Friday, December 3, 2010

The Rise of Renegade X by Chelsea M. Campbell

The Rise of Renegade XI really enjoyed reading The Rise of Renegade X by Chelsea M. Campbell (Egmont).

Damien Locke is excited to get his V--a fingerprint on his thumb that will identify him as one of the supervillians of Golden City. (Icky boring superheroes get an H instead.) Damien gets a surprising X on his finger, and his mad scientist mom admits to a single...encounter...with a superhero in a subway bathroom that led to his birth, and so he's got genes from both heroes and villains.

When Damien tracks down his superhero dad, dad wants Damien to come stay at dad's house, try out a different lifestyle, learn to fly (despite Damien's disdain for heights), maybe skip going off to villain academy. Damien hates it, but he might be more soft-hearted than he knew. His future is a puzzle, and he's going to have to solve for that x.

Sorry, math joke.

Even though Damien is a toad, and his antics frequently cringeworthy, it's hard not to root for him as he spins the needle on his moral compass. He's a very different kind of protagonist, and the humor and nods to superhero comic book tropes are a nice touch.

I read this book as a first-round judge for the Cybils Awards, which means that I may have received a review copy from the publisher (or not; I own a lot of the books in this category). I read some books nominated for the YA fantasy and science fiction category in 2010 before the nomination period, and may have already reviewed them or declined to make a public review; these books might not have a Cybils post tag. As a first-round judge, I was tasked with helping create a shortlist of books. My personal reviews do not reflect any actions or discussions of the judging committee.

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