Thursday, May 13, 2010

Review: The Rise of Renegade X by Chelsea Campbell

Tags: YA, middle grade, superheroes


All Damien Locke wants for his 16-year-old is to see the V appear on his thumb—the V that will indicate that he will become a villain, just like his supervillain mom. To his horror, an X appears on his thumb, indicating that his father was a superhero! Damien gets carted off to live with his father, the Crimson Flash, and his family, with the hopes that the hero within him may awaken.

Damien would rather go back to his old life of pranking and hanging out with his best friend and ex-girlfriend, Kat. However, an unexpected friendship with Sarah Kink turns his life upside down when he gets sucked into a battle of good versus evil, and he must decide which side he stands on.


THE RISE OF RENEGADE X is an astonishingly interesting debut YA novel that subverts the usual paradigms of the YA genre and our preconceptions of good and evil. And it does this all in the most entertaining way possible!

The gem of this novel is Damien’s voice. A perfect balance of snark, sincerity, and your typical adolescent male stupidity, Damien will charm you into falling for his screwed-up ways. I took a kind of perverse pleasure in liking an irreverent character so much: it’s not every author who can make readers like an obnoxious, mouthy, and crass protagonist!

The plot meanders through family subtleties, adolescent complexities, and the absurdity of a comic book, and so does get a bit choppy at times. However, despite the rather sudden climax and resolution, it is the character development of THE RISE OF RENEGADE X that you’ll remember after reading. The love triangle between Kat, Damien, and Sarah is marvelously believable, lacking the flatness that can often occur in such satirical situations. Damien’s family members are well-rounded and believable in their (sometimes twisted and misguide) support of Damien.

It’s hard to adequately describe THE RISE OF RENEGADE X, as it’s like a subgenre of its own. All I can say is that, plotting issues aside, it is one enjoyable ride for anyone who likes superheroes, supervillains, giggle-inducing adolescent humor, and a great narrative voice.

Writing: 4/5
Characters: 4/5
Plot: 4/5

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5

Cover discussion: 3.5 out of 5 - I love how it has the unisex feel of a graphic novel. It's striking and unique and will hopefully capture many people's attentions!

EgmontUSA / May 11, 2010 / Hardcover / 352pp. / $17.99

ARC received through One ARC Tours.


  1. I enjoyed this book, too. It was fun and unique, and had some awesome characters. I loved Damien, and his evil career aspirations kept me smiling.

  2. Okay, I think I'm going to absolutely LOVE this book! must get my hands on a copy and soon!

  3. Oooh, this makes me even more excited for it. I should have a copy coming soon. Great review!

  4. This sounds brilliant. I love the whols superhero thing, and i'm so interested to see how this story plays out. Damien sounds like an extremely witty character, one that you would probably root for even if he chose the "dark side". I want this badly


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