I adored Rebelwing, Tang’s debut, so I knew I’d have to track down Renegade Flight. Full of duels, sentient dragon mechs, and questions of ethics, Renegade Flight is an action packed story. Keep reading this book review if you want to see what I STILL think about mech dragons!
Viola Park’s life is over. She’s gone from planning her future as a pilot-in-training to resigning herself to life on the ground. And it’s all because she made one tiny, not-altogether-legal maneuver on the prestigious GAN Academy’s entrance exam. It’s bad enough that she didn’t get into the Academy, but getting caught cheating? It’s probably the worst thing Vi could imagine.
Still, there are perks that come with Vi’s family legacy at the school, and when Vi learns that recent pilot disappearances have left the Academy desperate for recruits, she does what any good Park would do–uses her connections to wiggle her way back in. But instead of matriculating with the regular class of future Peacekeepers, Vi is forced to enter as a probationary student, which means she’ll have to work twice as hard to prove herself worthy of a place in the cockpit of one of the legendary dragon mechs.
Lucky for Vi, the Academy has set up a combat tournament for all students, and the prize is a guaranteed spot in the Peacekeeper corps. Unlucky for Vi, she’ll have to compete against her probie classmates, including Nicholas Lee, a mysterious boy prone to throwing Vi off her game. And as more Peacekeepers go missing, what starts out as a ploy to save her reputation turns into a fight for the future of Peacekeepers everywhere, and if Vi can’t master her mech combat skills, she might not survive the battle.
(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
TW: anxiety attack, domestic abuse, emotional manipulation
After finishing Rebelwing, I wasn’t sure where the sequel would go. But having read Renegade Flight I needn’t have worried. Tang’s second book features Viola, a character that, once I warmed up to her, I ended up loving. Viola is very arrogant, used to the privilege and legacy of her name. So when she’s caught cheating and relegated to life as probationary student, she has to question her motives, friendships, and future.
I enjoyed watching Vi get more exposure to different people, to have to question the path she has been following without questioning. She’s incredibly sarcastic, sometimes rash, and with a good dose of pride. Throughout I was struck with loving how badass Viola was, even as she’s learning how to make friends. Once she cares about you, she’s fiercely loyal, honest, and caring. Renegade Flight is about her learning about herself, her own insecurities, fears, and limitations.
At the same time, the world building has me coming back to Tang’s books over and over again. The concept of sentient mech dragons is only developed in this sequel. Tang questions what people will do to twist technology to serve us. When people push past limitations which were there for good reasons. All the times we are so convinced our fears are worth sacrificing. I felt like the ending was wrapped up pretty quickly, considering the pacing of the book. Overall, Renegade Flight is about Viola and what she believes in, the future she wants to fight for, and what she will compromise.