Sixteen-year-old Damien Locke has a plan: major in messing with people at the local supervillain university and become a professional evil genius, just like his supervillain mom. But when he discovers the shameful secret she’s been hiding all these years, that the one-night stand that spawned him was actually with a superhero, everything gets messed up. His father’s too moral for his own good, so when he finds out Damien exists, he actually wants him to come live with him and his goody-goody superhero family. Damien gets shipped off to stay with them in their suburban hellhole, and he has only six weeks to prove he’s not a hero in any way, or else he’s stuck living with them for the rest of his life, or until he turns eighteen, whichever comes first.
To get out of this mess, Damien has to survive his dad’s “flying lessons” that involve throwing him off the tallest building in the city–despite his nearly debilitating fear of heights–thwarting the eccentric teen scientist who insists she’s his sidekick, and keeping his supervillain girlfriend from finding out the truth. But when Damien uncovers a dastardly plot to turn all the superheroes into mindless zombie slaves, a plan hatched by his own mom, he discovers he cares about his new family more than he thought. Now he has to choose: go back to his life of villainy and let his family become zombies, or stand up to his mom and become a real hero.
If you’re not a fan of comics, the Silver Age was a period in comics that is sort of akin to the 1960’s Batman series. Rather, than having gritty series that depict super heroes in a relatively realistic way, you get some goofy stuff. And I love it…
The Rise of Renegade X sort of takes the idea of the Silver Age with it and forms it into a YA book. Which surprisingly works even though there were a few cringe moments…just because Silver Age.
What worked best for The Rise of Renegade X was that the main character had an amazing voice. Damien is snarky and hilarious, and his snark actually comes off as being fairly realistic-there are consequences for him opening his mouth. Also, he acts like a teenage boy would act. In a lot of YA novels, I roll my eyes (all the time) with how the male point of view is written. Here it actually comes off as realistic.
In addition to liking Damien’s point of view, I also liked how the book focused on aspects of Damien’s life that didn’t necessary include his romantic life.
While there is a subplot that deals with Damien’s romantic life, most of the book focuses on his family life. And this book does a good job focusing on his relationships with his mom, dad, half siblings, and step mother. Each character, save for the two younger half siblings, is well formed and has pretty realistic reactions to everything that’s going on.
Friendships are also looked at in this book, which is something I appreciate. And friendships of the opposite sex at that. It’s true that there’s some fooling around, but overall it’s primarily focused on friendship.
The plot is sort of ludicrous though. Which is expected because it does have a Silver Age vibe about it. I think it’s going to be something that people either really love or just get annoyed with. The overall story really is sort of simple, which is good because it allows the kookiness to work. For me, I was in the right mood for it so it worked. But I still rolled my eyes a little bit.
Overall, The Rise of Renegade X was a fun YA book that didn’t fall on the usual tropes. If you’re into superheroes and like a goofy element to them, this is your book.
Overall Rating: B+ highly enjoyable, but a little flawed.