Defiance by C. J. Redwine is rich postapocalyptic YA fantasy perfect for fans of Graceling and Tamora Pierce.
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.
Description taken from Goodreads.
I don’t understand the appeal to this book all that much.
I mean–I understand the appeal in the sense that the blurb is attractive and the characters seem pretty awesome in the beginning and hey, Tamora Pierce and GRACELING? I could go for that. I would love to read GRACELING for the first time again.
But this book is not it, and I do not understand the glowing reviews for this book and this story.
Sure, I can understand the characters. Both Rachel and Logan start off well. Logan prevailed in my mind. He was stupid but he was endearing. Rachel… not so much.
Explanation? First example starts unfolding not fifty pages into the book.
- p. 30. Rachel’s point of view (POV). After Logan becomes her Protector and she moves into his house, she confronts him about finding a way over the Wall and going after her dad. Unbeknownst to both of them, they both have plans to individually go after Rachel’s dad even though Logan pointed out all the dangers to the both of them (and especially her) going. One little snippet I should point out here: Three days after moving into Logan’s house, I found his magnetic handgrips, perfect for sliding safely down the bulky steel ribs along the Wall.
- Also on this page, going onto page 31. It’s been thirteen years since a woman dared walk through Lower Market without her Protector. She paid for her actions with her life. Flicking the hood of my cloak over my head, I make sure it hides every strand of the red hair that makes me so easily recognizable. I don’t like the idea of risking my life by going into the Lower Market alone… but she does it anyway. No big deal. Everyone can see she doesn’t have her Protector, but of course no one says anything and the police don’t notice.
- p. 32. I have no intention of allowing them to catch me. Nobody ever intends to get hit by cars or slam into someone coming around a corner. Thieves typically do not intend to get caught stealing. Intention means nothing here.
- p. 43. Rachel tricks a man into escorting her to her father’s friend Oliver’s house, not noticing that the Commander’s personal Brute Squad is making the rounds and failing to mention that she is Rachel Adams, who could get that innocent man killed.
- p. 46. “What am I supposed to tell Logan if I let you put yourself in danger?” Oliver asks, still moving towards me, though we both know he can’t catch up.
That I’m sorry? That I no longer meant any of the things I’d said two years ago? That he brought this on both of us by not listening to me and helping me search for Dad? I square my shoulders, flick my hood over my hair again, and pat the sheath strapped to my waist.
“Tell him he’s too late,” I say, stepping our of Oliver’s tent and into the shadow of the Wall.
- By doing this, she’s completely throwing away Oliver and Logan and hoping that the Commander won’t pay attention to them because she just magically slips away.
- p. 50. Logan’s POV. I’d rather not a match for the Brute Squad either, but I’m not about to fail her. What wouldn’t Logan do for Rachel? There has to be something, but he’s evidently not going to say it. Of course, the first guard spots her at page 51, showing how incompetent and how incredibly blinded by grief she is. If I can see her, so can the guard above me. In seconds, I hear the soft whoosh of a body plummeting to the ground and brace myself. He lands slightly to the right of me, all of his attention on Rachel.
- p. 52. Worst Case Scenario 3: Commander Chase discovers her act of treason, tries to punish her for it, and I draw my weapon against the man who rules all of Baalboden with an iron first of terror. This is sweet and all, but then you both get tortured and killed and you have to give up the information that you have about Rachel’s father, achieving nothing and getting punished for treason.
- p. 55. One wrong move, and I’ll never be heard from again. Which means I can’t make a mistake. My hands shake as I rehearse my plan. Run out the doorway. Grab the edge of the Wall. Vault over. Slam my hands against the steel ribbing as I fall. Slide down and escape into the vast, treacherous darkness of the Wasteland with nothing but my wits and my knife. It can work. It has to work. I take a deep breath and spring out the door. I haven’t gone more than three yards before I slam into a hard, unyielding obstacle. Strong fingers reach out to grab my arms, and I look up. Commander Chase.
- p. 58. “It isn’t foolish. I know what I’m doing. My father saw to that.” Way to go, Rachel. You were determined not to give up any secrets and now you willingly told them your father trained you to fight.
- p. 59. More guards enter the room, pushing another man in front of them. Logan. The same Logan who, the last time we saw him, was determined to kill the Commander if he hurt Rachel. And he got caught.
- p. 60 – 65. Rachel and Logan give up all their secrets in an effort to get permission to track and bring back Rachel’s dad.
- **segment left out due to spoilers**
- p. 71 – 72. “Don’t be an idiot.” She sounds like she’s gritting her teeth. “I didn’t know the Commander had his guards following us.”
Wowwwww. So you expect to know if the Commander is having you followed?
“Of course you didn’t. Because you’re so wrapped up in missing Jared, you refuse to look at anything else.” I regret the words as soon as I say them.
No, Logan, you should not regret those words.
- p. 76. Logan almost kisses Rachel. Logan, the boy that swears he has no feelings for her. Rachel, who says that her feelings have all disappeared. Great.
There were so many things wrong with this book for me. World-building was extremely poor and ^ characters were unlikable ^. The dramatic, tears-and-sobs romance completely takes over this story, despite the fact that the book is supposed to start out with Rachel hating Logan and Logan in no way wanting a romance with Rachel.
As for good things, there were a few. I liked the writing style of this story, and I do believe that people could come to like it. Honestly though, I think there are much better paranormals as well as high fantasies that would be better options than this book. While DEFIANCE had lots of great elements, I couldn’t bring myself to love it. Instead, I would recommend books such as Black City by Elizabeth Richards (for paranormal fans), Defy by Sara B. Larson (for high fantasy fans) or Graceling by Kristin Cashore (for high fantasy fans). 1 star.
pg count for the hardback: 403