Monday, September 17, 2012

Review: Defiance by C.J. Redwine

Title: Defiance
Author: C.J. Redwine
Publication date: August 28th, 2012
Published by: Balzer + Bray
Source: Purchased in a bookstore

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Favorite quote: “Silent acquiescence in the face of tyranny is no better than outright agreement.”  

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars! 

Goodreads synopsis: 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.

Review: C.J. Redwine's Defiance is one of those books that I think will stay with me for quite some time. I was a little worried that my expectations were too high, but this book met and even exceeded them! It was very well written without seeming forced or pretentious and the world and characters were interesting and fully fleshed out (there's an exception, but we'll get to that later). Overall, I was very impressed with this book and can't wait for the sequel!

I originally found the concept of Defiance to be somewhat recycled, but C.J. Redwine put an entirely new twist on an old idea and made it even better. Essentially, Earth as we know it has been destroyed and there is an outside force (The Cursed One, in this case) that makes it so walled cities are necessary for survival. A corrupt leader terrorizes his citizens and sets a chain of events in motion that forces our heroine, Rachel, into action along with our hero, Logan. 

I was very impressed by how real Rachel and Logan's world seemed. I found the concept of Protectors and Wards to be interesting and Redwine actually made it sound like a conceivable system. I also found it very interesting that her civilization went backwards in a sense. Their technology is somewhat advanced, but the society in regards to human rights and the quality of life for citizens went way down and was actually bordering upon medieval. This book is a great look into a possible future. There are fantastical elements, but it is definitely making a statement. There are undertones of sexism, classicism,  and racism that give this book depth and make it more than a simple YA read.

My only issue with this book and the only thing that kept me from giving it five stars was Rachel. I found her character to be fairly unlikable in that she's very self-centered and predictable. She is unable to distance herself from a situation and look at things from a rational perspective. In fact, she spends the majority of the book acting purely on emotion and puts very little thought into any move she makes. By doing so, she endangers those around her that she holds dear and only realizes this after things have become so convoluted and terrible that she is unable to fix them. Some may argue that Logan is her voice of reason, but for such a strong, independent girl, I would have liked to see her function more successfully on her own and I hope to see her do so in the next book.

Logan was a likable, well rounded character that I found myself relating to and rooting for. At times I found myself hoping that he would sit Rachel down and talk some sense into her because he isn't blind to her faults, but it never happened. That isn't to say that I hoped he would rip into her and try to change who she is, but having such an opposite personality, I had hoped that he would be less willing to allow her to act purely on emotion and would try to explain how her actions would effect others.

Final Word: Defiance definitely seems to be heading down a long and successful road. It's earned a place with my favorite dystopian titles and is definitely my favorite of the year so far. I had a few issues with it, but overall I found it to be very intelligent, heartfelt, and a great beginning to what I hope will be a wonderful trilogy!

What about you guys? Did you like this book? Why or why not?

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