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Reviewed by Christian Sia for Readers' Favorite
Renegade: Black Dawn 0.5 by Mallory McCartney is a gripping YA fantasy with a strong narrator and very interesting characters. We enter Kiero, an empire that has experienced prosperity in past years, but that prosperity is about to be broken as a powerful and ruthless pirate king, Tadeas Maher of the Shattered Isles, sails to Kiero in the company of his heir. It is against such a backdrop that the story of two young heroes evolves, Adair Stratton and Emory Fae, a tale of courage and patriotism. The two youngsters join other gifted ones at the Academy — at the wishes of their parents. Adair Stratton is the outcast who’d rather be elsewhere than at the Academy. But when war and death arrive in the city, people witness gross betrayals, hidden magic, and lies. It’s time for the lukewarm Adair to make a choice that will change everything.
The game of power, magic, political intrigue, war, family, and friendship are just a few of the themes that are explored in this narrative and they are explored in a way that enriches the plot and nourishes aspects of the conflict. Mallory McCartney creates a great plot structure and a beautiful character arc. The conflict is explored at different levels. The internal conflict dominates the inner world of Adair, and it is about the fact that he has to choose between what his parents want for him and what he desires for himself. Emory is a strong female character and readers will enjoy the influence she has on Adair. Renegade is beautifully written, with a well-designed setting, memorable characters, and an unpredictable plot. A good read indeed.