Defiance (Defiance #1)

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Defiance - CJ Redwine
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
Excuse me for a moment. SQQQQQQQQUUUUUEEEEEEEEEEEEEALLLL! Okay, for the moment, I'm done. This book. THIS BOOK. Besides being one of the nicest people I know, C.J. Redwine is a fantastic author. Her writing style is fabulous, her narrators fierce and loyal and so damn lovable! This is my third favorite series of all time, only falling short of Harry Potter and The Hollows books. She is someone I will read anything by because nothing will ever suck. EVER. This is my third read through of Defiance and every moment I re-enjoy. I have also read Deception but I just recently got the third one and I cannot wait to tear through it as well.

So...here I go.

First off. Logan. I mean LOGAN. Number one on my YA crush list. HE IS JUST SO AWKWARDLY CUTE. I love his subtle one-liners and those instances where you're reading and you're like, "Oh, darling, you can use your brains AND those muscles for me. Any time." Logan is fascinating and brilliant. His inventions play a big role in the plot as he devises methods to get himself out of situations when no one else can. I am so glad to have a hero that does more than just wields swords but also uses his brain. He has the kind of personality I love: wee bit cocky, fierce lover, protective, and often unsure of his true power. He is a natural but hesitant leader and I'm eager to read onto the next one to see how much stronger he grows in the face of all this destruction.

And there's Rachel. Fiery little redhead go! I feel like she's the kind of character you can piss off, send her at your enemies, and say "go, minion, go!" Not that she's that easily controlled but I don't think she'd mind getting her hands dirty. In Defiance, the author proves that girls can be just as smart, fast, and tough as the men. Though she becomes haunted by the events within the plot, Rachel also becomes more trusting of the ones she cares for and it makes her beautifully vulnerable despite the fierce persona she displays. She is the epitome of anger and revenge and a dreamer for love and hope and that makes her such a well-rounded character because even though she's been through all this, she still believes.

I was glad to read Outcast to get more of an understanding of Jared's character and his gentle, self-sacrificing personality because you don't get to see a lot of that in this series except in Logan and especially Rachel's small flashbacks and memories. It was obvious he cared a lot about his girl and it was nice to see a parent take that much time into letting someone in, two people if you include Logan. A lot of young adult characters don't have parents or they have so many issues with parents that it's part of the plot. The relationship between Jared and Rachel is complex and yet simple and I adore it.

Wonderful plot. Engages you from start to finish. Very detailed action scenes and great world building. I have always found the idea of "city-states" interesting. The Commander is scary and intimidating, appearing nearly godlike at times but you find yourself oddly hoping he doesn't die because there are too many secrets, too many things you need to know about him (especially the hints he drops about Logan). And Oliver, a gentle soul acting as the 'grandfather' figure in her life. I appreciated his moments like Rachel and Logan did. Quinn and Willow, of course, add their own interesting styles to the mix. Willow is very arrow-happy and blunt while Quinn is the quiet, protective one with secrets that aid Rachel in their own way.

And that cover! I hadn't even heard about this book until wandering down the aisles of Barnes and Noble. I just knew that I'd seen that cover and the voice in my head went, "We must have that now, regardless of what it is." Absolutely gorgeous and my favorite of the three.

I must admit that I was trying to torture myself through this read through. I thought, maybe I should only read forty pages at a time, that way when I go to bed, I can revel in the beautiful plot and writing. That worked...for like two days. And then I quit because I couldn't do it anymore and even though I've already read it, I knew I had to keep reading until it was done. I recommend this to EVERYONE who's a fan of young adult fantasy, dystopian, even a little bit of steampunk and magic in there. Or everyone who's interested in feisty young adult heroines, sweet and tender romance, and great writing. I LOVE THIS.
Good Points
- Logan and Rachel shine like stars in a world that's dark and creepy, but built wonderfully
- Beautiful, poetic writing style
- Amazing world building and dystopian views, not to mention a very bad leviathan baddie
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Dystopian Goodness
Overall rating 
 
4.7
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
In Baalboden, girls are more like things than people. They all have male Protectors, who might be a father, uncle, brother or a husband, a male figure who is basically their keeper. Rachel, however, isn't like all the other girls. She's been trained by her father to fight and to be self-reliant and independent. When her father disappears, Rachel finds herself being watched over by his apprentice, Logan, a young man who she once declared her love for only to be turned down. They're not exactly on good terms. Facing the brutal leader of their town and the frightening beast that prowls in the wilds beyond their city, Rachael and Logan brave the forest in an attempt to find Rachel's father. The world-building is a little weak and vague at times, but the plot is intriguing and well-paced. There is a good amount of action but not so much that it takes away from the characters or turns the novel into an action-adventure romp (which are good in their own right but wouldn't be appropriate in the light of the occurrences in this book). Rachel is a believable young woman dealing with great stress, tragedy and change in her life. She faces her hardships and trials with authentic reactions. This is a good, solid dystopian that will appeal to those who are looking for a new trilogy/series to read.
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Great debut
Overall rating 
 
4.7
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
DEFIANCE will hold a special place in my heart since it was the first thing I ever bought on my NOOK Color (and, realizing that I am a MAC girl at heart, it is saying something that I even GOT a NOOK . . .).
Aside from being my first purchase, however, it is a brilliant example of how to create fabulous chemistry between characters. Told in alternating 1st person POVs by heroine Rachel Adams and her assigned protector, Logan McEntire, DEFIANCE epitomizes the truth of young love that is rarely achieved in YA fiction.

In Logan and Rachel’s world, a creature known as the Cursed One, trolls under the ground. Dragon-like and spewing fire, it burns to death anyone who wanders into the barren expanse outside the city walls, known as the Wasteland. Leaving her city of Baalboden is basically suicide – but Rachel doesn’t care, because she is sure her father isn’t dead.

When her missing father (a courier for the Commander who brutally rules and protects Baalboden), is declared dead per the law, Rachel is assigned a protector in the form of her father’s young apprentice, Logan. All women must be protected by a man and are not allowed to go anywhere without their protector. When they come of age, they can be “taken” by another man at the “claiming.”

Angry that she is now under the guardianship of a boy who she had declared her love for only a few years before (and was shot down in flames) Rachel decides to breech the wall and search for her father. When Logan finds out, he decides to help her – and nearly dies in the process.

The Commander, learning of their attempted escape into the Wasteland, tells both they will not be killed for their treason IF they can locate the package Rachel’s father was carrying. Twists, turns and betrayals ensue thanks to the Commander, and Rachel is placed in the Claiming prematurely. Logan pledges to “claim” her, but it all goes to hell when the Commander finds out what they are planning.

Trying to protect her, Logan gets flung in prison and Rachel is forced to enter the Wasteland without him. Assigned one of the Commander’s “guards” to accompany her, Logan finds out that her companion will kill her when they locate the package. Knowing her life is on the line, Logan makes a break for it . . .

While I did enjoy the storyline, it wasn’t what made this book so brilliant in my opinion. For me, it is this deep, painful affection that Rachel and Logan develop for one another and how Redwine is able to weave their povs seamlessly together. She relays a dark, brutal world in vivid prose and pulls no punches on the Commander’s brutality . . . or that of Rachel’s. Worth the read for Logan and Rachel’s relationship alone, DEFIANCE is a fabulous story and worth every penny.

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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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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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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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Cannot wait for Book Two!
Overall rating 
 
4.7
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
4.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
Defiance is an extremely satisfying read. Fans of the Hunger Games series will enjoy it. You will be drawn into the post-apocalyptic world instantly and find it nearly impossible to put this book down.
Good Points
I can always tell if I truly love a book by two things:1)I pick up the book to read it at any possible spare moment and 2) When I have finished reading the book, I am a bit melancholy because I feel like I am leaving a good friend. Defiance met both these requirements. I was captivated by the story within the first ten pages. CJ Redwine does an excellent job of describing the setting of Baalboden making it quite easy for the reader to picture it. Two points of view, Rachel and Logan, tell the story and I found that easy to follow since each chapter was titled with the appropriate point of view. CJ's writing is both intelligent yet clear and fit well with the story. I quickly fell in love with Rachel as well as Oliver,Rachel's "grandfather", whom I kept picturing as a Morgan Freeman type.
What was different for me in this book was the villain, the Commander. With most villains you might find a shred of mercy or humanity that would allow the protagonist an "in" so to speak. No chance with this guy;there is nothing redeemable in the least with him. This led to a sense of the unpredicatable with him which made the story even more fascinating.
The story kept my interest with different turns and characters. The Cursed One is an example of this and I found myself hoping that CJ will write a prequel to explore the history of this even deeper. The ending left me wanting more and I will anxiously await book two.
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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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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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