By Kerry Wilkinson
Despite the extreme popularity of the Hunger Games trilogy there were some serious flaws. This book, Renegade, played into several of them. One of my biggest problems wight his book was the extraordinary resemblance to Catching Fire, the second book in the Hunger Games trilogy. In order to fully explain my problems with this book I will be giving away part of the ending. So there will be SPOILERS. Ok, I'll start at the beginning. Renegade is the second book in the trilogy. I read the first one, Reckoning, probably over a year ago. I found it extremely similar to the Hunger Games when I read it for these reasons. There is something called the Reckoning where everyone takes basically an aptitude test that nobody really understands how it works. They get a status as a result of this test: Elite, Member, Inter, or Trog. That's not the important part though. Then, there is the Choosing. It is basically the reaping from the Hunger Games. A certain number of people are chosen from the North, the South, the West, and the East based on the status they got as part of the Reckoning. (Just a note, the reckoning is a test that everyone takes when they are 16). Silver Blackthorne, the main character, gets Member, which is very good for where she's from. She has a friend, Opie, who she goes out hunting with even though it's illegal. I'd say that's pretty similar to the Katniss Gale situation. Silver gets chosen as part of the Choosing which means that she has to go as an offering to the King. King Victor is the king as a result of the war 17 years earlier. Silver has a little brother, I'll come back to him. Silver is torn from her mom (her dad's dead, a little like Katniss's), her little brother, and her friend Opie. She is brought to the Castle Windsor and makes some friends on the way. So this all happens in the first book. She also discovers bad things happen in the castle. Most offerings die. She gets them all (as in most of the offerings still alive) to escape after befriending Imrin, a male offering. Imrin is basically Silver's Peeta. Imrin is essential to the escape plan.
Ok, onto the second book. This book is essentially a linking book. It is bringing together the first and third books. It doesn't really have a plot of it's own and Silver really doesn't have any character development. So the Gale/Peeta or Opie/Imrin romance thing happens, which was not done well. It was more of an annoyance and was never really dealt with in this book. Silver worries about it but never does anything about it. If you've read Catching Fire, then you know there is a second Reaping. Guess what! There is a second choosing in this book and it is made especially to get at Silver, the same way the Quarter Quell reaping was to get at Katniss. The rules are changed so that Silver's brother is chosen. And then some more stuff happens and Silver realizes she is being used. All I have to say is that at least she notices because Katniss didn't catch on this quickly. Then at the end Silver, Imrin, Opie, and one of the other offerings, Faith, return to Castle Windsor to do some stuff and on the way out Imrin gets caught. He is still caught at the end of the book. Basically, the same thing happened to Peeta. As I said, Imrin is basically Silver's Peeta. So my prediction is that when she chooses, Silver will choose Imrin because Katniss chose Peeta. There were more similarities as far as plot and characters go, but those were the most glaring.
You probably assume I didn't like this book because my review isn't exactly praising the book. But I do have to say that I enjoyed reading it and plan to read the third. I don't think it was that interesting as a whole, but it held my attention until about the last 100 pages. Something was almost always happening, which was why I could tolerate it. Also, the writing was pretty good. There were some stylistic things I didn't like, but that's just me. I personally think she uses the word "as" too much but I don't think that's really something to complain about. As a whole, the writing portrayed what it was supposed too in an interesting way. There were some places where I would have preferred a little more description, but that was about it. Overall, the tone and style matched the subject matter and age group the book was targeting. In general, I also liked the characters and whatever was happening at the moment. More happened than I explained and what actually happened was interesting enough. It was exciting, if a little predictable, but still enjoyable.
I'd say this book (Renegade, that's the book I'm actually reviewing) is like chicken. It's a pretty generic flavor and a lot of people say "tastes like chicken" about other things. That doesn't always means its bad, it's just nothing special. This book is a 2.5. Strong in some ways, weak in others. Enjoyable to read but not super exciting either.