Defiance (Defiance #1)
by C.J. Redwine
Release Date: August 28th 2012
by: Balzer + Bray
Format: Hardcover, 416 pages
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.
Defiance is one of the most complex books I've read in a long time. It sucks you in from the first page and it's got something from everyone: rich world, original plot, lots of action and suspense, strong, well developed characters, heart-melting romance, compelling writing and a beautiful story told in two alternate POVs. In one word - it's a remarkable debut!
Rachel's world threatens to fall apart when her father doesn't come home from his latest trip. Everyone else assumes he is dead, so she's forced to face the consequences of remaining without the only family she had left. And like that wasn't bad and painful enough, she's forced to live with Logan, her father's apprentice. He doesn't seem to be particularly happy when the Commander names him her Protector either, but what choice is there anyway? They all have to answer to him and to do what he says, no question asked, or they will be punished. But Rachel is her father's daughter; she's strong, independent, stubborn and driven; she doesn't sit around wallowing like other girls her age might do in this situation; she's hopeful and determined and she decides to do anything to find her father. Running away, going over the Wall into the Wasteland is extremely risky and dangerous (and, OK, maybe a bit reckless), but her father spent years training her how to handle herself in the Wasteland and how to defend herself against any threat. So when no one else seems to believe her father is still alive out there somewhere and no one goes looking for him, she decides to take matters in her own hands: armed with cool weapons, the skills her father thought her, incredible boldness, strong will and determination, she goes out into the wild.
But she doesn't make it very far when things get complicated and she must work with Logan not only to survive, but to find her father, save her friend and take care of the Commander's latest task - or they will all be killed. So Rachel and Logan set out on a journey that test all their survival skills and abilities, as well as their strength, courage, trust and feelings.
I won't get into details, but wow, there are sooo many things going on in this novel! There's no such thing as putting the book aside to take a break - it's very suspenseful, action packed and fast paced, so it keeps you glued to the pages because you must keep reading to find out what's going to happen next. Lots of adventures, lots of action, lots of near-death situations and intense, emotional moments - it really keeps you on the edge of your seat. Plus, it has this otherworldly, imaginative, surreal feeling that sucks you in and transports you into another world and another time and makes you oblivious to the real world (and suddenly it's 3 AM and you have to go to bed so you won't be a zombie the next day at work - but you can't. Stop. Reading. Well, that's what happened to me, anyway. LOL).
And the characters - both Logan and Rachel - wow, they are so well developed! Flawed, realistic, and yet, so badass and amazing! (They are going to kick serious ass in the next year YA Crush Tourney and YA Heroine Tournament, because they are some of the best characters out there! And when that happens, remember that I'm calling dibs on Logan now. Just saying.:P).
Where was I? Oh, right. Logan. *excuse me a few moments while I swoon* Logan is AWESOME! ♥
*clears throat* OK, moving on. Having his POV was one of the best things about this book - he has such a great voice! When Rachel's father disappears, he drops everything to help her find him, because, yes, he cares about his mentor and believes he is still alive too, but he also cares about Rachel and he's very protective of her - he won't just let her go into the Wasteland alone. He's attracted to her, of course, but he also admires her courage and passion when she fights for the people she loves. He believes in her; he doesn't underestimate her or treat her like some damsel in distress - all on the contrary:
I lift my chin and stare him down. “You’re acting like poor, delicate Rachel must be kept away from even a hint of danger.”
[Logan] laughs, tries to choke it back when he sees my face, and then laughs some more.
“Delicate? You could wipe the cobblestones with just about anyone in Baalboden. I’d hardly call that delicate.”
Logan is clever, creative and very meticulous; he invents all sorts of devices that help them in the most dire situations. He's a fierce fighter, calculated and he has a sharp, analytical mind: he doesn't take action before considering best case scenarios and worst case scenarios; if he doesn't already have a plan, he's working on one while in action.
He can be sweet and charming, but he doesn't have the best way with words, though his thoughts and feelings are always genuine - which leads to all sorts of awkward, yet cute and heart-melting situations:
“You’re telling me you’re going to give me a compliment even though I shouldn’t logically need one?” Her voice doesn’t sound pleased. (...) “Why shouldn’t I need a few compliments?”
I have no idea how this conversation went awry so quickly. I just want to tell her something nice. Does it have to be a ten-minute discussion about motives and semantics? (...)
“Because of the kind of woman you are.”
Speaking slowly solved absolutely nothing. She looks like she might pick up one of the weapons and throw it at my head. I feel more than a little irritated myself.
She speaks around gritted teeth. “And what kind of woman do you think I am, Logan McEntire?”
I snap right back at her. “Confident. Strong. Capable. Stunning. An equal partner in this endeavor in every sense of the word.”
And she IS very strong and capable. Sometimes she can be
foolish too stubborn and reckless and get herself in serious trouble, but that only helps her grow as a character.
Rachel is not like the other girls her age: when they shop, the other girls look at pretty dresses; Rachel looks at scissors "because pointy things make excellent weapons". She's smart and resourceful and finds the most unexpected ways out of scary situations. That's why she and Logan work very well together as a team; they get a purpose, set a course of action and proceed in perfect harmony. They complete each other in everything they do and they support each other when the grief or the severity of their current position almost breaks them. Their story is intense and at times heartbreaking, but very beautiful:
I want Rachel. Not because she’s beautiful. Not because she’s my responsibility. I want her because she makes me laugh. Makes me think. Inspires me to be the kind of man I always hoped I’d be. I want Rachel because the thought of a life without her is more than I can bear. ♥
Like I said, this book is perfect for everyone: if you like Historical Romance, you'll love the time setting, the customs and the way the romantic relationship between Rachel and Logan develops; if you like Paranormal or Fantasy, you'll love the dark, gritty world, kickbutt characters, fierce fights and awesome weapons (swords play = WIN!); if you like Steampunk, you'll love Logan's cool inventions and his passion for all sorts of devices; if you like Dystopia, you'll love the prospect of a desolate, broken society where a brave hero/heroine rebels against an abusive, flawed regimen; if you like coming-of-age stories, you'll love following Rachel on her journey, to see how she evolves; what she learns, how she copes with emotional turmoil and, eventually, how she develops and changes as a character... Add to that a captivating, raw, haunting, beautiful writing and you're set for a wonderful ride!
This didn't take away from my enjoyment of the book overall, but I would have liked to have some background, more information about the world and characters at the beginning - when I started reading it, I was a bit confused and disoriented, with no sense of time and space (I didn't know what year it was, where was the action taking place, who was this Commander, what was the Wasteland and what happened to the rest of the world...). Anyway, like I said, in the grand scheme of things, those details didn't really matter.
I have a feeling this book (series) is going to have quite an impact on the YA lit, so go pick it up as soon as it comes out!;)
It takes facing imminent death to realize I love her. I love her. A fierce light consumes me from the inside out. It blazes through my body until I think there’s no way I can contain it. I don’t want to contain it. I want it to overtake me completely. It’s illogical. Wonderful. Almost painful. ♥
**The quotes were chosen from the Advanced Reader's e-proof, so they might be different in the final version of the book.
*Review copy provided by the publisher HarperCollins Publishers through Edelweiss. Thank you so much!
*Review copy provided by the publisher HarperCollins Publishers through Edelweiss. Thank you so much!