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Renegade: Elysium Chronicles #1    by J. A. Souders order for
by J. A. Souders
Order:  USA  Can
Tor, 2012 (2012)
Hardcover, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Sixteen-year-old Evelyn Winters lives in an underwater dome city, Elysium, and believes it is utopia. She has been trained by the city's Mother (who rules with an iron fist in a velvet glove) to be the Daughter of the People since the age of three.

Every morning Evelyn reassures herself, 'My life is just about perfect' before her light breakfast, mandatory Therapy and many responsibilities. Her friend Timothy is a favored Suitor due to his genetics. It becomes clear that Evelyn's world is darker than it first appears after Timothy is executed - for touching her briefly.

Then Gavin Hunter, a Surface Dweller, crashes into Evelyn's life. He and his friend found the entry by accident, and his friend is now dead (Surface Dwellers are shot on sight). Gavin is imprisoned but Evie permitted to interrogate him. Instead, they answer each other's questions. Then, after she visits her Therapist again, Evie forgets.

But she follows her instincts and continues to help Gavin, fighting her Conditioning. Of course, you can see where this is going. Evie eventually defies Mother and helps Gavin to escape to the Surface. Along the way, she learns about the founding of Elysium and a rebellion against Mother. But can she escape her own Conditioning?

Though awkward in places, this first episode in the Elysium Chronicles establishes an intriguing scenario and presents its young hero and heroine with unusual problems - I'll be interested to see where J. A. Souders takes it next.

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