Michelle's Reviews > The Rise of Renegade X

The Rise of Renegade X by Chelsea M. Campbell
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's review
Sep 04, 2010

it was amazing
Read in August, 2010

This book can be described in one word as Fantastic!

Fantastic characters, fantastic world built, fantastic plot….yup, you guessed it fantastic all the way around. So fantastic, in fact, that I can’t decide where to start.

Shall I begin by speaking about Golden City? Ok, sure, that’s a great place to start. I mean, where else can supervillains and superheros co-exist but in a place that sounds so very much from the heart of a comic book? Golden City , at times, gave off a very distinct 50′s era vibe. Most notably when in the presence of superhero Gordon (The Crimson Flash) who’s television show The Crimson Flash and the Safety Kids feels a bit like Romper Room on steroids. But wait, it isn’t really set in the 1950′s it only feels that way here and there. Because, a lot of the time there was a pretty decent more modern Gotham City vibe as well.

An interesting crux of the story is that the path a child takes is out of their control. In Golden City, whether a person becomes a hero or a villain is determined by a letter designation that appears on their thumb on the sixteenth birthday. H = hero and V = villain. But oh no! What if that letter shows up as an X!?!

The sky is falling, the sky is falling!

This means that the wearer of the X controls his own destiny because his actions directly influence what that eventual final designation will become. He can still be a villian, he just has to perpetrate enough nefarious activity to turn that X to a V.

Despite having the ability to take up heroism or villainy as the mark of their thumbs predisposes them to do, these teens lead a pretty typical life. Sure, they have super powers, but really most of what happens is about as typical in the angst department as any other story. Girl dumps boy, boy still loves girl and wants to win her back, girl secretly still loves boy but won’t admit it….you know, great stuff like that. It’s just that the superhero/villian bent makes it all that more interesting because it’s another layer in the dynamic that these kids need to navigate.

Same holds true for the family dynamic. Single mom villain has a quickie with hated arch rival superhero thus producing a son of neutrality. That big ol’ letter on his finger is a whopping neon sign that reveals her secret and opens up the door to a future Damien is unsure he wants. This, naturally is where the angst comes in and where the lessons are learned. How does one get what they want when over the course of time they may grow to learn they may not want it anymore? Great stuff I tell ya, absolutely….you guessed it, fantastic!

Have I mentioned that the world of Golden City needs saving? Because, yea, it totally does! The who, why and what of it all to remain a secret here so you can enjoy it yourself but I’ll say enjoy it I did. It was a somewhat surprising element of the story that creeped into Damien’s life slowly over time and built perfectly to help him make his ultimate decision as to whether he wanted to go the way of good or evil.

Oh and I gotta give Campbell her props, she has a great sense of humor. She’s built Damien as a witty smart-alec of a boy. A boy who’s sarcasm doesn’t come off as aggressive or hurtful but rather fun and entertaining. He’s charming and lovable (despite his darker tendencies) and just genuinely enjoyable to follow through the story. I often found myself laughing out loud at his dialogue and actions.

I’ll also add that there wasn’t a character in this book that I didn’t love or didn’t love to hate. Not a one was overbearing or annoying. The attention on each was well focused and even handed.

Who would I target this book to?

Pretty much anyone. It’s an awesome read from start to finish. Quick to get through too. It’s definitely a good book for reluctant boy readers because it has that comic book superhero/villain factor to it. But the glory of this story is that these elements won’t detract from offering it up to girls too. There’s a bit of romance and some cute boys I think they’ll latch on to pretty quickly. I also think it’s a great first read for adults toying with the idea of reading young adult fiction. There might be a bit of a nostalgia factor in it for us old codgers!

So I’ll end here by saying….you guessed it again, fantastic.

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