Reading Level: Young Adult
Genre: Science Fiction
Length: 356 pages
Publisher: Golden City Publishing
Release Date: January 10, 2014
Stand Alone or Series: 1st book in the Renegade X series
Source: Swapped through Paperbackswap.com
Rating: 4/5 stars
I have had this book to review for what seems like forever. I was excited to finally get around to reading it. The books starts a bit slow, but ends up being a witty and entertaining story about what it means to be a villain or a hero.
Damien is super excited for his sixteenth birthday, the day when the whorls on his thumb will arrange themselves into a V and he will be able to commit to the life of a supervillain. However things don’t go according to plan when instead of a V he gets an X on his thumb…the dreaded third mark that means he has a superhero parent and a villain parent. He knows his mom is the villain but who is his dad? When he finds out his mom suggests (forces) him to spend a few weeks with his paternal superhero family which goes against everything he’s ever known. Soon he will be forced to make a choice; will he chose the life of a villain which is all he’s ever known or does the life of a superhero hold more promise for him?
The book starts a bit slow and it took me a bit to get into the story, but once I did I really enjoyed it. Damien is very snarky and witty and I enjoyed reading about him. It was entertaining to watch him try to navigate a world of black and white where he ends up as a shade of grey.
What starts out as a seemingly simple mystery where Damien is going to help a new friend track down her dad, ends up as an effort to save the world. While Damien is used to and determined to be a supervillain, he also has a bit of a soft spot for doing what is right. It’s interesting to watch him struggle to straddle the two worlds while also trying to just be himself.
The side characters fell a bit short for me; none of them really grabbed me all that well. I also found the “romance” between Damien and Kat to be a dry and abrupt. Although I did enjoy Damien’s parents and how they represented good and evil while still struggling with normal parenting issues.
Damien is incredibly snarky and funny and some of the dialogue throughout the book is incredibly fun. The whole story has a overtone of snarky playfulness throughout with just a hint of heartfelt sincerity here and there.
This book does a great job of showing how sometimes heroes fall short and villains can be heroic.
Overall I ended up enjoying this quirky and witty little book about the shades of grey between superheroes and villains. It was an entertaining read; although it took me a while to really get sucked into the story the second half of the book was very engaging. I am uncertain right now as to whether or not I will read the second book, The Trials of Renegade X. I would recommend to those who enjoy coming of age type stories with snarky superhero villains.