Dissonance, Volume III: Renegade by Aaron Ryan

Dissonance, Volume III: Renegade by Aaron Ryan

A relentless saga of survival against cosmic horrors and human tyranny.

In the gritty, post-apocalyptic world of Aaron Ryan's Dissonance Volume III: Renegade, humanity's fight for survival reaches a shattering climax. Brace yourself for a heart-pounding, emotionally charged thrill ride that redefines the boundaries of alien invasion fiction.
  • Publisher: ‎CM LLC
  • Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopian
  • First Publication: 2024
  • Language: English
  • Series: Dissonance Book#3
  • Previous Book: Dissonance: Volume II: Reckoning
  • Characters: Sergeant Cameron “Jet” Shipley, Lieutenant Allison Trudy, Private Liam “Fox” Mayfield, President Graham

Renegade is the explosive final chapter in Aaron Ryan’s bestselling Dissonance trilogy, a harrowing saga set in 2042 after a devastating alien species known as the gorgons has laid waste to Earth. As the rogue resistance led by Cameron Shipley mounts its boldest counteroffensive yet, they must contend with not only the gorgons’ seemingly insurmountable forces, but also the tyrannical President Graham – a power-mad leader hell-bent on maintaining control at any cost, even if it means annihilating what little remains of humankind.


From the gripping opening moments, Ryan ensnares readers in a masterfully constructed, multilayered narrative thick with tension and dread. Still reeling from profound personal losses, Cameron Shipley emerges as the defiant lynchpin of a growing resistance aimed at toppling both the gorgons and Graham’s despotic regime. Aided by a ragtag crew of elite soldiers and pilots, including the plucky Foxy and charismatic Captain Monzon, Shipley spearheads a daring, two-pronged assault targeting the aliens’ enigmatic “funnel” as well as the deposed President’s loyalists.

Ryan juggles this intricately woven story with remarkable skill, toggling between blistering action sequences and quieter character moments with equal aplomb. The alien invasion elements are rendered in lush, visually arresting strokes – violent aerial dogfights, desperate ground skirmishes, and terrifying close encounters with the gorgons’ cosmic horrors. Yet Ryan always makes sure to anchor these rip-roaring set pieces with an undercurrent of weighty, relatable stakes. We feel Shipley’s all-too-human anguish over his lost loved ones, his nagging guilt and doubts about the lines between justice and vengeance.

As Graham’s increasingly erratic actions edge the world closer to an all-out nuclear catastrophe, the resistance’s mission escalates into a race against doomsday itself. Ryan’s intricate plot mechanics chug forward with remarkable propulsive momentum, slowly untangling a decades-old web of secrets and conspiracies that peel back haunting revelations about the origins of the gorgons’ invasion.

Main Characters:

While the peripheral ensemble shines with vibrant character flourishes—the tenacious Foxy, the stoic but caring Admiral Lynch, Vance Cardona’s gruff and paternal mentorship—Renegade’s narrative core resides squarely with Cameron Shipley. An antihero forged in anguish and loss, he cuts a compelling figure as a man torn between righteous defiance and an almost vampiric lust for vengeance that threatens to consume him. Shipley’s emotional disintegration and gradual reclamation of his humanity is a true roller coaster, made all the more poignant through tender flashbacks to his fiancée Allison and their tragically curtailed future together.

Shipley’s tormented psyche anchors Renegade in gritty, psychological realism. His is a portrait of grief, trauma, and the endless fight to retain one’s soul in the bleakest of circumstances—an arc that resonates with raw, primal power.

Writing Style:

In Renegade’s trenches, Aaron Ryan wields a clean yet immersive prose style that marries military realism and gripping thrills with deft emotional underpinnings. His judicious use of techno-military lingo and procedural details lends even his loftiest sci-fi conceits a hefty sense of verisimilitude, while the sparse but lyrical descriptive passages allow both the cosmic grandeur and gory horror to bleed vividly onto the page. Crucially, Ryan’s writing is elevated by its unrelenting you-are-there immediacy, thrusting readers right into the thick of the harrowing, high-stakes conflicts with Shipley every blistered step of the way.


While delivering a robust payload of explosive spectacle and rousing heroism befitting the genre, Ryan’s narrative ambitions stretch far beyond mere entertainment. Renegade by Aaron Ryan is a trenchant, multifaceted exploration of complex philosophical quandaries. To what extent can justified retribution morph into corrosive vengeance? How does trauma shape our perceptions of justice and morality? How can societies rebuild on a foundation of healing rather than cyclical violence? These heady, richly rendered inquiries into human nature’s deepest marrows lend Renegade a thematic heft on par with classic tales of good vs. evil.

Woven throughout is also a recurring thread of spirituality and faith that provides a luminous contrast to the omnipresent darkness. The gentle, nurturing presence of Major Rosie emerges as a vital counterweight to the gorgons’ insatiable hunger and Graham’s barefaced malice. Her hard-worn words of wisdom about vengeance, justice and the reclamation of one’s soul become both literal lifelines for Shipley and resonant meditations for readers to ponder long after the final electrifying confrontations.

My Personal Take:

At its monstrous molten core, Dissonance Volume III: Renegade by Aaron Ryan is that most paradoxical of all artistic creations—a profoundly humane tale rendered through the most inhumane of horrors. Ryan’s meticulously realized, post-apocalyptic canvas is drenched in the bleak, brooding colors of trauma and existential decimation. Every page drips with dread and a keen, uncompromising awareness of humanity’s most self-destructive impulses. The gorgons may embody the chilling unknowable of cosmic evil, but their human counterparts are arguably more unnerving in their barefaced willingness to sacrifice countless lives in the name of naked power and subjugation of “the other.”

Yet from these ashen landscapes of despair and hate, Ryan cultivates stirring portraits of resilience, love and unwavering solidarity. Characters like Shipley, Foxy and Rosie indelibly illustrate the nobility and compassion that endure even amid the most soul-scourging tribulations. The bonds they form as surrogate families and communities offer a radiant flicker of hope and grace in the bleakest of nights.

In Renegade’s climactic crucible, Aaron Ryan forges a searing catharsis from the saga’s elemental extremes of light and dark. As Shipley is reborn in the ashes of a lost world, we the readers cannot help but feel spiritually revitalized as well—if not from the near-biblical inferno of action on display, then from the profound emotional renewal that comes from staring into the abyss of our worst potentialities, and still finding the strength and moral fiber to evolve into something better. That Renegade even dares to ask such introspective questions while carpet bombing readers with sensory overload speaks to Ryan’s boundless ambition and mastery of his craft.

Wrapping It Up:

A staggering, thought-provoking, and utterly unshakable culmination to one of the 21st century’s most richly humanistic looks at humanity’s capacity for self-inflicted apocalypse. As Aaron Ryan’s Dissonance trilogy reaches its gut-wrenching denouement, Renegade stands as both a towering milestone of its genre and a resounding requiem for everything we’ve sacrificed in our own societies—through shortsightedness, venality and sheer human folly. That his finale still finds space for glimmers of grace, redemption and the reclamation of hope from the embers is a testament to speculative fiction’s unique capacity to unearth deeper truths. Renegade will shake you to your core – and also remake you into something defiantly, beautifully alive.

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  • Publisher: ‎CM LLC
  • Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopian
  • First Publication: 2024
  • Language: English

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In the gritty, post-apocalyptic world of Aaron Ryan's Dissonance Volume III: Renegade, humanity's fight for survival reaches a shattering climax. Brace yourself for a heart-pounding, emotionally charged thrill ride that redefines the boundaries of alien invasion fiction.Dissonance, Volume III: Renegade by Aaron Ryan