Dissent Renegades is the first book in a new fantasy series. There are a lot of different threads to this story, and a lot of characters, which makes for a great fantasy series, but also meant that I got off to a slow start with it because there was a lot to get my head around. I soon became quite invested in the characters and their stories, so it is worth bearing with it as you get used to the story.
We are taken straight into the action of the story. There are Renegades afoot, stealing food from the state and Rada wants them found. Rada is the commander of Scorr Tanta, she is harsh and domineering; she doesn’t tolerate failure. She wears a green cape and a grey, featureless mask that covers her face and gives her an air of authority that few dare to argue with, and those who do pay a very high price. Her Wardens help her to govern, and are currently trying to track down the Renegades.
Early in the novel, Nolan and her team fail to capture the Renegades in Port Harmony and we get to see exactly how Rada treats those who fail in their missions. It’s not pretty. Rada is an intensely unlikeable character. Nolan is a little more complex and her story fascinated me, especially as we saw her starting to question her ideals and past actions.
Kayden is another Warden in Eklips. He is unimaginably cruel. He has no respect for women: he keeps a female slave who he parades around with a rope on her neck. He’s got his sights set on Ditto. Haylee and her friends aren’t prepared to let that happen.
Haylee lives with her friends, and is very clearly the leader of their group. She is bossy, super-organised and does not like it when things upset her plans. She stands up to Kayden and finds herself severely injured, only to be rescued by Ellie. Ellie is one of the most complex characters in the novel and her story is one of the most interesting. When we meet her, she is working as an apprentice to Cedric who breeds and tends to the Orgo.
The Orgo were probably my favourite thing in this novel. They are sort of furry dinosaur type creatures who are tamed and used for riding. They come in different colours and have very strong personalities. One of the most beautifully written scenes in the book is where Ellie witnesses the birth of a very rare type of Orgo and chooses to name him Thaw. I would very much like an Orgo I could call Thaw.
There are other creatures, the Elrupe, who we discover were previously banished from Port Harmony, but who are living in the caves and have a vast community. Ellie finds herself in their caves and discovers something there that sets her world spinning and leads to some shocking revelations.
Dissent Renegades is a strong start to a series of fantasy books, it is full of action and I’m looking forward to seeing where it goes next, especially after the massive twists at the end of this first book!