Newly Hatched Review | The Phobia of Renegade X by Chelsea Campbell

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About the Book: Damien’s always been afraid of heights, but he’s never been afraid of fieldwork or of being in the spotlight. At least, he wasn’t before the gala—the one where his grandpa nearly caused a massacre and heroes from the League almost killed his best friend. Now he finds himself dreading the very things he used to love, and all he wants is to skate by in school, avoid fieldwork, and keep a low profile.

But avoiding his fears isn’t as easy as he hopes, especially when the school decides to send him and his best friend to hunt down a dangerous criminal. And as if that isn’t bad enough, it turns out he also has to pass a flying test if he wants to make it through the school year, even though his debilitating fear of heights means it’s pretty much impossible.

In order to pass the test and catch a criminal, Damien accepts help from unlikely allies. But when his mission goes south and he accidentally lets a terrible weapon fall into the wrong hands, he’ll have to overcome his doubts and save his friends from a psychotic killer bent on using his worst fears against him.

Renegade X #4
YA Superhero Fantasy
Golden City Publishing | August 9, 2017

The Phobia of Renegade X took a departure from the previous books.  In those there was a main bad guy, a plot or story that Damien needed to overcome and defeat.  It was a tangible person, or group… like The Truth from The Betrayal of Renegade X.  In Phobia, Damien still had something to overcome and defeat but this time it was himself, which made the story feel different.

At first I wasn’t sure it was enough to carry a whole book, Damien trying to overcome his phobia’s, but the more I read the more I enjoyed the change.  It forced Damien into looking more introspectively at himself, and that gave me scenes I’ve been looking forward to between Damien and his loved ones.  It forced Damien into being more intimate.  Damien hates intimacy, except for his intimacy with Kat.  He loves that.  Like most teenage boys.

In the first book, The Rise of Renegade X, Damien discovered who his father was, and with a dad came a new family.  The following two books were not only about how Damien fit in with Heroes in general, and what that meant for his Villain family and friends, but it was also about Damien learning how to coexist within this new family.  There were a few sweet moments between them early on, but you keep waiting for more.  You keep waiting for their interactions to feel like real connections.  In my opinion, we got that while reading The Phobia of Renegade X.  Or, we at least get to see Damien’s wall crack and start to crumble.  I love his relationship with his dad, but it was something I expected would happen.  The bigger moments were the developments happening between Damien and his sister.

And of course, there was Damien’s personal growth.  I know I’m just a reader, and he’s not real, but I’m still so very proud of him.  I’m not only proud of him for how he handled the flying test, but I’m also proud of him for his emotional growth.  He’ll always be who he is, but I think he’s learning to be the best part of himself.  I love character growth, and Chelsea Campbell is doing a great job of writing Damien’s developing maturity.

So, now the book is over.  It’s been somewhere around 2-3 years between installments.  I’m glad I’m usually a patient reader.  I wait happily, because I know it’ll be worth it.  And hey, there’s already a title, “The Rival of Renegade X”.  Ooooh, I wonder who that is!  I sure can’t wait to find out.  Hopefully in 2019!

4_5 feather

About Birdie

Don’t look for her in any bar, club, crazy raging party, or anywhere there may be a large gathering of strangers. She’s more likely to be found tucked into the corner of the couch watching one of her favorite shows, or preferably under a comforter with her current novel.

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