Within the walls of Baalboden, beneath the shadow of the city's brutal leader, Rachel Adams has a secret. While other girls sew dresses 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 one who handed her heart right back to her. Left with nothing but a 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 those debuts that's been sweeping the book blogesphere recently. Everyone seems to have been reading it and loving it. KICK ASS heroine is the number one rave I was repeatedly hearing, and if I have one soft spot in my reading it's a kick ass heroine (fiction, non-fiction, doesn't matter. I'm a big Catherine the Great fan). So on a recent trip to Chapters, the hubs treated me to a copy of Defiance, despite my teetering tower of September review books. Sometimes you just need a I want that kind of book, you know what I mean?
I have slightly mixed feelings about the book, to be frank. It had total moments of win for me, the story arc has some great potential, and the world was an intriguing dystopic/fantasy mix. Logan and Rachel were lovable and they each had an excellent fighting spirit I enjoyed. But, and this but bothered me while reading but grew exponentially once I gave the story some time to percolate, they had this ridiculous and repetitive obsession with rescuing each other. I mean every time there was some kind of situation, there was a mad competition between Logan and Rachel to throw themselves on the sword to protect the other. It got borderline manic, and after awhile all I could think was, dude! ENOUGH ALREADY!! I GET IT!
It became so very selfish. I luurrrrrrrvvvvvvve him/her so very much, I will die for him/her, screw how angry that makes the other person! If they were so damn perfect for each other than how about they cooperate on some of these situations instead of constantly trying to sacrifice themselves? Now granted, generally they have a plan, and it goes horribly astray and the sacrifice is a last ditch effort, but talk about a tired trope. I do not need a story arc that involves this repeatedly happening, always with the same results.
Outside of that beef, there was a lot of fun to be had. Rachel is a great heroine with pig headed determination and crazy fighting prowess. I enjoyed how often she's underestimated, only to shock others with her skills. But she's still naive and I enjoyed the combo. Rachel is not a hardened killing machine, and the dichotomy gave her a softness that worked well in the story.
Logan was an atypical hero, a little bit MacGyver, a little bit mad inventor, and amusingly, totally inept with Rachel. His moments of desperate tongue tie-ness were so funny I often re-read them several times.
I should say something.This is no Prince Charming, all the girls were not falling over him, but his appeal was singularly for Rachel which I also liked. I get tired of all the gorgeous people falling for each other, I didn't particularly like the gorgeous people in high school, why would I want to read about them now? And lately I feel like it's a never ending parade of the beautiful people.
No, not just anything. She had a rough day yesterday. She probably needs words of comfort and compassion.
I should've invited Oliver to breakfast...
The silence between us feels unwieldy. I clear my throat and try to think of the most conciliatory greeting I can compose. Ho are you? Did you enjoy sleeping in my tiny loft instead of the comfortable bed you've always known? It's somewhat cold outside. Did you bring your heavy cloak when you packed up all your belongings to move here because I didn't fast enough on my feet to realize I should let you keep your home?
If those sound half as stupid coming out of my mouth as they do in my head, I can't say them. Maybe I should just offer her some breakfast...
She reaches her hand toward the delicately spliced wires of my new invention. I leap to my feet, scattering books across the floor, and say, "Don't touch that!"
She freezes and looks at me for the first time.
"I mean...it's still a work in progress and it needs... Did you sleep okay? Of course not. You have your cloak, right? Because the weather is... I'm just going to make you some breakfast."
There was a niggling little hint at a future love triangle that I really hope Redwine avoids, again, tired trope, but other than that the ending of Defiance was an intriguing set up that might potentially play out in some great epic struggle. I dig a good epic struggle.
All in all, it wasn't as perfectly satisfying as many readers are setting it up to be, not for me at least. But it was well worth the read, with lots of funny moments and a story that might be going somewhere worth overlooking the endless "I love you more!" struggles.
Defiance, by C.J. Redwine
Published by Balzer and Bray, August 28th, 2012
Buy Defiance on Amazon