Defiance by C. J. Redwine
Release: August 28, 2012
Source: Publisher (e-ARC)
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.
I started reading Defiance, expecting epic adventure and a kick-butt heroine. And I am pleased to say that Defiance met, and exceeded, my expectations.
But first, let me be frank: the writing in Defiance is okay. It's not magical, lyrical, or poetic. It is choppy and honest, but that suits the book well. Once I got over my desire to read "flowery prose", I was completely and irrevocably absorbed in the world CJ Redwine created.
Balboan is a city surrounded by tall stone walls that protect its citizens from "The Cursed One"--a monstrous beast that lives underground, with killer instincts and an impeccable sense of hearing. Rachel lives in this town, ruled by the vicious and cruel Commander. When Rachel's father goes missing, she has every intention to find him. But the Commander doesn't make it easy and then there's the issue with Logan, her "protector" and childhood crush. A few years back, Logan made it clear that a relationship between them wasn't possible. Ever since, things have been awkward between the two.
But both Logan and Rachel share a common belief: Rachel's father is not dead and they need to search for him.
In a daring plan of escape from the strict confines of Baalboden, Rachel (and eventually Logan) embark on a journey full of ups and downs. Honestly, this book had my heart racing and my breath quickening. It was that intense. I didn't want to stop reading because I was so invested in these perfectly flawed characters! Rachel's as fierce as they come: lethal and loyal (to a fault). Instead of teaching her to be a "lady", her father made her into a very capable and independent fighter. And Logan: so devoted, calculating, and intelligent! Then there's the Commander, who made me shiver with every scene he entered.
As far as world-building goes, Baalboden is reminiscent of the Middle Ages, with a bit of futuristic technology embedded in its society. I found it fascinating! The characters, the world, and the tight-paced action-packed plot made this a delicious read. Ah, but what would a YA book be without some romance?
The romance in Defiance is sweet, if a bit rushed in the beginning. I had to tell myself that Logan and Rachel have a history, and perhaps that is why I felt things developed a bit too quickly between them. What sets this apart from a lot of other romances, though, is that Rachel doesn't sacrifice her passion and independence for love. She has an emotional "need"for Logan, but that need doesn't break her. She does what she has to do to move on and find her father. She's broken, but not defeated.
To be honest, a part of me feared I would be let down by the mystery behind Rachel's Father's disappearance. I wasn't. In fact, my mouth was hanging open when I found out and I said "uh oh"for reasons you will have to find out yourself. *winkwink* I think a part of me had a vague idea of what the package would be, but I was too caught up and absorbed in the story to make a fully-formed guess.
Overall, Defiance is full of twists and turns, some cliched and some surprising. It is a fantastic and imaginative debut. I am also pleased to say that, while Defiance doesn't end on a terrible cliffhanger, it is clear that there is more to come. I honestly can't wait to see what's in store for Logan and Rachel!
RATING: 5/5 SLICES