Renegade, how do I hate thee? Let me count the ways. I hate thee to the level of all the repetitive prose; I hate thee freely as the sex scenes rose and rose. I hate thy misnomered hero with a vocabulary of ten-odd words, and I hate thy heroine who is dumber than the birds. I hate thy inherent chauvinistic light, and I vow to never again let you within my sight. (Apologies to Elizabeth Browning.)
If I could end the review there, I would. An F means there is nothing in the book that worked, and how sad is that? But I can’t; I have to do my job. So let’s get this over with.
The plot is not distasteful, but does that mean it’s good? Not on this planet. Heroine witnesses a murder. The accused has too many solid alibis and is an upstanding member of the community, so he hires an ex-military, trigger-happy, member-of-a-hush-hush organization guy to prove he didn’t do it. Heroine sticks to her guns, gets shot at, and hero moves in to “protect” heroine. And yeah, the super-violent ex-military man is the hero.
All of that would be peachy if it weren’t for two things. One, I stopped caring real quick who did it. Two, this is mainly because there is lots and lots and lots and lots of sex. The sex doesn’t just slow down the plot; it makes it mind-bogglingly tedious to read. Clearly Ms. Leigh doesn’t subscribe to the possibility that if variety spices up life, it can also have a similar effect on prose. But no. A vagina is a pussy. To have sex is to fuck. Vaginal excretions are juices. Etc. etc. etc., blah blah blah, and with more sex scenes than I can count, I was ready to pass out.
But no one gives a flying ferret about the sex if the reader doesn’t care about the people. And Nik and Mikayla suck buckets. Nik is a chauvinistic asshole whose primary vocabulary consists of three words: “No,” “fuck,” and “fairy.” The first comes not because he’s possessive, but because he’s a domineering, controlling jerk. The second arises because clearly he can’t express himself any other way. But “fairy,” you ask? Well, that’s his name for Mikayla, who reminds him of a fairy, and the reader is never allowed to forget it. Delicate, small, fragile, pretty, innocent, etc.-vomit-spew-etc. And there’s more. “Sweet little innocent.” “Pretty baby.” “My little virgin.” The so-called endearments represent the worst kind of prehistoric chauvinism, and I am appalled that this book has seen the light of day.
And Mikayla. She gives a bad name to romance heroines. There they are, trying to prove they don’t rush headlong into situations, and that they actually have the brains to differentiate between courage and recklessness, and what do you do? You do all of that, because hey, you know what you saw, and you couldn’t possibly be wrong. Idiot.
So there you have it. I could provide a fuller reckoning of the sins of Renegade. But I’ve finished the book, I’ve written my review, and I refuse to dwell any longer on one of the crappiest books it has been my misfortune to encounter.