person to turn against Mother is Evelyn Winters and it all happens when she’s introduced to a Surface Dweller who goes by the name Gavin.

When the two come together, Evelyn finds herself not only doubting Mother’s control but straight out breaking the laws and becoming a rebellious teenager renegade (I see what you did there). After finding out that she won’t be able to “couple” with him, Evelyn and Gavin attempt to flee Elysium at any means necessary. That leads readers to follow the two as they not only face death on multiple occasions but also uncover the dark secrets that Elysium holds… ones that Mother has done everything in her power to hide.

Can I just say that “holy, sweet googlie-mooglie, Batman!” Gavin is officially my new YA character boyfriend? Not only is he described as this drop dead attractive male creature, but he’s romantic and badass and risky and willing to do anything to help Evelyn and— and—well… there would be a lot of ands, but I think he is absolutely perfect. Which makes sense since in Elysium, you have to be perfect, despite him being a Surface Dweller.

As for our MC (main character, in case you couldn’t figure it out) Evelyn, I personally wasn’t able to get into her character until after her first meeting with Gavin. Beforehand she came off as a ditz and (as you get through the awesome-sauce novel) you soon learn that she’s supposed to seem as such since she had been brainwashed. Dun, dun, DUN! Evelyn first comes off as a Mary Sue and as the novel progresses she soon sheds the Conditioning, Mother used on her and learns about her pass and how to make decisions for herself.

The antagonist, Mother, had me thinking about one thing. Have you ever seen the show V? Either the one from like the eighties or the one that was rebooted about two years ago? If you have then cool, if you haven’t, then go Google it and read up on Anna. Mother is basically Anna with blonde hair and blue eyes. She’s an antagonist that doesn’t care who dies, who doesn’t care what happens to her daughter, so long as what she cares about remains intact. Mother was a villain that had me sneering and cowering in fear.

Right from the dramatic start to the cliffhanging end, I absolutely adored Renegade. I cannot wait for the sequel and any novels after that that continue on with Evelyn and Gavin. I want to know what happens next because Evelyn’s story is far from over.

I’d recommend Renegade to fans of dystopian futures, readers who want to fall in love, and fans of action filled sci-fi.

What’s left to fight for when there’s nothing left?


At a recent conference I was on a panel about dystopian literature and someone asked a question that pretty much stopped me in my tracks. I had no idea how to answer it.

The question? What’s left to fight for when there’s nothing left?

I’m fairly certain that I looked like a fish with my mouth opening and closing, and no sound coming out, but finally I settled on an answer. Love. However, the minute I said it, I had to backtrack, because even when love is gone there’s something left.


Hope to find love. Hope to conquer whatever task we’re trying to beat. Hope that things will get better. Even when everything else is taken, there’s hope. Hope is the most dangerous weapon a person, group, or society has. Because where there’s hope, there’s strength to accomplish anything. When we lose hope, we lose the ability to fight.

That’s why so many countries make sure the morale is up for their troops. With high morale comes high hope. With high hope, a higher chance of winning.

In the Hunger Games movie, President Snow makes a very enlightening comment about hope that illustrates my point clearly. In a conversation with the head gamemaker, Seneca Crane, he’s talking about why they have the Hunger Games. He asks Seneca why they don’t just line up the 12 children and shoot them instead. It’s certainly faster. When Seneca can’t answer, he says, “Hope: It is the only thing stronger than fear. A little hope is effective; a lot of hope is dangerous. Spark is fine, as long as it’s contained. So, contain it.”

Seems a bit diabolical, right? Yes, but he’s right and he knew that if Katniss won the Hunger Games, she’d give hope to the people he didn’t want to give too much hope. Because by controlling their amount of it, he was able to control them. By doling it out in slow amounts, he made the citizens dependent on him. But too much would make them realize they didn’t need him at all. Thus starting an uprising. Of course, if they didn’t have any hope at all, he wouldn’t be able to control them either, because they wouldn’t care enough to do what he needed them to do. Make clothes, make their electronics, dig for coal, etc.

And like in life, hope is, in my opinion, the most important part of every story. Not to mention the one of the common denominators between every book, but most specifically in dystopian books. It’s what not only fuels our characters to keep going through their darkest ordeals, but it’s part of what keeps us reading. If we care about the characters, we’re hoping they’ll come out unharmed from whatever it is they’re dealing with and that they’ll have their (somewhat) happy ending.

So…do you agree? What’s left to fight for when there’s nothing left?

About the Author:


J.A. Souders was born in the heartland with an overactive imagination and an over abundance of curiosity that was always getting her into trouble.

Because she never grew up, she decided she’d put her imaginary friends to work and started writing. She now lives in the land of sunshine and palm trees with her husband and their two children and is an active member of the RWA, SFWA, YARWA and SCBWI.

She is represented by Natalie Lakosil of the Bradford Literary Agency and her debut novel, RENEGADE, will be released Fall 2012.


 Connect with the author:  Website / Twitter / Facebook / Goodreads

Available for Purchase:
 /  /  / 

Complete the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win a copy of

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

thanks to the generous people over at Tor Teen!


a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Christina K.

    I have seen so many awesome reviews for it, about the characters and pacing, that it’s made me pine for it;)

  2. sherry fundin

    I have not read it, but I like the description. As soon as I read underwater kingdom, it peaked my interest. That was enough to make me want to read it. lol

  3. Kelly

    The cover caught my attention first. The colors are vibrant. I love dystopians and a love story with it. Loved your review too!

  4. Maria @ Fantasy's Ink

    I love the cover and the summary sounds so good, an underwater utopia – count me in!

  5. Joy F

    I love reading YA and this looks good. Thanks.

  6. dani

    I want to read it, looks awesome

  7. sarah c.

    Book sounds great. I havent read it but it son my TBR pile

  8. Starla Y

    I would like to read it b/c the main character sounds interesting. Also b/c I enjoy YA books.

  9. Ashley

    I’m so glad that you loved Renegade so much!! And can I just say that “holy, sweet googlie-mooglie, Batman” is officially my new favourite phrase? LOL.

    I love how Renegade totally wasn’t what I expected. When I read “underwater utopia,” I imagined more of a fantasy utopian underworld kind of thing… Then I find out we get a crazy dystopian could-so-be-realistic sci-fi?? Uhh.. that’s so much better!!!

    Although I wasn’t totally sold on the romance, I thought there was some awesome (and awkward) dialogue between Gavin and Evelyn! It had me cracking up!

    Love your review!

  10. Chapter by Chapter

    haha best phrase ever! I don’t know where she comes up with this stuff lol

  11. I want to read Renegade because the idea of Elysium and Surface dwellers really intrigues me. It just sounds like the kind of book I’d enjoy!

  12. SadieLady

    I really want to read this one. It sounds like a great plot and the cover is to die for.

  13. Christine

    I just think this is such an interesting concept and I love reading about creative worlds like this. Can’t wait to read it!! :)

  14. Jolene A

    No, I haven’t read it yet but I can’t wait to get my hands on it and dive in. Sounds like something I would love!!

  15. Beckey

    Nope never read it both book and author are new to me

    Thanks for sharing the info… Seems like an interesting read

  16. Natasha

    I want to read Renegade because it sounds really good and I have heard good things about it! Thanks for the chance to win!

  17. Lizzy

    I agree that hope is what drives people when there’s nothing left. Even starving, broke, and alone…there’s always the possibility that things will get better. That alone drives us to face impossible odds and win. I haven’t had the chance to read Renegade yet, but its definitely on my to-be-read list.

  18. Melinda M.

    I want to read Renegade because the plot sounds amazing and there so many great reviews about it!

  19. Nora-Adrienne

    The story line seems to have a very twisting plot line with secrets inside of secrets. I love that type of story.

  20. Lisa Vazquezanzua

    I want to read it because it sounds so good! and its a different kind of story from what i’ve been reading. I cannot wait to read it!!

  21. Alicia

    I like the idea of a main character pushing past the ideas that others have forced into her head and re-discovering her world.

    Thanks for having the giveaway!

  22. Grace Lo

    Honestly, you had me at “underwater utopia.” Personally, I find that there is, and will never be, a utopia as long as free human thought exists, and that if there is a place where such a thing is thought to exist, there’s gotta be something wrong with it. I’m a sucker for books with twisted societies.
    Besides, it says UNDERWATER UTOPIA. We need more “underwater” books.

  23. Holly B

    I have not read it yet, but I am dying to!! It sounds SO good to me, and I’ve read such great reviews. I like darker books, so this sounds up my alley :) Thanks for the chance!

  24. Kelly

    This book sounds great!!

  25. Lindy Gomez

    I’m looking forward to following this tour! I love the cover of the book, and it sounds interesting. Thank you for the giveaway :)

  26. Merisha

    Haven’t read it but it sounds like a great read!

  27. SarahO

    I haven’t read it yet and I mostly want to read it because everyone’s raving about it. It wasn’t really on my radar before.

  28. Leigh

    I want to read it because I’ve only read a few dystopian novel and this one sounds good!

    Little Book Star

  29. Awesome review Gabby!! A lot of things in this one we felt similar about :) The ending was not my fav part and I am in serious want of book 2 like ASAP!

  30. Kirsten W

    The setting for this sounds really good, and I don’t think I’ve seen a single negative review. Definitely looking forward to reading it.

  31. Cassie

    I love the cover! :)

  32. Jaime Lester

    I don’t have the greatest of track records with books about mermaids or sirens, or any other underwater dwelling peeps, so I don’t really read them very often. I hate getting disappointed every time. But there is something about Renegade that is begging me to read it. And the reviews have been awesome. I can’t wait to blow my bad experiences out of the water!

  33. Rose. P

    Renegade sounds like it could be very interesting. I like the idea about it and it sounds like something I might really enjoy.

  34. Alexandra

    I’ve just heard so many great reviews! It looks like an awesome read.

    Thanks for the giveaway! (:

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