Defiance (Defiance #1)

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One of My Favorites This Year
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
Where do I even begin with this book?

Rachel is basically the strongest heroine ever in so many ways. She overcomes more obstacles than I could ever imagine during the course of the novel. When Defiance starts, she's already proved she's pretty strong and loyal and brave. But during the story she grows and develops more and becomes one of the strongest heroines I've ever read. She's truly tested, emotionally and physically, and she doesn't back down, not for good. I can honestly say, I admire Rachel.

And then there's Logan who's just fantastically logical. Logan might be one of the most relatable (for me) characters I've found in YA. He's always thinking about his actions and the potential outcomes based on an action he could choose, which is something I find myself doing a lot. He's incredibly intelligent and clever. He's a fast learner and he knows how to get what he wants and I admire that. As we meet Logan and we see Logan through Rachel's eyes, it becomes really easy to love him.

The side characters were all really intriguing. There's the Commander, who's probably one of the most evil characters out there, to Rachel's friend, who's so sweet. Each character was developed well and I found myself loving each of them, even the Commander. I have a love/hate relationship with him that I fear is going to grow as the series goes on. But the other characters were all easy to form an attachment to, no matter how long they were in the story.

Then the story itself was incredible. Journeys and seriously evil dudes and creatures and all kinds of things. There's twists and turns and some tears had to be shed. The characters go through so much and just slhkfjdlhdh. I loved this story. I really, really did.

Then there's the fact that C.J's just an awesome writer. With so much action, the pacing had to be good to make sure we didn't get overwhelmed and it really was. It slowed down at just the right moments and gave you a breather then picked back up again. And the itself writing was just so beautiful and wonderful and I could drown myself in C.J's words and be happy.

So, basically, Defiance is awesome and I love it and it's easily one of my top books of 2012. You need to be all over this book, seriously. You won't regret it. Do it.
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All Defiant and Stuff
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
I had the opportunity to read this prior to release and that makes me the luckiest girl in the world! DEFIANCE has fabulous pacing, characters worth loving AND a bad guy who deserves all the hate you can lob at him. There are surprises too, a bit of mystery, and swoony romantic moments peppered through it. Read it. You'll thank me.
Good Points
I had the opportunity to read this prior to release and that makes me the luckiest girl in the world! DEFIANCE has fabulous pacing, characters worth loving AND a bad guy who deserves all the hate you can lob at him. There are surprises too, a bit of mystery, and swoony romantic moments peppered through it. Read it. You'll thank me.
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Defining its new genre of AWESOME
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
This book had literally everything I love in a story.

The action and adventure was incredible. There were scenes that literally left me gasping and curling into a ball, and that's not something I typically do while reading. I'm normally a much more...stationary...reader. But the tension in some scenes was nearly palpable, and I couldn't help myself. I was invested.

It also was a mishmash of all my favorite genres. There were elements of sci-fi, post-apocalyptic, steampunk, romance, and of course, fantasy. And when I say "mishmash," don't misunderstand me. I mean it in the best possible way. This book may have a genre identity crisis, but that's just because it defines its own new genre of pure awesome. So no, I'm not quite sure how to categorize it, and with some books, that would be a problem. Not here. Defiance blends genres seamlessly, and left me hungry for more fantasy-sci-fi-post-apocalyptic-steampunk-romances.

Too bad I don't know of any.

The characters of Rachel and Logan were strong, personable, flawed, and passionate. They each had their own unique voice, and I loved how the narrative shifted between the two of them. The characters balanced and complemented each other well, and their relationship quickly skyrocketed to the top of my list of favorite YA pairings. I thought their alternating voices kept the story constantly fresh, and I was completely engaged from beginning to end.

The character of the Commander made for a deliciously evil antagonist. The kind you want to slap every time he enters a room, or maybe cower from underneath a table. Just when I thought he couldn't be more despicable, he was. But he also wasn't a caricature of a villain. He seemed frighteningly real and terrifying.

And as for the story itself, it was unique, exciting, and thrilling. I wasn't really shocked by anything that happened, but I also didn't find it at all formulaic. There were no twists for the sake of twists, nor were there any payoffs that didn't feel earned. The story simply unfolded the way it needed to.

Since I don't want to write a 100% gushy review (much as I may want to), I'll mention the couple tiny criticisms I had with the book, so you don't think that C.J. fed me some crazy-making Kool Aid. First, I wasn't completely in love with the ending. It's good and exciting, but I like my endings to have more resolution, even if they are part of a trilogy (which this is. Yay!) Would it keep me from recommending the book? Heck no. But I do wish a little more was wrapped up by the end.

And the only other thing -- which is so small as to be inconsequential, except that I'm noticing it in a lot of YA fantasy books lately -- is the overuse of the word "crimson" in regards to blood. As in, "her hands were stained with crimson."* This is not unique to Defiance. As I said, I've noticed this a lot lately in YA fantasy. A couple times, it works. But after a while, I just kind of want authors to use the word "blood." Or even "red."

But as I said, that is a tiny, tiny gripe. Mostly because I feel like I need to gripe about something to keep it real.

Overall, Defiance was a fantastic, exciting read that kept me riveted. It's unique and special and splendid. One of my absolute favorite books of 2012. If you love a good adventure with magical elements and strong characters, this one is for you.
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Great dystopian world
Overall rating 
 
4.7
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
Defiance by C.J. Redwine
ARC received from Balzer & Bray (Harper) via Edelweiss
Release Date: 8-28-2012
Reviewed by: Middle Sis Jenn
The Sisters Say: Dangerous, Daunting, and Delicious!

I had been eyeing the cover of Defiance for months, and when I got a chance to read it (thank you Harper and Edelweiss!), I might (emphasis on the might) have jumped up and done a happy dance while singing, “I’m so excited and I just can’t hide it!” Then for a moment I got distracted by Saved By the Bell memories, but soon I was right back to dancing for joy about it!! It already had so much buzz around it, and I knew it was going to be one of this year’s biggest books.

From Chapter 1, I was completely drawn into C.J.’s world—I mean, it was a world with ancient roots yet filled with powerful technology. It was like a world out of the 1800s was snatched up, thrown through a wormhole and ended up in an alternate future reality where danger from evil tyrants, wandering highwaymen, and immortal beasts is the norm. C.J.’s writing is rich with imagery and as you read, you are lifted from your world and thrust into her’s—be careful or you might never want to return!

I loved how dynamic her characters were. It is very rare that I have an extreme emotional reaction while reading a book. I run the everyday gamut of emotions—happiness, sadness, jealousy, etc, but it is truly a feat for me to embrace such strong emotions and let them take over just from a book. But, C.J. did it with the Commander. His evil is rivaled only by Voldemort or Sebastian in my opinion. As I witnessed his despotic actions, I could feel my hands closing into fists and I quite literally wished I could jump into the book just to punch him in the face (with brass knuckles). Every move he makes is methodical and calculated; every word he says is dipped in cruelty; and every feeling he shows is laced with manipulation.

Rachel, her heroine, is feisty and tough. I will admit, she is a typical bad-a heroine who is forced to grow up too fast. While she is unique in her own way, she does resemble other many other heroines we see in ya literature. That didn’t really bother me, though, because while she started out like many other heroines, she ended up in a completely different place. Many of today’s heroines go through something brutal and then hide away into themselves—Rachel fought back with every fiber of her being, and I enjoyed watching her character struggle and rise against.

I really loved Logan. He’s strong and convicted, and tries not to let anyone get in his way. I love the way he stands up to the Commander even when he’s in a losing situation. It makes him all the more admirable and I found myself rooting for him to just grab the Commander and shove his face into the ground! He is the perfect mix of anger, love, strength and weakness; and I can’t wait to see what is in store for him in the next books. Plus, he’s a hottie—which always makes a book better! I’m slightly jealous of his attraction to Rachel—and I can’t wait for more scenes to make me even more jealous!

The only thing that bugged me about the book was the length of the wilderness scenes. At times I felt like they just went on too long after we had already got the point that they were alone, scared, and hurt. While some of those scenes were too long, I wish the ending climax would have been longer.

A Warning about Content: I would rate this Mature-YA because of the violence in the book. It is very descriptive with murder and death, and there were times when I was bothered by how grotesqueness of some of the scenes. Besides the violence, everything else would be fine for any teenager.

With all that said, I really enjoyed reading this book. C.J. creates a world where violence is the foundation and people cower in fear of a murderous tyrant. The fear that this world instills is real and palpable, and she really opened her imagination up to me. She creates a world full of black and white, light and dark, where evil is easily seen, yet fear and tolerance keeps it in power. I love that her heros are just the opposite, not white or black, but riddled with shades of grey. I loved C.J.’s world, and I can’t wait to push through the wilderness with her again in the future.

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Gritty and compelling -- A Post-apocalyptic Read Worth Remembering
(Updated: May 21, 2014)
Overall rating 
 
4.3
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
4.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
Favorite quote:
“Silent acquiescence in the face of tyranny is no better than outright agreement.”
--Logan {Defiance}
Good Points
A well-paced, heart-wrenching tale of loyalty, courage, and love – set in a darkly dystopian world some readers may find reminiscent of 'Reign of Fire.' Redwine presents convincing teenaged characters with potent prose and palpable emotion, all while never underestimating her audience.

Admittedly swayed by the gorgeous cover, I went into this book thinking I would immediately love the fiery heroine. Not so. It actually took this reader until about 1/3rd of the way through to get past the crippled grief and bullheaded impulsiveness to fully warm up to her. But that was okay, because instead, I immediately connected with Logan. Rational, studious, and noble, he was a far cry from the quazi-mysterious angsty badboy archetype that so annoy me about many recent YA novels.

The author captures masculine vs. feminine misunderstandings and awkward moments with with a believable and authentic candor. And in doing so, she conveys a concept that will ring true for those who've lived in close quarters with pain: that even in the middle of unfathomable stress and tragedy, humor still crops up to provide us both guilt and relief. The tunnel may be long, but there is always a light at the end of it.
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Good Introduction to a Wonderful New Dystopian World
Overall rating 
 
4.3
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
DEFIANCE is so much more than a story about defying the rules and regulations. It's about fighting for what you think is right and sticking by the ones you care about. It's also a tale of love and fighting through hardships, no matter what life throws at you. I think many teens (and adults) can related to the themes of the story, despite it being a dystopian novel.

At first, I thought it was a true dystopian novel, but as I read on, I realized that it does have one little (or big) paranormal element to it. The Cursed One, a fire breathing monster, has wreck havoc over the whole world by incinerating everything in its path. This has created the need for secure cities surrounded by huge walls, in order to protect the inhabitants. Baalboden is such a city but Rachel Adams does not feel protected nor safe within its walls. Her father, a courier, has gone missing outside the walls and has been pronounced dead. Since Rachel doesn't believe him dead she decides to go searching for him in the dangerous lands outside the wall.

Rachel is very different from the rest of the girls in Baalboden. First, her father has taught her the basics in self-defence. Second, she feels like she shouldn't be "claimed" by a man once she turns seventeen, like all the other girls in the city. Her independent streak and her common sense tells her that she should be able to care for herself and that she should be allowed to walk the streets of the city without a man guarding her every move. However, one man has caught her heart. She has been in love with Logan for years and now, since her father has not come back from his courier mission, he is pronounced her new guardian, or Protector.

The relationship between Rachel and Logan is one of the main reason I enjoyed this novel so much . Despite their rocky past, they more or less make a pact to join forces in order to find Rachel's father. The tension and the love/hate relationship between the two characters is really what has you coming back for more. Before their mission even begins, they’re separated from each other as the communist commander of the city jails Logan for treason. I truly believe this separation of the two characters is a genius, since, as a reader, it kept me that much more interested in the story. And of course, it had me anticipate their reunion. Who doesn't love a good reunion?!?

Despite really liking the story, I found it lacked a bit of information, which could have made it an even better book. What exactly is this Cursed One? Where did it come from? Why couldn’t the army find a way to defeat it? Why have the women of the city become puppets when they were once free and independent? Despite these questions, DEFIANCE is near the top of my list of favorite YA books of 2012.

DEFIANCE is a griping tale that keeps you entertained until the very end. For all the dystopian fans out there, this is one book that you'll want to stack your shelves with since, besides being a great story, lets admit, it does have a pretty cover. C.J. Redwine will definitively enthrall you with her writing since her characters are so realistic and fresh.
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Defying Classic Dystopian
Overall rating 
 
4.3
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
4.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
I think we can all agree that there is definitely no shortage on dystopian YA novels nowadays. I figured that there are so many it would be hard to find something that really breathes some fresh new life into the genre. Well I am now biting my tongue on that one thanks to C.J. Redwine’s “Defiance!”

My first mistake was judging a book by its cover, which we all know not to do. Seeing the castle-like fortress on the cover with a redheaded girl dressed in what looks like hunting gear I assumed that the book was set in the Middle Ages. Boy was I wrong. The book is actually set in the future which has regressed thanks to some nasty dragon-like vermin that have destroyed the world. These beasts are almost indestructible and have laid waste to planet Earth with their fire breathing antics. The North American continent is now separated into nine city-states that are led by men who have a mysterious ability to keep these monsters, known as Cursed Ones, out.

What I love about this dystopian novel is that the destruction of the world as we know it has not come about by humanity gone wrong. It’s not because of global warming or some monstrous nuclear war that we now see the world in a state of peril. The end of the civilization as we know it came from good ol’ fashioned homegrown beasts. Sure, they did happen to be unleashed due to human drilling, but it wasn’t humans that made these creatures hell bent on burning the world to a crisp. Pair this crispy destruction with some nasty dictatoresque behavior from city-state leaders and you’ve got yourself one refreshingly new dystopian environment. Much like her Cursed Ones, maybe Redwine’s new take on dystopia will light a fire under other authors to give us delightfully new storylines in this often used genre.
Good Points
Great new take on the dystopian genre.
Good ol' fashioned beasts!
Fun pairing of the Middle Ages with futuristic science.
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Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dystopia?
Overall rating 
 
3.7
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
3.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
Defiance has been on my radar ever since I saw the cover. Seriously, this is, without a doubt, one of my favorite covers. Having read the book, I also like that it seems to make sense for the book. Rachel does have hair like that, and both the forest and the walled city are important settings for the plot. While this may not have much to do with the quality of the book, I just had to express my obsessive love for this cover.

With all of those expectations in play, I was really afraid I would turn out to hate Defiance. Good news: I didn't! In fact, I was impressed with Redwine's writing early on. Her sentences are complex and I just love her syntax and diction. Nor does her writing ever seem forced, like she was writing with a thesaurus to sound smarter. Basically, it felt natural and worked well with the story.

I would rank Defiance as more of a fantasy than a science fiction novel. Personally, I think dystopias can go either way, and I have trouble really seeing our world evolving into this one. This is not to say that the dystopian society is not reminiscent of certain terrible elements in cultures I'm familiar with, particularly the past. The state of women in Baalboden, and perhaps other city states is horrific. Women must be constantly with their Protector, either father, substitute guardian, or husband. Girls are married off (Claimed) at 17 years of age, and have no say in who claims them, unless their Protector chooses to indulge their wishes.

Of course, Baalboden isn't scary just for that, although I must admit that would be the most immediately grating thing for me were I to live there. The town is ruled over by the Commander, a creepy dictator who does what despots like to do: whatever he wants. He manipulates people into doing his bidding by threatening them, and their loved ones with violence, and he certainly is willing, perhaps wanting, to follow through.

He came to power because he is one of the only men in the world (the others have their own city states to rule) who can defend against The Cursed One, a monster that emerged from deep in the earth when people dug down too far. To imagine the terrifyingness of this monster, picture a Balrog crossed with a dragon. And yet, scary as this creature is, the humans in the book are definitely the most fierce. I would rather face a quick death by fiery monster than by the Commander.

I loved the characters of Rachel and Logan individually. Rachel refuses to be put into a box (or a fancy dress); she learned to fight and to survive from her father. The fact that no one expects strength from a mere woman makes her even more powerful, because they won't know what hit them. Logan is brilliant and protective, but also wise enough to know that just because you want to protect someone doesn't necessarily mean you can or should.

The tension in their relationship at the beginning, when he finds himself appointed Protector of a girl just a couple years his junior who once confessed her love to him, is so awkward, which is precisely perfect. The whole situation could not be otherwise. I wonder why her father would appoint Logan, although my only answer is that perhaps he knew Logan's feelings better than Logan did and was extending his blessing in a way. As they came to respect and trust one another again, I loved their verbal sparring and, again, the awkwardness of it. Once they start recognizing their feelings, I was a bit less interested. For once, I am actually looking forward to the subtly hinted prospect of a love triangle to shake things up a bit.

My one issue with the book was in the use of multiple points of view. Telling Logan's and Rachel's narration apart was difficult. If I didn't read the name at the top of the chapter, I would have no idea whose head I was in until I flipped back, the other person appeared, or the location made it apparent. Rachel and Logan are quite different characters, which is apparent in the dialog. I think the difficulty is that the non-dialog writing is all in the same style. It seems unlikely Logan and Rachel would think so similarly.

All things considered, Defiance is a powerful, action-packed debut that would make an intense movie, something like The Hunger Games meets Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. I am so looking forward to the next installment!
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I love this book with all my heart.
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
I tried several times to start this review with something clever or profound, something that would let you know I mean Serious Business about this book. But every time I tried, I ended up with something like OMCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCC!!!!!!!

In case that wasn’t clear enough for you: I love this book.

There were so many things that thrilled me about DEFIANCE, from the characters to the worldbuilding to the gorgeous prose that pulled me so deep into the story I never wanted to leave. DEFIANCE was one of those rare perfect-for-me reads.

The story is told from two points of view, Rachel and Logan, and the story belongs to both of them equally. Both characters have their own plotlines, development, and voices. The last is especially important to me because with the both characters narrating in first person and present tense, keeping up with who’s speaking could get confusing. You never have to worry about that with DEFIANCE. Though every chapter header warns you who’s narrating, it’s almost not necessary. C.J. does an amazing job giving the characters distinctive voices and styles.

The title, too, plays an important role in the story. Both Rachel and Logan are defiance personified. They refuse to let anything stop them from achieving their goals. No matter what obstacles are thrown in their paths — and terrible things do happen — they never give up. And I love that.

Regarding the worldbuilding, I think most of you know how much I admire a good genre mash. DEFIANCE is set in a post-apocalyptic world. The city-state of Baalboden is a terrible dystopia. Logan invents brilliant pieces of tech that might be found in a science fiction novel. And the things that caused the apocalypse and still threatens the world today? DRAGONS. Add some romance to that — and a few delicious almost-kissing scenes — and you’ve got a book with all my favorite genres perfectly blended together.

For anyone looking for a deep and exciting read that stretches beyond the typical boundaries of genre, DEFIANCE is for you.
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A Strong-Willed Character Never Fails
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
C.J. Redwine's debut novel Defiance is at the top. The writing is beautiful from the first sentence up until the last page. The plot is intricately thought out and the characters are beautifully written the two point's of views are so different in their perspectives.

Rachel, the main character, is a strong-willed confident girl. She's just the kind of heroine that readers need to see. Rachel has such a strong mind and is loyal to a pin. She is a perfect role model for young girls, not letting boys, or the wrongs of others get in her way. Even after she lost so much, she continues to stay strong.

I absolutely loved the description of the world C.J. Redwine describes to her readers. It's beautifully written and at times I would forget that her world didn't actually exist.

I wasn't surprised that I liked Defiance, just that I liked it as much as I did. The book makes a promising start to a good series and I look forward to reading more from the author.
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