Monday, August 20, 2012

Review: Defiance

C.J. Redwine
Paranormal Young Adult/Dystopian
416 pages
Balzer + Bray
Available August 28th
Received from publisher for review

THE STORY (from 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, 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.


MY THOUGHTS
Emotionally gripping, Defiance wastes little time drawing readers into Rachel’s rather brutal world, teasing us with a tension stemming from unrequited love while slowly carving out pieces of our hearts as a daughter clutches to the hope that her father is alive and well. The city in which Rachel lives is not a pleasant one for women, their education limited to things deemed appropriate for their gender, such as how to be a proper wife and hostess, and their mobility is inexorably linked to that of their father, husband, or appointed Protector. Women are not permitted to travel the city alone, but whereas such an action in historical times might bring forth a small scandal in the eyes of society, in Rachel’s world it’s deserving of a public flogging, one so severe it often ends in death. As a result of the claustrophobic restrictions placed on Rachel, it’s extraordinarily easy to root for her as she eschews what is deemed “proper”, learning instead a much more violent set of survival skills that causes the corners of our mouth to kick up in a cruel smile as we wait to see what she will unleash on the monster who calls himself her leader.

Rachel is an incredibly strong young woman, able to be an individual despite the oppressive weight of her society’s expectations of her as a female, and continuing to hold her head up high despite the incessant whispers that her father isn’t coming home. Initially we do harbor a small worry that the rejection she suffered when she admitted her love for her father’s apprentice Logan will be a continuing problem–one wherein she seeks to retaliate by inflicting the same pain on him through verbal jabs or weighted silence–but to our great relief she opts for honesty with Logan throughout the story, shutting down only temporarily before recognizing the wisdom of open lines of communication. Her journey is a dark one, at times painful to experience with her as we watch someone warm and hopeful become hard and vengeful as a result of
one grievous emotional injury after another, but she never closes herself off completely to us or Logan, allowing us a fragile link to her even when she hits rock bottom.

Sharing page time with Rachel is Logan, a young man branded an outcast because his mother dared to leave her home unaccompanied and paid the highest possible price for her perceived audacity. We get as much from his point of view as we do Rachel’s, adding an extra layer to their complicated relationship as we get to see and feel their reactions to one another from both sides. He’s a gifted inventor and a brilliant strategist, his way of thinking pairing beautifully with Rachel’s sometimes rash but well-intentioned actions, and it’s downright stressful to read as they dance around one another first out of sheer stubbornness and then due to circumstances forced on them, and all the while our gut-wrenching desire to see them together propels us through their story at unprecedented speed.

Ms. Redwine delights with this first installment, proving to us again and again that she has no fear of challenging her characters or her readers, forcing us all to face things we might wish could otherwise be magically altered to come out in our favor. There are certainly a large number of questions left at the end, but thankfully no actual cliffhanger, just the palpable need to know what’s to come of both Logan and Rachel as we look forward with a great deal of anticipation and also a touch of dread, wondering how Ms. Redwine is going test our hearts and minds to see what they can endure moving forward.

Rating: 4/5

49 comments:

  1. I'm so glad to hear that Defiance is as amazing as i have hoped!!!! Truly delightful review Jenny!! That's great that both characters have equal POV time and are a terrific pair!!!! Can't wait for next week! <3 My Favorite phrase-"unleash on the monster who calls himself her leader."

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    1. I really enjoyed this one, I need book 2 immediately!

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  2. I love an author that is willing to challenge her readers to get through the hard stuff without bending to the set norm! This does sound like a gem of a read :)

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    1. I love a challenging read too, and this one was definitely that. I was tearing up all over the place:)

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  3. Yay! I'm so glad you like this, Jenny! I really enjoyed this one too. Like you, I was a little worried with Rachel's anger from the rejection she got from Logan two years ago but I was glad that she developed pretty fast and became really honest with Logan. Brilliant review! :)

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    1. YES! I was really concerned based on the blurb that Rachel would be a game player, and would treat Logan poorly to ease the sting of his rejection, so I was crazy excited when that didn't happen:) YEAH HIGH ROAD!

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  4. I already pre-ordered this book I'm so excited for it. I always like a bit of tension between two main characters, especially if it's done well. The world sounds really unique too! Fantastic review!

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    1. Yay Katie! I hope you like this one as much as I did:) There's lots of tension with Rachel and Logan, and I loved every second of it.

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  5. Oh wow, I was already thrilled to read this one and now Im doing cartwheels....:)I wish I could be magically altered when it comes time to clean the house....HA!

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    1. Yessss! Read it Tina! I also wish for a magic cleaning ability when it comes to housework. Especially cleaning the bathrooms. I loathe bathrooms.

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  6. I'm happy to hear that you loved the book, Jenny! :)
    I read it some time back and really loved it too. It was fascinating.
    Logan and Rachel were an interesting pair, weren't they?
    Love the review, Jenny! :)

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    1. I thought they were a really interesting pair, and I loved that they didn't play games. Rachel got over her hurt and dealt with Logan as an adult and I just wanted to hug her:)

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  7. Dude, this book totally swept me off my feet! I love a girl who is defiant! HELL YEAH! Plus, she can totally kick butt. Awesome review Jenny!

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    1. I adored Rachel, I can't wait for more of her in the next book!

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  8. I loved this book, but I especially loved the characters! Rachel was great, strong and fierce and Logan... loved them :)) I also find that the ending was great, leaving enough questions open for book 2 but provides still an satisfying end!

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    1. I agree completely. I enjoyed this book thoroughly an will be on the lookout for anything else C.J. writes:)

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  9. Beautiful review, Jenny! I agree with your points on Rachel and Logan. I was definitely encouraged to keep reading just so I could see them finally together. I'm dreading the next book though. I wouldn't put it past the author to split them apart again. ;)

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    1. I've got some serious dread too, I feel like things could get bad for the two of them and it makes me crazy nervous. *fingers crossed we're worried for nothing*

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  10. Jenny, you wreak havoc on my wishlist with your reviews. But it's a good kind havoc.

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  11. I'm so glad you enjoyed this one, Jenny!(: I've heard a lot of contradictory opinions on this one, but most people seem to have really enjoyed it, so I can't wait to read it myself! Wonderful review! :D

    ~Keertana
    Ivy Book Bindings

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    1. I hope you like it! It's not going to be for everyone, but no book is, and I think the more varying opinions the book has, the better. I think it inspires conversation and that's part of the fun of reading a book - to talk about it!

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  12. I read need to read this one; I LOVE fantasy of all kinds so this sounds like something I'd enjoy! So glad you loved it!

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  13. I love tough female leads and I hope she opens a can of whoop ass on the monster that is her leader, that would bring a cruel smile to my face. I am becoming a big fan of these books with dual view points between the male and female leads. I am definitely adding to my list!

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    1. LOVED Rachel! I like that she knew when to push against her society's expectations and when to submit to them. She was smart:)

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  14. Jenny this review is FANTASTIC!! I was already crying about not receiving my review copy yet, but this review is definitely going to make me stalk my postman even more now! Ms. Redwine delights with this first installment, proving to us again and again that she has no fear of challenging her characters or her readers, forcing us all to face things we might wish could otherwise be magically altered to come out in our favor. this is my favourite quote ever, seriously Jenny you have an amazing way with words, I wish my reviews would come out as smooth as yours instead of a jumbled mess! Love love love this review, no if my review copy would hurry up already!!!! :)

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    1. THANK YOU JASPRIT! This book reminded me a lot of Rachel Vincent and the way she writes her characters - things are never easy for them and they're taken down to rock bottom before they're allowed to fight their way back up and I LOVE stories like that:)

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  15. Great review, Jenny! I've had my eye on Defiance and have been looking for a new dystopian. I'll have to get my hands on a copy, especially since it's a start of a promising new series.

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    1. Yay! I hope everyone gives this book a try, I'm already dying for the next book. It's going to be a long year....

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  16. Yay, I'm so glad you liked this one, Jenny! :D I have a copy on my shelf that needs to be read, and now I'm really looking forward to it. Rachel sounds like such a strong protagonist, so I hope to like her. And Logan just sounds wonderful! Thanks for the amazing review, Jenny. :)

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  17. *lip biting* You are just reading way to many 4s these days, I wish I could buy all of them :D

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  18. Hm... an "improper" young lady, a brilly male lead, no real cliffie. Just that sells me, but oh there is so much more to your review that makes me want to pick it up right away. Looks like I'm going to be getting into another YA series!

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  19. Oh, I am so excited this one lived up to expectations! I really have my hopes up--I love when a girl (or boy, for that matter) rebels against an overly-restrictive society and becomes what's not expected. And the relationship between the two characters sounds very intriguing indeed!

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  20. I think my biggest problem with this one was that my expectations were just so dang high, I couldn't help but be let down a bit. And I kick myself for it, because surely I would've enjoyed it a bit more if I didn't have this massive hype in my mind for it. I really did like the concept and the writing and the characters though - I'm definitely going to go into the sequel with an open mind! Great review, Jenny!

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  21. I really like concept of this one and I'm all for a kick butt heroine. There can never be too many. I'm also curious to see where the paranormal aspect plays into the plot.

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  22. Wow...what an incredible set of MCs this one has...it sounds amazing!

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  23. I'm thrilled you loved this one too, Jenny! Oh the way they treated women in this made me grind my teeth in anger! I loved that Rachel, once she learned her lesson about non-communication, never shut Logan out as you say. I can't wait for the next one. Wonderful review Jenny! :)

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  24. That is an awesome review and now I'm putting this one back on my purchase list. I'd taken it off, but that review makes me want it! You don't give that kind of praise where it isn't due.

    Heather

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  25. I have been very excited to read this book but have been seeing a lot of mediocre reviews so was a little worried. I'm so excited to see your positive review now though and it has renewed my excitement!

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  26. Oh wow! I'm definitely intrigued and I love that both Rachel and Logan have their POV's shared. They both sound like intriguing characters and the story seems like one that'll catch my attention. Thank you for your review! :)

    Sierra @ Yearning to Read

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  27. This is one of the books I've been most excited for this year so it's nice to see the four star rating. I love a good fantasy with a strong heroine! Having an ending without a cliffhanger is just a bonus :)

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  28. I am so excited for this book! It sounds amazing, and seeing your very positive review just pushes it up the want-want-want pile even further. :)

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

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  29. OH! So glad to see you enjoyed this one! I really did as well. :) And I agree, it was sooooo frustrating to see Rachel and Logan being able to be together!

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  30. There are so many glowing reviews for this book, thus it is a clear sign that I must read it ASAP. :) I love how complex and multi layered the characters are based on your review, as characters are a sure deal breaker to determine whether you, I or anyone really will like such book. :)

    Teriffic review, Jenny!

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  31. I'm so excited about this book and I think this is one of my favorite cover so far this year. Love it. Love this review. Yay for kick-butt girl leads and no cliffhangers!

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  32. Great review, I wasn't too interested in this book when I first heard about it, but now I'm thinking of giving it a try. I love books with strong and stubborn female protagonists.

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