Monday, August 27, 2012

Defiance by C.J. Redwine

Release date: August 28, 2012
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Format: ARC
Source: Borrowed
Pages: 416
Buy the book: Barnes & Noble | Amazon | The Book Depository

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.
When you read the synopsis of Defiance it sounds pretty much like a fantasy, doesn't it? I hate to tell you, but it's really not. Somehow, it's set in the future, with advanced technology and everything. This juxtaposition didn't sit well with me. I didn't like a world that seemed archaic with technology past what we have today. With such technology, I don't feel like the people of this world would live like they do. Everything points to something medieval, but it's NOT and it bothered me. (This is a slight rant, and for that I"m sorry. I just had to get it off my chest before I got to really reviewing or the whole thing would be a rant. I also realize this whole paragraph makes no sense. Ignore me. :) It shouldn't be terribly difficult.)

Despite the above rant, generally I really enjoyed Defiance. Most things were done well, with Rachel being a stand-out protagonist. From a young age, she is trained to take care of herself. She can fight, hide, survive in the wild, and is mentally very tough. She has lost much but persists on, even when all seems lost. Despite being a rather tough person, she is very loving and wants to protect others. This is evidenced in her relationship with her father, with Logan, and with her surrogate grandfather, all of whom she loves fiercely and will do anything to protect. I just loved the girl.

The relationship between Rachel and Logan, obviously a romantic-skewing one, could have been a low for this book very easily. BUT it was done well and flowed very naturally, even though Rachel had established feelings before the start of the book, so it didn't feel like it was too quick or forced. Logan is, admittedly, an easy character to fall for. He is, like Rachel, loving and protective, but he's also insanely intelligent and has a plan and an invention for just about every situation. I loved in his chapters when he'd list all of the things that could go wrong and the best and worst case scenarios. That added something very individual to him that helped make him real to me. It never hurt that he was so ready to sacrifice everything for the girl he loved. :)

My biggest disappointment, as evidenced in my rant, is based in the world-building. I didn't get it. Without the dystopian aspect and the technology, it would have served very well as a alternate medieval times. Magic substituted for the technology would make much more sense and could solve most of my problems. Sad, I know. (MAGIC IS NOT THE ANSWER. It's like a drug...) I understood that this unknown monster had destroyed the world as they knew it and that this guy somehow prevented the monster from attacking the people, but I just couldn't wrap my head around it working. I couldn't. And still can't. Normally, world-building is a minor complaint for me, but it is what made Defiance a shaky four stars rather than a comfortable five.

While I felt that Defiance was absolutely worth my time and a very enjoyable read, there is a lot of ground to be covered in the second book in order for me to continue with the series.

Risk a paper cut? A solid yes for this installment. You'll root for Rachel and Logan's plight like your life depends on it.

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