"Defiance" follows Rachel and Logan, who live in a city-state where the Commander rules with a brutal totality. Women are second-class citizens and treated like property. Rachel is under her father's protection until he disappears and the Commander puts her under Logan's protection. Rachel and Logan have a past, where she had confessed feelings for him and he had turned her down. Now, their feelings still rage under the surface. Considering all the other things happening and Rachel's desire to find her father, the romance takes a backseat to the action (but is a nice undercurrent to the story).
Overall, I really enjoyed this story with a brave and confidant heroine plus a great love interest that I can believe in, adventures, and a dragon! The characters are all really enjoyable, and I like the side characters also who are well developed. I am really looking forward to continuing with the series.
A YA couple that manages equality? It's like finding a tap dancing unicorn!
(Updated: October 16, 2015)
The cover of this book caught my eye because the girl exudes so much strength and confidence! I knew I had to read it, even though I'm not a fan of Dystopian/post-apocalypse stories (and my TBR pile is huge!)
Rachel and Logan were a breath of fresh air as a leading duo! The YA genre so often gives young readers terrible examples of what a strong woman should be. It's always one extreme or another. A weak girl, lifted up by her love interest and made to be special because of him. OR she's so strong and hard core that she's damaged and unable to love or feel much of anything. It takes a careful balancing act to create a character that is a true young woman of strength. She needs to be strong, yes! But she needs to be capable of vulnerability too. With Rachel, we get that and it's a wonderful thing to see.
But with Defiance, we also get Logan, who isn't afraid to let Rachael take care of herself. He knows she can handle anything that comes her way and he loves that about her. So many times in YA, we see the bad ass girl with the weakling guy trailing along behind her. It is not necessary to tear men down in order to build women up! Finally, a successful YA leading couple that manages to find equal ground? It's like finding a tap dancing unicorn!
Defiance is a great example of a healthy relationship of equality, (with characters who are flawed), while still an entertaining read. The post-apocalypse theme was cleverly done in a way that made the timeline ambiguous. The misogynist society had me gnashing my teeth in despair, but thankfully, Rachel was there to balk the system with her bad-assery.
I look forward to the rest of the series and am especially anticipating Redwine's upcoming fairytale retelling, The Shadow Queen.
Fantastic main characters
Great example for young readers
Clever and funny
Defiance by C.J. Redwine is a (I think post-apocalyptic) novel that follows Rachel Adams on her quest to find her 'declared dead' father before the Commander does. Living inside the protective walls of the city she feels confined and controlled, (basically because all the citizens are) but outside the walls lie violent wanderers and a beast straight out a legend The Cursed One (which from the various descriptions I gather is like a dragon!). To begin with I found Defiance quite hard to get into. It is a novel you have to focus all your attention on - it's not a fluffy romance like other YA novels but still has more than it's fair share of romance, betrayal and action. I quite enjoyed this as it's good to have a book that does require more than half of your attention to read it! However one of the faults of the book is that Redwine does not set the period or really the place of the book - to help understand the unique setting of the cities with the situation of the Cursed One the
book needed to go into more detail about how the cities, their commanders and the Cursed One came about.
Rachel is an interesting character - she's really headstrong and independent yet when it comes to Logan she's like putty. I enjoyed these two different sides but I did find it a little unrealistic... Logan is her father's apprentice and very technologically orientated though he can use his knives when he wants to! They both hate the Commander and refuse to believe Jared, Rachel's dad is dead. Half the book follows Logan and Rachel attempting to find a way out of the city in order to resume the search for Jared. The actual search and the showdown with the Commander is a little brief and rushed for my liking and this detracts from the book's otherwise detailed plot. There are various other characters in the book like Oliver who all contribute to the plot by reinforcing Rachel's hatred of the Commander and giving an incentive for the book to keep going - rather than Rachel and Logan just finding Jared and running instead they begin to realise that this is bigger than just them and they must do all they can to bring down the Commander.
Defiance is a book that doesn't waste two or three chapters slowly introducing you to the characters, setting, and plot-to-come. From the very beginning, we're right in the middle of all the action.
Even though, from the cover, it kind of looks like this book is set in the Middle Ages (does the girl on the front cover remind anyone of the main character off Brave?), but it's actually not. In fact, it's set in the future, where nearly everything is destroyed and the remains of humanity live in one city, because of these creatures called The Cursed One (and no, just because it says "One" does not mean there is only one creature).
Usually in dystopian novels where the world is destroyed, the destruction is entirely humanity's fault (from Global Warming or something like that). This is not the case here. Okay, sure, it was human drilling that woke the creatures up, but it wasn't really their fault that these creatures are pure evil.
Rachel was really strong and independent at the beginning, which I really liked. However (SPOILER ALERT) after Oliver died, (END OF SPOILER) Rachel started to depend on Logan a lot more, which bugged me a bit (I always love a good kick-ass heroine, so when said heroine is not so strong and awesome halfway through the book, it annoys me a little bit)
The romance in this book was great. Sometimes their relationship can get a little bit strained, and their banter was funny. Logan, who is not really a people person, sometimes misses the mark with Rachel, and it's really funny (like complimenting her while telling her she shouldn't really logically need a compliment :D)
This is quite a refreshing different take of dystopia, with a well-thought out plot and great characters.
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.
Great new take on the dystopian genre.
Good ol' fashioned beasts!
Fun pairing of the Middle Ages with futuristic science.
Defiance was really addictive at the beginning, I was hooked on every page, the characters and plot were well defined. The writing style with the shifting of characters was really well thought out at the beginning, and it was pretty easy to picture Logan and Rachel with the descriptions written. But as the book wore on, the entire characters changed, especially Rachel, who went a bit mad with grief from her dad and Oliver, and the power of the package. Logan didn't get as bad as Rachel, but he also changed dramatically, both good and bad.
I loved how Rachel was so very strong and independent at the beginning, with knowing how to fight and rebelling against the Commander. She took things upon herself to do things that most women, and men, wouldn't dream of doing. When Oliver died, she changed so much, and she relied on Logan a lot more, I started to dislike her a tiny bit. I expected her to react differently, but she did it in completely the opposite way.
I loved the Cursed One. It was good the author introduced this, well, 'character'. It not only added another complication for Rachel and Logan, but brought reason to their actions, as well as the Commander's. I thought that what was in the package was obvious, and I think it would of been cooler if it was something more mysterious.
Defiance was a great dystopian world, with good characters, and a well-thought out plot. The writing style is great, with the switching POVs. I think the characters get blurred, but otherwise it is great.
-The start was great, I loved how Rachel was fighting the Commander so strongly. She was such a strong heroine at the beginning.
-Love the idea of the Cursed One, but I kept thinking that if they killed the other ones, then they could surely kill this one.
I really did enjoy this book but I have a few fights to pick with it.
The beginning was exciting and it got my attention right away. I devoured the first 100 pages in a day( it was a school day also just to prove my point). Well, it seemed to kind of go down from there. Now, I'm not saying I hated it or even disliked it, all I'm saying it just wasn't really a very memorable read for me. It just caught my attention less and less as I read more. There was a lot of action going on, so to me that was a plus. But, it was just too slow for me.
I thought it was cool how she could fight and handle herself( I always love strong female characters!). She did make mistakes a lot but I think she was just trying to do the right thing and ended up doing the wrong one. But, nonetheless I thought she was caring, confident( probably a little bit too much confident if you ask me), and a kick-ass fighter.
The romance is probably one of the best factors in this book. I thought it was a perfect pace. I don't think they rushed in stupidly even though she did confess her love for him before but she didn't know any better.
Logan was very caring and I just loved him as a character! He defended her all the time, and since she rushed into fighting without thinking alot of the time, he had to end up saving her butt a lot of the time. I loved how he was smart and hot all at the same time! :D But, really I couldn't ask for a better character in his place.
The thing what I found so bothering, is the number of deaths in the book. I, myself, do not mind a couple deaths in a book, but this book had so much deaths in it! I will not say anything else since I probably just spoiled something already, by just mentioning that characters die. My fingers are sealed from typing any more!
One thing that I loved was how the book switched views between Rachel and Logan. It made me look at both of their perspectives and undertstand their actions and feelings. It was a nice break from just one narrarator.
If you enjoy books with action and romance I'm pretty sure you would enjoy this book. But, for me I think it needed a better pacing, fewer deaths, and a more original plot.
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!
Good Introduction to a Wonderful New Dystopian World
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.
Gritty and compelling -- A Post-apocalyptic Read Worth Remembering
(Updated: May 21, 2014)
“Silent acquiescence in the face of tyranny is no better than outright agreement.”
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.