An Astounding Dystopian Debut: Defiance by C.J. RedwineFriday, September 28, 2012
Defiance (Defiance #1)
by C.J. Redwine
Genre: YA Science Fiction > Dystopia
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication date: August 28th 2012
Pages: 403 (hardcover)
Source: finished copy from publisher
Author's website | GoodReads
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.
This book nearly gave me a heart attack. Remember those scary horror-themed amusement park rides that start slow and accelerates when you're off guard? Defiance is exactly like that.
The story is set in Baalboden, and the places beyond the walls that surround it. Their world is constantly threatened by a beast called The Cursed One, and the only way to be safe is to pledge allegiance to the Commander, a tyrant of a leader who can no longer be trusted with his powers. The world building is intricate, and never fails to amaze me. Their world didn't differ too much from other dystopian worlds out there, but it still added something fresh and unique to the genre. The settings were described in detail and I felt like I was a part of the book and could see everything in front of me.
Rachel, the protagonist, deals with a lot of emotional heartache throughout the book. She had so much stress, sadness, anger and despair, but her 'strong girl' front refuses to break down and everything just builds up inside her. I could feel her emotions slowly rise up to the surface though, and her development really struck me in way that gave me hope. She was fierce and headstrong, and did things that would change her forever, but she never strayed.
Our other hero, Logan, was much easier to dissect and understand as a character. He lost his mother at an early age and grew up as an outcast because of the Commander, but he isn't as vengeful as Rachel. He is much more calm and sensible, and he always had a bunch of back-up plans on his sleeve. Rachel's grandfather Oliver took him in when no one else would, so he is extremely appreciative of everything and everyone around him. Rational, smart, and noble, Logan is a far cry from the broody and mysterious types that we usually meet, and it made me love him even more. Logan also has an array of gadgets and inventions that would pop up throughout the novel, and I really appreciated the intricacy and uniqueness of each one.
Like any other hero, Rachel and Logan each had their own fatal flaw. Rachel was too reckless and impulsive, never thinking thoroughly on how her actions would impact others. She would always rebel and show off that she wasn't a weak little lady, and Logan always had to save her from herself. I sometimes saw her as a tad bit selfish, but with reason. Logan had a hard time learning how to trust people, and it often led him to greater disasters. For someone so smart, he could be very dense and he had a hard time understanding people.
The story was told in their alternating POVs, and their individual voices really came through for me. I rarely come across a well-written and realistic male perspective written by a female author, so I really enjoyed reading Logan's parts. The minor characters were jut as interesting, but I just wish that they had a constant role and didn't just jump in and out of the plot like tag-team buddies.
The storyline was paced just right, smoothly accelerating when it has to. The fight scenes in the book were explained in such detail and it was just like watching an action movie unfold right in front of you. The book also had it's fair share of romance, but it didn't take a life of it's own. The romantic scenes, though minimal, were intense and filled with passion. I could easily see this book turned into a successful movie.
Defiance is a book that deals with a lot of tricky issues. A corrupt government, secrets hidden in plain sight, dangerous war tools, and a love blossoming from the pain of loss, you never know what could happen. There's mystery, intrigue, and darkness- but it is also hopeful and vibrant. Defiance is not afraid to show the readers that there is always darkness and that terrible things happen, but sometimes those terrible things- they save you.
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