Of Heroes and Anarchy: Major Themes in Renegades

We are so excited to be able to share Renegades with you! It's a totally addictive superhero story, set in a high-stakes world of adventure, passion, danger, and betrayal.

Plus look at that cover! HEARTEYES!

But what exciting themes can be found between the its pages? Well, Marissa joins us on the MKB blog today to spill the beans!

Take it away, Marissa!


When I set out to write a novel, my goals are always the same. I hope to entertain, and to whisk readers away on an adventure or an escape. I hope readers will fall in love and make new friends (even if they are fictional). I hope they will want to revisit this world again and again, even if only in their own daydreams. (Perhaps especially in their own daydreams.)

Never do I begin with thoughts like, “What important thing am I trying to say in this story?”

Which is not to say that important things don’t eventually crop up, and inevitably the story is better for it. I think it’s impossible to write a story from your heart and not see various themes start to creep into the narrative, and sometimes they have even been known to shine a light on my own beliefs or curiosities that I had never consciously considered before.

Renegades, of course, is a story about superheroes and supervillains, so one of the first themes I saw beginning to develop as I wrote was how humans, by nature, are never all good or all bad. This is a theme I find myself drawn to in all of my works, and I do love exploring those gray areas between hero and villain. At what point does “helping others” go from selfless and altruistic develop into a need for attention, praise, and even control? Is a criminal more sympathetic if they, themselves, have been victimized? Can we really fault someone for choosing to put their family’s needs before those of strangers? There are no clear answers, which I think is why I find myself asking these questions again and again.

Hero and villain, good and evil—these provide endless opportunities for dissection and debate, which is creative gold, at least for me.

Renegades also ended up having some political themes running through the storyline, as the Renegades have developed more of a traditional governmental system (though one that is by no means democratic), and this system has led some people in their society to flourish and others to feel neglected. Their enemies, on the other hand—the Anarchists—aim to achieve a true anarchist state, in which there is no ruling body at all. In reality, “anarchy” generally leads to a collapse of society and astronomical crime rates before some group with power and resources eventually steps in to govern anyway, but the Anarchists hope to achieve a balance of power that will allow every human… or at least, every human with superpowers… to live their life free of persecution or prejudice. To have free will over their choices. To protect their family and their belongings without the intrusion of a ruling class who may or may not have their best interests at heart. It’s a fascinating ideology, and though the Anarchists are certainly flawed in their methods, I enjoyed getting to the heart of their motives and understanding the appeal of such an anarchist state, for me, made the Anarchists a much more interesting group to write.

As with any book, I suspect that ever reader would be able to pinpoint a different theme in Renegades, and probably many that never crossed my mind. But these are definitely some that, by the end of writing the book, had made themselves apparent through my world-building and research. In the end, they made me see my characters in a different light, and I hope they will help provide a satisfying, and maybe even though-provoking, story for the readers.

But first—I just really hope readers will enjoy the book.