Defiance (Defiance #1)
By C.J. Redwine
Expected Publication August 28th, 2012
Balzer + Bray
Young Adult Fantasy/Dystopia
Received for review from Balzer + Bray via Edelweiss
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.
I have this odd thing about books with dystopian settings; they all remind me of The Hunger Games. In the first few pages, I expect a dreary picture to be drawn for me. I wait for the big scene in the town center. I just can’t help myself. Needless to say, I don’t read too many dystopian/post apocalyptic books.
I was so relieved when I started this debut YA novel from C.J. Redwine. Immediately, we are thrown into the action of the moment. No sissy narrative world building! You learn the world as you go along in the adventure. But don’t worry, the story won’t run away without you. It’s a great fantasy ride that I’ve been missing from my bookshelves (yes, I will be purchasing this for my shelves when it is released).
I totally geeked out on the setting of this dystopian world. Basically, what happened is that so much mining was done down into the earth that beings referred to as “cursed ones” were released into the world and destroyed entire civilizations. When all but one was eradicated, walled cities went up, each with it’s own leader, culture and justice. There’s slightly more to it but I’ll leave that to you to discover in the book. The reason why I liked this setting so much is because it reminded me of one of my favorite creep-tastic books I read in what feels like forever ago, The Descent by Jeff Long (nothing like the movie). What a creepy idea – demons in the center of the Earth!!
But this story is about Rachel’s search for her father who hasn’t returned from his last courier mission. Told in the first first person by both Rachel and Logan, we see both sides to the story (I personally love hearing both sides to a story). I really felt that Ms. Redwine nailed Logan’s voice. I always question a female writer giving voice to a main male character. I think she nailed a typical guy’s one track mind (not THAT track, if that’s what you’re thinking), lack of filters on the brain to mouth connections and a guy’s general clueless-ness when it comes to females. Face it, guys are simple; they’re just built that way.
I absolutely loved the adventure and intrigue of the story, reminding me of Robert Jordan’s high fantasy series Wheel of Time. You have characters interacting, out on a quest, each with their own agendas. Add in Logan’s unique abilities (I’m not telling!) and I ate it up! But having compared this to high fantasy, don’t think this will be a high fantasy novel; it won’t be. This is a young adult fantasy and it won’t get much deeper than that.
There really were no major flaws to the story that I could find. Personally, I gave it a 4 star review because I felt like a whole slew of characters just got thrown in towards the end to help wrap up the story arc. I wish more time was spent “fleshing” them out. But, hey, that’s a great way to get me to buy the next book 😀
Thank you, Balzer + Bray, for providing a digital copy of this book for my unbiased review!