May 27, 2013

Review: Defiance by C.J. Redwine

Title: Defiance (Defiance #1)
Author: C.J. Redwine
Release Date: August 28th, 2012
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Page Count: 403
Source: Borrowed from the New York Public Library
Rating: ★★★☆☆
While the other girls in the walled city-state of Baalboden learn to sew and dance, Rachel Adams learns to track and hunt. While they bend like reeds to the will of their male Protectors, she uses hers for sparring practice.

When Rachel's father fails to return from a courier mission and is declared dead, the city's brutal Commander assigns Rachel a new Protector: her father's apprentice, Logan--the boy she declared her love to and who turned her down two years before. Left with nothing but fierce belief in her father's survival, Rachel decides to escape and find him herself.

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.

[Summary Source: Goodreads]

Rachel's father, the top tracker in Baalboden, is declared dead when he fails to return from his latest mission, but she's not buying it. And with good reason it seems - because neither does the crazy, sadistic, dictatorial ruler of Baalboden. Now, due to threats on her life and the lives of those she loves, Rachel must go out and find the package her father was supposed to bring home. Oh, and there's this boy, Logan, who she totally has the hots for even though he rejected her. He's not supposed to go with her, but, well, since when to really cute inventors ever do what they're told?

PS: The reason everyone's sequestered behind walled cities? There's this scary monster called the Cursed One that roams the earth frying/eating people. Safety can be found in the cities while almost certain death lies in the Wasteland. DUNDUNDUN.

Let's break this down:

This book. I'm a little mad at it because I could have REALLY REALLY loved it - I just had some issues. So I'll start with the good and move onto the bad.

I LOVE Rachel. Love her. She's exciting and headstrong and tough and loyal and pretty much all the things I like in a protagonist. I totally get her motivations and her feels - I'm just totally with her the whole book.

The way the different players all interact also works for me. From the bigger stuff, like the way Baalboden works as a city, to the emotional connections between individual characters (Logan-Logan's mom, Rachel-Oliver-Jared, Rachel-Logan, Jared-Logan...), everything in this book makes sense. This would be how things go down.

I ALSO really liked the world-building. The whole postapocalypic premise totally worked for me. I mean, humans WOULD drill too far. I can't say there WOULD be a monster living under the surface, but yeah, check yes to the drilling.

What I'm not sure about is the fantasy aspect. Like I said, yes to drilling, unsure about the moster under the earth. And yeah, I get that this monster under the earth is a little/lot fantastical, but throwing in a fantastical element on top of the present we have now without more background threw me off a bit. Like, I think maybe I was expecting this book to be in the past or in the future but with the fantasy better weaved in? Like the future the book takes place in isn't the future of the present world we all live in today, but a different world where there were some fantastical things already happening and this monster popping out of the ground wasn't totally out of left field.

I hope that makes sense. It's just, to me, the best dystopians and postapocalypic stories are the ones that I can actually imagine happening. As in, if someone majoring screws up in the next however many years, there could be a virus and half the population could turn into zombies. Perhaps The Hunger Games could really happen. But I don't buy that a monster none of us know about could pop out of the ground and wreck havoc like that.

I also, unfortunately, don't love Logan. First of all, he's too black and white. I feel like he's supposed to be the ying to Rachel's yang (y'know, he's all structure and plans and she's all reckless abandon) but he just comes off as way more straight arrow than anyone on the planet actually is. No one has that many backup plans. Unless they're in some government agency or something. Or maybe they do, but I just would have liked to see Logan be a little more dimensional as a whole?

My other issue with Logan is his end of his relationship with Rachel. I get where she was coming from. She loved him, he didn't love her, it's a wash and then everything that happens in this book happens. But Logan makes less sense. WHY didn't he want to be with her when she confessed her love when she was 15. And what changed? I totally accepted the fact that there was a change I just don't understand what spurred it now, after all of this. If it's because he felt like he'd be betraying her father back then, I'm not sure why straight arrow Logan would suddenly think it okay to be open about his feelings. I dunno. The whole early rejection, later acceptance felt a little forced and unnecessary to me. Which sucks because when I ignored that first bit, the love between them was so brilliant and wonderful. I just had trouble ignoring.

The long and short of it?

Plot: Barring Logan's early rejection of Rachel's feelings, I liked everything that went on here.
World Building: Solid. Except fantasy on top of the future version of present day kind of threw me. The different aspects don't really gel. But I blame my stubborn love of fantasy for that one.
Character Development: Rachel is a GREAT heroine. I'm just not sure I totally understand Logan. Like at all. Which shouldn't be the case because this a dual POV books.
Prose: I really did enjoy the writing - definitely not what hindered my enjoyment of this book.
Would I Recommend This Book?: Epic romance? Check. Postapocaliptic world? Check. A little bit of fantasy? Check. Honestly? A lot of people I know really liked this one and I think my issues with it are just my own personal hang-ups. If you can reconcile the initial romantic rejection and the set up of the Postapocaliptic world, go for it. If you think you'd have the same issues I did, skip it.

Did you have issues with this book? Were they the same as mine or something else? Perhaps you loved it. PERHAPS you can explain Logan's seemingly sudden emotional shift. If you can, talk to me in the comments below. PLEASE. I want to get it, really!


  1. See, I thought it started out more fantasy for me and then moved into the post-apocalyptic setting... but then bounced back to fantasy. Like... maybe there's a post-apocalypse setting in a fantasy world? Hey, it could happen!

    Otherwise, I feel like this was a solid read for me. I didn't think too much about Logan, but there were tiny moments that made him shine for me. Overall, great read and can't wait for the next one!

  2. I struggled with the beginning of this book, and it was nearly a DNF for me. BUT I persisted, and discovered that I did like this story! I think it's fairly interesting, and the elements in it are pretty likable. I'm very curious about what's going to happen next to all of these characters.

  3. I actually liked the mix of fantasy and dystopian in this, I thought it worked really well. I wasn't a big fan of Logan and Rachel together though I did like Rachel as a character. This was just an okay read for me, but like you I felt like I could have really loved it

    Cait x


Hey there! Thanks so much for stopping by my blog. I would love to hear your thoughts, so please leave a comment. Also, if you have a blog, be sure to leave a link so I can go check it out!