The Rise of Renegade X by Chelsea M. Campbell
Publisher: Egmont USA
Number of pages: 352
My copy: ebook from Amazon Kindle Store
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 as he’s forced to live with his superhero family.
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.
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I used to be a fan of the X-Men animated series when it was first aired in my country when I was a kid. I wasn’t able to watch most of it, though, but when I got a little bit older, I loved watching the newer series, X-Men Evolution, which I loved and tried to catch as much as I can. I couldn’t decide which mutant I want to become, or what superpowers I’d want to have if I were one.
The Rise of Renegade X by Chelsea M. Campbell reminded me of all those days I watched those animated series almost religiously with her fun and action-packed superhero novel. Normal people flock Golden City not to see the sights but in hopes of getting mugged by a supervillain and be rescued by a superhero. They also come in hopes of attending a party like what anti-hero Damien Locke has at the start of the story, where he would show the everyone the moment his thumb print turns into a V, just like every supervillain’s has when they turn 16. Superheroes have their thumb prints turn into an H, which literally separates the good guys from the bad guys. Damien never expected that his thumb print would turn into an X — born out of the union of a villain and a hero. What’s worse is he finds out that his dad is the goody-two-shoes Crimson Flash, who was determined to show that Damien can be a hero despite his insistence that he was a villain through and through. We follow Damien as he tries to find his identity through a new school, some bullies, an annoying half sister, a wannabe sidekick and a city-wide zombification plan. All in a day’s work of a superhero or a supervillain, right?
The Rise of Renegade X is such a fun novel that I can’t believe I put off reading it for so long. This not only reminded me of the coolness of X-Men, but also the fun and creativity of the movies Sky High and The Incredibles. The best part of the novel is Damien, hands down. I loved his voice and his snark. It’s impossible not to like him and root for him and hope all his plans, no matter how stupid they may seem, work out. Damien is smart and very self-aware for someone who is 16, but that doesn’t mean he’s always nice. However, his motivations for doing the “villain-y” stuff were never really just to be bad or cruel but most often in payback for something wrong did to someone, so it makes you wonder how much of a hero he really is. This choice offered to him makes Damien more real and gives the story depth, focusing on how a person should have a choice of who they want to be regardless of what family they were born with or not.
The supporting characters, particularly the ladies, makes the story more interesting, too. There’s half-sister Amelia who’s jealous of Damien’s position in the family and tries to make his life a living hell. There’s supervillain Kat, Damien’s ex-girlfriend who he insists isn’t special to him anymore despite the attraction he feels. And then there’s Sarah, a new classmate who assigns herself as Damien’s sidekick and tries to insist that he’s more of a hero than a supervillain. These girls bring out the different sides of Damien, and it’s fun to see how he reacts to each one and how it shoes that he’s not really your average villain or hero.
There’s little I could say with the plot, although I kind of hoped Damien went the other way instead. But the ending was still pretty satisfying that has that superhero-happy-ending-feel that the movies I mentioned above did. I wouldn’t be surprised if this book is made into a movie, or at least, inspire a movie. The Rise of Renegade X is a fun read, recommended to all fans of superhero (or supervillain) shows, family computer (or nintendo dsi) games, comics or movies. I think people in my generation would definitely relive a lot of memories with this one. :)