Within the walls of Baalboden, beneath the shadow of the city’s brutal leader, Rachel Adams has a secret. While other girls sew dresses, host dinner parties, 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 boy who handed her heart right back to her. Left with nothing but 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.
A very big thank you to
for the opportunity to read this book!
I can't remember the first time I heard about Defiance, but as soon as I found out that the author, C.J. Redwine, lives in Nashville, I had to know more. The jacket copy didn't quite sell me on the premise, but the buzz about this book kept talking about its fantasy setting, strong heroine, and plot full of action. So did Defiance exceed my expectations?
WRITING:I really enjoyed Redwine's writing. It was clean, direct, and yet you clearly got what was needed to see the city and the characters in their entirety. I also loved the multiple points of view. I didn't realize this book was going to be told from two perspectives, so it was a nice surprise.
SETTING:The setting of Defiance is neat. Redwine does a great job of making you feel like you are walking the city streets with the characters. There was also a definite sense of the society, which seemed nice but you could tell it had a dark side, what with the whole "Protector" business and all. But I also liked how the setting was a bit different from other fantasy that I have read. You learn a little bit about the world outside of Baalboden, but it didn't seem to be the typical fantasy world full of kingdoms and every kind of creature imaginable. There was definitely more of a city-vibe, probably due to the mentions and descriptions of the tech used in the world as well as a little of the history about how the city of Baalboden came to be.
CHARACTERS:Rachel was a bit of a tough cookie for me. I liked that you knew exactly who she was from the get-go. She was headstrong to a fault and that caused her to go through a lot of unpleasantness. I understood her position and why she acted in the way she did, but it took me a bit to really connect with her. But once I did, I was rooting for her without question. There is a point where her character goes through something traumatic and Rachel just loses it, and I loved that because it made her feel so real and so human to me.
Logan McEntire (anyone recognize that surname???) was another character that I grew to love after not connecting initially. I think my issue here was I wasn't expecting his POV (even though I was welcome to it) and unlike Rachel, his character wasn't apparent from the first instant. In his POV you do find out rather quickly what his role is in Rachel's life as well as his motives for his decisions, but what makes him the person he is takes longer to come out. By the end of the book, though, Logan was my favorite.
I enjoyed the other characters too. Even though you see them from Rachel and Logan's perspectives, they still felt well-rounded and real. There was plenty of opportunity for the secondary characters to come off as flat or unnecessary, but they all added something to the narrative.
Due to a handful of specific things, I am now unsure if Defiance is an other-world fantasy (like any Tamora Pierce novel) or some kind of dystopian fantasy, meaning a fantasy set in the future. There is a mention of buildings that used to reach the sky that are no more, which doesn't necessarily mean anything, but then add in that the word 'kudos' is part of the characters' vocabulary, and it made me wonder. That was actually jarring when I read it. While the language was not ye olde fantasy, and that was fine with me, a word like 'kudos' seemed extremely out of place. Then I got to thinking about how most of the names were fairly normal (Rachel, Logan, Jared), and then there is the technology they are able to use. It's pretty advanced tech for a fantasy world. The fact that the tech exists doesn't both me, but combined with all these other things I came away confused about the genre.
Now, I know that the genre of a book has little to do with anything, but it bothered me because I no longer knew how to see the world the characters lived in. I do not have to know everything about a book for it to either be good or for me to enjoy it, but when you go into a novel expecting one thing and gett something else, it can affect how you feel about it. And at this point I am mostly confused, at least about this facet of the story.
COOL STUFF:Going back to the tech in Defiance, I really enjoyed that part of the novel. I loved how the stuff worked and all the different things that could be done with it. I also liked the fact that magic (or at least what appeared to be magic) and beasties and tech were all present in the same world. It was really cool to read about and definitely a favorite aspect of mine.
Another favorite thing is that there was plenty of action and adventure in this book. Redwine doesn't shy away from the fighting and the horrors in the world she has created, and even when it was difficult to take, it was great.
While Defiance may not be perfect, there is so much in it to love. I did have a little trouble connecting to the characters at first, but they turned out to be some of the most human and realistic characters I have read in YA. Add in a quest, some tragedy, and a world where nothing is black and white, and you've got a story that envelopes you in action and adventure that you'll want to dive into again. I will definitely be continuing this series.