Review: The Betrayal of Renegade X by Chelsea M. Campbell

The Betrayal of Renegade XBetrayal Renegade X by Chelsea M. Campbell
#3 in Renegade X
Genre: YA Superhero Fantasy
Publication Date: June 20th, 2015
Publisher: Golden City Publishing
 

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Damien thinks he has the whole hero thing figured out—he’s getting good grades at Heroesworth and acing all his missions—at least until he zaps an unarmed bad guy he believes tortured and murdered children. It turns out the “bad guy” was actually a superhero working with the school. The mission was staged, and Damien blew it.

Now his best friend refuses to work with him, his dad is considering getting him professional help, and everyone’s questioning whether or not he has a future as a hero—including his grandpa, who will do anything to ensure Damien’s future lies in villainy. His grandpa creates a villain organization called the Truth, intent on exposing the way heroes really treat villains. But when the Truth launches its plan and the whole city erupts in chaos, Damien is caught between the opposing sides, and his future is anything but certain.

With heroes and villains bent on destroying each other, it’s up to him to do whatever it takes to stop the fighting, even if it means betraying the people closest to him.

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Wendy’s Review

I don’t even remember what events transpired that brought me and Renegade X together.  It’s odd to think that there are books, or series, around that are so good and we don’t know of them.  It just seems so unfair!  What else is out there that I would love madly, but I’ve never heard of it?  Tragic, really.

I don’t want to talk about it.  I use my powers to stop someone I was told kidnaps and murders kids, and I end up on the news like it’s the worst thing I’ve ever done.  Riley uses his power to catch someone who just happens to look suspicious, and he’s getting a freaking award.

At it’s core the Renegade X series is about equality.  It’s about how being born to a specific group doesn’t automatically make you ‘good’ or ‘right’, and it doesn’t automatically make them ‘evil’, or mean that they’re ‘bad’.

In Renegade X the struggle is between Heroes and Villains.  Heroes are born with a certain amount of immediate privilege.  Villains are born and immediately reviled.  Sure the whole definition of villain is one of treachery and criminal behavior, but in the world of Renegade X being a Villain isn’t a decision.  It’s hereditary.  Damien, aka Renegade X, explains that most people who are born Villains never actually do anything illegal.  They become veterinarians, or nurses, or teachers.  Yet, the people of Golden City treat every Villain citizen as though being a criminal is something that’s wired into their DNA.  The Hero community’s treatment of Damien is a reflection of this mentality when, despite the fact that he’s half hero, they treat him as though he is, and always will be, ALL villain.

Does this sound familiar to you, too?

It’s an upward battle for Damien, fighting for villain’s rights while at the same time learning where he fits in with his Hero family.  Sometimes they don’t understand him, and he gets frustrated.  We as the readers get frustrated too.  Still, you can’t help but believe in the love between them.  Damien may have only known this family for a year, but it’s very clear that he already means so much to all of them.  They may have their problems, but they are a good family.  Damien’s love for the people he’s met since finding out about his Hero blood, both family and friends, is probably the most heartwarming part of the story, for me.

And the two of us” -he gestures to me and him, as if I could possibly have thought he meant anyone else- “don’t always listen to each other.”
“I listen, all right?  I just don’t like what you have to say.”
He laughs at that.  “We’re too alike.”
“Don’t say that.”  Can’t he see I’ve been through enough?  Does he really have to insult me on top of it?
“It’s true.  And Unfortunately that means that we don’t always get along.  But it doesn’t mean I don’t love you, even when we’re not seeing eye to eye.  I want you to be able to trust me.  I know that’s going to take time.  You’ve put your trust in people who’ve let you down, and I’ve probably contributed to that more than I realize.  But I want things to be different.”

Look, Damien isn’t always the sweetest protagonist.  He can be an asshole.  He’s 17 years old.  His entire world has been turned upside down.  Everyone he trusted, his entire life, have almost all used his new familial situation to their own end.  The new world that he’s living in, with heroes, routinely attempts to make him feel really bad about who he is.  He’s got a chip on his shoulder the size of Everest.  One thing is clear though, from almost early on, he loves his new family.  He stands up for what’s right, but it’s also obvious that he truly cares about his father, step-mother, sisters and brother.  He’s hilarious and snarky at times, but when they need him he’s also incredibly sweet and gentle.  It’s that mix of kindness and bitterness that has made him one of my most favorites.

Jess leans into me, resting her head against my upper arm.  “Soft,” she says, petting her stuffed aardvark, which is, in fact, very soft.  Then she jams its long snout into me, pretending it’s biting me.  I can tell because she makes chomping and chewing noises while she does it.
I’m not sure if aardvarks can bite people.  Or if they even chew.  I always kind of thought they sucked up ants like a vacuum cleaner.  Which, now that I think about it, is probably not true.  That would be like snorting ants, which sounds kind of painful.

I also want to mention that when I first started the Renegade X series I was under the impression, from the cover art (which is awesome!), that these were younger YA books.  I anticipated that they would fall somewhere between Middle Grade and Young Adult.  They’re not.  They should actually be classified somewhere between YA and NA.  There is sex, not explicitly written, but Damien does have sex and he talks about sex a lot, he’s a 17 year old boy.  There is also some foul language.  It’s a book that would make me hesitate before allowing my 11 year old to read it.

I really actually have no complaints at all about this entire series.  If I had to find something that stinks, it would have to be the wait time between books, about 2-3 years.  I’m positive that the writing, editing, time has to do with the quality of the work, it’s just so hard to wait between installments.

Till next time, Renegade X!

Rating: ☠  ☠  ☠  ☠  ☠  = A+

Series Reading Order

1. The Rise of Renegade X
2. The Trials of Renegade X
3. The Betrayal of Renegade X

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