by C.J. Redwine
Balzer + Bray
August 28, 2012
Source: Finished copy received courtesy of Harper Collins
Within the walls of Baalboden, beneath the shadow of the city's brutal leader, Rachel Adams has a secret. While other girls sew dresses and obey their male Protectors, Rachel knows how to survive in the wilderness and deftly wield a sword. When her father, Jared, fails to return from a courier mission and is declared dead, the Commander assigns Rachel a new Protector, her father's apprentice, Logan--the same boy Rachel declared her love for two years ago, and the same one who handed her heart right back to her. Left with nothing but a fierce belief in her father's survival, Rachel decides to escape and find him herself. But treason against the Commander carries a heavy price, and what awaits her in the Wasteland could destroy her.
At nineteen, Logan McEntire is many things. Orphan. Outcast. Inventor. As apprentice to the city's top courier, Logan is focused on learning his trade so he can escape the tyranny of Baalboden. But his plan never included being responsible for his mentor's impulsive daughter. Logan is determined to protect her, but when his escape plan goes wrong and Rachel pays the price, he realizes he has more at stake than disappointing Jared.
As Rachel and Logan battle their way through the Wasteland, stalked by a monster that can't be killed and an army of assassins out for blood, they discover romance, heartbreak, and a truth that will incite a war decades in the making.(Taken from Goodreads.)
The weight of their pity is like a stone tied around my neck.
My Take On It
Defiance has been one of my most anticipated books of 2012 so when I received a finished copy of the book from the publisher I was BEYOND thrilled. Guys, the cover is even MORE beautiful up close! I'm not always a fan of the "pretty girl on the YA book cover" trend but this cover is shimmery and let's face it, this girl with her awesome laced up suede boots and flowing cloak is BAD ASS.
And guess what? This book and this heroine is also BAD ASS. I loved Defiance! Loved the story, loved the characters, loved the action, loved the romance, and loved the mashed-up genre of post apocalyptic /dystopic/ fantasy/ steampunk. Defiance is a wild ride and I enjoyed every last second of it!
Defiance is told in from the alternating POV of our heroine Rachel and her protector (and total dreamboat) Logan. Now some of you readers out there don't much care for the dual or multiple POV, and I know you have legitimate arguments as to why, but I personally LOVE it. Character and character development overrides (almost) everything when I am reading so if a character is not fleshed out enough for me, chances are the book is not going to be a favorite. So being allowed into the mind of not one but two (or more) characters is such a treat for me. In Defiance I loved the voice of both narrators, and while some reviews have complained that it was hard to distinguish between the two, I didn't have that problem at all. Rachel and Logan are two very different people in many ways, yet seem to balance each other out perfectly. I found their voices to be individual.
Are you looking for a heroine who unapologetically kicks ass and takes names? Well look no further, friends. I give you Rachel Adams, daughter of the tracker Jared Adams who has gone missing at the story's start and has been declared dead. Rachel, an only child, was raised differently than the other girls of her city-state of Baalboden. In a place where women have lost almost all basic rights afforded to them in our world today, Rachel not only trained with her father in self defense but also secretly traveled with him on his tracking assignments outside the city walls into the Wasteland. So Rachel is no wilting flower or damsel in distress. If anything she is almost too hard edged. But she loves fiercely, and when her father goes missing she is determined to escape the city to search for him.
Rachel is clever, strong and brave but she is also rash, impatient, and unforgiving. And when Rachel is wronged she will do anything to exact revenge on those responsible. Guys, you know what is so great about this type of character? She is way out of sync with the world in which she lives. Rachel's city is lorded over by a tyrannical leader known as the Commander, and trust me, he is horrible to the nth degree. In Rachel's city a woman unescorted in public is grounds for severe punishment. But Rachel bucks these constraints every chance she gets. Is that the smartest thing for her to do? Uh, no. But does it make her a character that you can totally get behind and cheer on? Absolutely.
Defiance's other narrator is Logan, the boy who has served as Rachel's father's apprentice for a number of years, basically since he was made an orphan after his mother was beaten to death for breaking the Commander's atrocious laws. I LOVE Logan. He's brilliant and seemingly unemotional and closed off but in reality he is actually filled with all sorts of hopes and dreams. Including dreams of love and dreams of vengeance, not so unlike our girl Rachel. I love smart guys in books, they exude their own kind of hotness. Logan likes to weigh the odds, and his analytic mind is always throwing out best and worse case scenarios which just made me love him even more as the story progressed. Whereas Rachel is impetuous and over-excited, Logan is calm, calculating and likes to think things through. But Logan is no sissy boy. He is actually pretty bad ass himself, he knows his way around weapons and is a whiz with explosives (YES!) In addition, he has skills that would put Houdini to shame. So in other words: he and Rachel are PERFECT for each other.
Rachel and Logan have a stormy past. Rachel bared her heart to him a few years earlier only to have him shoot her down. Well, not being someone who likes getting burned twice, she has since shut Logan out. Logan, on the other hand, cares for Rachel but feels that his future goal, which includes revenge on those responsible for murdering his mother, doesn't allow room for romance. Even romance with Rachel, who he does find to be amazing.
You know one of the things I loved most about this book? The unpredictability of it. What I mean is, yes, we know there is going to be a romance between Rachel and Logan. But you know those books you read that feature a romance and somehow there is always an obstacle thrown in their path, an obstacle that could be easily avoided had the two characters just communicated with each other? It's the type thing that makes you scream out loud in frustration. I always kind of thought this device had to be included to keep the story going. You had to have miscommunication between people in books because it made conflict arise and conflict is good, right? It's irritating to have to sit through it but it gives us a big pay off in the end, right? It's totally necessary, right? WRONG. On numerous occasions in Defiance, Rachel and Logan begin falling into that downward spiral, the one where you know what's coming next. It's going to be a big miscommunication and then we'll spend the next 100 or so pages waiting for them to work it all out. But instead, author C.J. Redwine does the unthinkable. She actually let's the two characters talk it out. She actually let's them communicate to each other and avoid a giant mess. And you know what? It works. It turns out you don't have to use that tired old ploy after all! The story keeps moving forward and nothing suffers because of it! When I read Defiance and witnessed this in action I was astounded! And THRILLED. Brava Ms. Redwine for successfully removing this predictable trope and allowing the story arc to move forward naturally and realistically! Authors, more of this please.
Defiance is DARK, folks. And what I mean is there is a EVIL man at work in Defiance. EVIL. The commander is one of the best (and by that I mean worst) villains I have read lately. He's like Voldemort bad, he manipulates and kills with complete abandon. There are moments in Defiance where I was shocked by the brutality of it. The characters of Rachel and Logan endure SO much at the hands of this man, I don't think I have ever wished a fictional character dead more in my life. It's easy to understand how they both feel the need for revenge against this person who has stripped them of so much in their young lives.
And Redwine can write some heartbreaking scenes. When Rachel loses someone very close to her she completely breaks down. I love how Redwine captured her feelings of loss, hopelessness, and fear. It made Rachel, this total kick butt warrior, vulnerable. And it's pretty spectacular when you can accomplish something like that. Especially in your first book.
There is also danger in the form of The Cursed One, a dragon -like monster that lives underground and is the reason that most of the world was destroyed years earlier. This creature, somewhat ridiculous name aside, is pretty terrifying. But honestly? The Commander, with his streak of evil more than a mile wide, is the scarier of the two.
The romance between Logan and Rachel was totally swoonworthy. There is tension and slow burn between the two, so when a breakthrough finally happen it is AWESOME. And very swoony. Again, smart guys are so hot:) Especially when they make cool gadgets! And guess what? No love triangle, woo hoo! HOWEVER. We are introduced to some secondary characters that it would seem are going to play a role in future books. And some of these characters are very interesting in their own right. Not saying that there is going to be another love interest, because how would I know? I'm just saying I have this feeling about someone.... That's all you're getting from me:)
Many of the reviews I have read of Defiance complain about the lack of world building or lack of explanation as to why and how the world came to be this way in the first place. Honestly, it didn't bother me so much. The destruction of the world as we know it was caused by these dragon creatures emerging from below ground after attempts to drill for a fuel source released them from the bowels of the earth. So there is a hint at the dangers of not taking care of our environment at work. And the fact that only pockets of civilization survived after this occurred seems logical. I think what most people have issues with is how these city-states could come under the control of people like the Commander and a dark ages of sorts (complete with the emergence of a domineering patriarchal society) ensue in such a short amount of time. I think these are all relevant questions and I hope they are investigated and answered in future installments. But does this detract so much that I didn't enjoy the book overall? Nope. I think there is a method to Redwine's madness and all shall be revealed at a later date.
Fans of cliffhangers (Ha! Like anyone really loves a cliffhanger!) will be disappointed because Defiance ends on a rather calm note. Calm but still filled with unanswered questions and dangling plot threads that will surely be examined in the future.
My verdict? LOVED it! Love the characters and love the unpredictability and surprises! Love the easy to read writing style of C.J. Redwine as well. I know that Ms. Redwine doesn't read reviews, and I respect her stance, but I hope someone who knows her will read mine one day and pass on to her that this particular reader was impressed and will definitely be back for more:)
Have you ever checked out C.J. Redwine's blog? She's a hoot and does outstanding author interviews! Find it HERE.
Check out some other reviews of Defiance:
Jen Ryland/ YA Romantics
Good Books and Good Wine
Birth of a New Witch
Nocturnal Book Reviews
Ivy Book Bindings
And now for the GIVEAWAY! I want to give one lucky reader my copy of Defiance!
- This giveaway will be for US residents only (check out my Banned Book Week and The Serpent's Ring giveaways if you are international!)
- You must be 13 years or older to enter
- All my standard rules and policies apply. Find them HERE
This giveaway will run through October 25. Good luck!
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