Monday, February 21, 2011

Review: The Rise of Renegade X by Chelsea Campbell

From Inside Jacket: Damien Locke knows his destiny - attending the university for supervillains and becoming Golden City's next professional evil genius. But when Damien discovers he's the product of his supervillain mother's one-night stand with - of all people - a superhero, his best-laid plans are ruined. Now forced to live with his superhero family, Damien must prove that he's truly evil. Only he wasn't counting on a villainous plot that threatens his new relatives' safety and will make Damien choose who he really wants to be. Going to extreme lengths (and heights), The Rise of Renegade X chronicles one boy's struggles with the villainous and heroic pitfalls of growing up. 

My Rating: 4 hearts 

Thoughts on the Novel: The Rise of Renegade X begins with its protagonist, Damien, waiting to become sixteen and get the V on his thumb that signals he will become a supervillain. With his supervillain mother - the Mistress of Mayhem (aka Marianna Locke), - his friends and a bunch of strangers on hand at his birthday party to witness this milestone in his life, Damien eagerly waits for the clock to turn to midnight. Unfortunately, when the clock does strike twelve, Damien’s thumbprint forms a horrifying X, which basically means the inconceivable: his father is a superhero (with an H on his thumb)! Determined to find out the truth about how this could have happened, Damien asks his mother for details but she refuses to divulge anything. So, he resorts to snooping through his mother’s diary and then creates a list of potential superheroes that may be his father.

When Damien does finally meet his father, his dad manages to convince Marianna to let Damien stay with him for a while so that Damien can see what it’s like to be a superhero. Much to Damien’s shock, Marianna agrees because it’s a great opportunity for Damien to learn about the enemy (and it allows her to not have Damien underfoot as she works on her super secret nefarious project). With an X on his thumb, Damien better be prepared to work extremely hard to have it changed to a V or risk having the X become an H!

The Rise of Renegade X does a great job of looking at the power of choices. Normally those born with the “super” gene are fated to either go to Vilmore and become a supervillain or go to Heroesworth Academy and become a superhero. However, Damien has the luxury of being able to choose who he becomes because it’s ultimately his actions that will determine whether he becomes a supervillain or a superhero.

Speaking of Damien, I absolutely adored his character! He had such a snarky voice and I loved all the high jinks he got up to. For example, the girl Damien is interested in thinks he’s a supervillain and the girl who is sort of interested in him thinks he’s a superhero, and Damien doesn’t hesitate to use the situation to his advantage. Naturally, it backfires.

I also really loved the ending which was surprising (but in a good way). Sometimes tough decisions need to be made and you have to do what you consider to be right despite the fact that not everybody will be happy with your choices.

One of the things that was unclear in The Rise of Renegade X though was the genetics behind how superpowers were inherited and what triggered the H, V or X to show up on one’s thumb specifically on their sixteenth birthday. Since I’m in the science stream, that stood out for me right away but I’m not sure if most people would be putting as much thought into that.          

The Rise of Renegade X was released in May 2010 by Egmont USA.
Comments About the Cover: I’m not a comic book fan nor have I watched many movies revolving around Marvel’s comic characters, but I actually decided to read The Rise of Renegade X based on its cover. It’s pretty eye-catching and will definitely attract fans of comic books.


  1. I love characters that have a snarky voice. They are always more entertaining. Great review. This books sounds good :)

  2. I'm not a big comic book or graphic novel reader, but the illustrations are always fascinating. And I'm with Nic, a snarky voice is always a huge plus, as is an ending that surprises you. I love it when I think I have everything figured out and I'm just wrong:) Nice review Zahida!

  3. I think I would like this one (I love superheroes)! Damien sounds fun (I'm definitely a fan of snark)!

  4. Sounds like a fun and quirky read and Damien also seems like a character I would love.

  5. I like the sound of the main character here. I keep meaning to read this book and then forgetting about it. Thanks for the reminder!

  6. I've been eyeing this one for a while. Thanks for the reveiw!

    Brandi from Blkosiner’s Book Blog


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