In Marissa Meyer’s upcoming young-adult novel, “Renegades,” people with superhuman abilities are known as “prodigies.” But not all prodigies are superheroes.
Hero Complex readers are getting an exclusive first look at the cover of “Renegades,” which follows the story of Nova, a girl on a quest against the superheroes that have liberated humanity from the villains that reigned over them.
Meyer, of course, is best known for her Lunar Chronicles series, which re-imagines classic fairy tales and their characters in a future world of humans, cyborgs and moon colonists.
Meyer discussed her “Renegades,” Sailor Moon and other superheroes via email. Check out the cover for “Renegades,” as well as an exclusive excerpt from the book below. “Renegades” is set for a Nov. 7 release.
What can you tell us about "Renegades"?
I guess “Renegades” is my homage to all the superhero stories I grew up loving — from X-Men and Spider-Man to Sailor Moon. I’ve long been fascinated by the idea of archenemies — that a superhero might have that one specific villain that they are destined to be always at odds with, and the various forms that antagonistic relationship can take. Likewise, I love any trope having to do with secret identities. With those two things in mind, the idea started to take shape in my mind of a star-crossed love story between a girl who’s been raised by supervillains and a boy who’s been raised by superheroes.
What made you interested in telling a superhero story?
Who doesn’t love a superhero story? There’s something so vicarious about this genre — that fantasy of having superpowers, whether it’s being able to fly or levitate objects or warm your coffee just by touching the mug. Oh, the convenience! At the same time, I think we all have a little bit of the vigilante inside us. We want to see justice prevail over evil, we want to defend the weak, we want to see bad people punished. Unfortunately, these things don’t always happen in real life, so there’s something very satisfying about watching these stories play out in fiction.
Did you have a favorite superhero growing up? How about now?
Sailor Moon! I was obsessed with that anime as a teenager, especially the romance between Sailor Moon and Tuxedo Mask, for whom I wrote a ton of fan fiction. (Speaking of secret identity tropes!) These days, my favorite superhero is Spider-Man, both because I love how nerdy and awkward Peter Parker is, but also because of his continuous struggle to try and protect his family and loved ones, even though he knows that the best way to protect them is sometimes to push them away, and the difficulties of those choices become so real and heartfelt through his story… or, stories.
What's next for you?
Good question! My second graphic novel, “Wires and Nerve, Vol. 2: Gone Rogue,” will be out next January and is the final installment of that series. Beyond that, I have plenty of ideas, including a contemporary romance and a fairy tale-inspired horror/thriller… nothing is set in stone yet as my for-sure next project, so we’ll see!
Excerpt from 'Renegades':
They were right to be afraid.
Hundreds of years.
Who would have stood for it?
Ace changed everything. He united the most fearsome prodigies he could find and together they rebelled. His group cared little for the loss of innocent lives, or mass destruction, or even what would come next once the old world crumbled. They cared only for change, so change they got.
He started with the infrastructure. Government buildings torn from their foundations. Banks and stock exchanges turned to rubble and ash. Bridges ripped from the sky. Entire freeways reduced to rocky wastelands.
Then he went after the people who had failed him. Failed all of them.
The entire government, gone. Law enforcement, disbanded. Those fancy bureaucrats who had bought their way into power and influence... all dead, and all in a matter of weeks.
Chaos rose up to fill the void that civilized society had left behind, and fear and distrust would go on to rule for twenty long years.
They call it the Age of Anarchy, but we think of it as the good old days.
Looking back now, people talk about the Anarchists and the other gangs who rose to power like they were the worst part of those twenty years, but they weren’t. Sure, everyone was terrified of them, but they mostly left you alone as long as you paid up when it was your due and didn’t cause them any trouble.
But the people. The normal people. They were far worse. With no rule and no law, it became every man, woman, and child for themselves. There were no repercussions for crimes or violence — no one to run to if you were beaten or if your family was killed. No police. No prisons. Not legitimate ones, anyway. Neighbors stole from neighbors. Stores were looted and supplies were hoarded, leaving children to starve in the gutters. It became the strong against the weak and, as it turns out, the strong are usually jerks.
Humanity loses faith in times like that. With no one to look up to, no one to believe in, we all became rats scrounging in the sewers.
Maybe Ace really was a villain. Or maybe he was a visionary.
Maybe there’s not much of a difference.
Either way, he and his gang ruled Gatlon City for twenty years, while crime and vice spread like sewage around a backed-up pipe. And the Age of Anarchy might have gone on for another twenty years. Fifty years. An eternity.
But then, seemingly overnight... hope.
Bright and sparkling hope, dressed up in capes and masks.
Beautiful and joyous hope, promising to solve all your problems, fix all the world’s evil, rain justice down upon your foes, and probably give a stern talking to a few jaywalkers along the way.
Warm and promising hope, encouraging the normal folks to stay inside where it was safe while they fixed everything. Don’t worry about helping yourselves. You’ve got enough on your plate, what with all the hiding and moping and turning-a-blind-eye you’ve been doing lately. You take a day off. We’re superheroes. We’ve got this.