Deliverance (Defiance #3)Featured
Fortunately, C.J. Redwine handles her hefty cast with dexterity, and while the list of players is lengthy, she manages to imbue each one with his or her own distinctive personality that keeps the pages from turning into a confusing mishmash of names. There are several new characters in DELIVERANCE, but most of the story centers around familiar faces from the first two books. Rachel and Logan, along with old favorites such as Willow and Quinn, are plunged into galloping adventure at a breakneck pace as they rush to save innocent people and bring justice to the evil Commander, as well as James Rowan, the sadistic ruler of neighboring city-state Rowansmark.
For fans of the romance between Logan and Rachel, the two lovebirds really get to test whether absence really does make the heart grow fonder in DELIVERANCE, as they spend the bulk of the book separated. Don’t despair, though, shippers – though it may take a while for them to find each other, they remain as smitten as ever, with their thoughts continually drifting toward each other. I thought it was a nice way to incorporate the romantic plot without retreading old ground, and it kept the pages turning to see how they’d eventually work their way back together.
In the meantime, there is action and intrigue galore, as our intrepid heroes now have to face not just one, but TWO Big Bads in the form of Commander Chase and James Rowan. We’ve had three books now to build up our hatred of the commander, but James Rowan gives him a serious run for his money. I found myself torn between WHICH dastardly foe deserved the more wretched end, but by the time the dust settled, I thought the outcome was just.
In addition to the duo of evil masterminds, Logan and Rachel also have to face off against armies, assassins, and tanniyn (read: DRAGONS!) galore, in a twisting, action-packed plot that rarely stops for a breath. Old questions get answered, long-overdue debts are settled, and while the resolution of the conflicts that have been building for three books now is not neat, it is fitting. Trilogy conclusions are tricky, but I believe this one wraps up most of the loose ends in a way that is both satisfying to the reader and appropriate to the characters.
If you have enjoyed the first two books in the Defiance series, I believe you will find DELIVERANCE a worthy send-off for C.J.’s fantastical, post-apocalyptic world, and for the characters you’ve grown to love. And if you haven’t yet plunged into the adventures of Rachel and Logan, now would be the perfect time to start.
Climbing down off of that cliffhanger Deception left us on, we find Rachel still injured and being dragged across the Wasteland by Rowansmark trackers—one of whom is especially bent on killing her. Logan, meanwhile, is forced to forestall rescuing her while he strikes off to amass an army with the excruciatingly hesitant “help” of the ever-vile Commander Chase.
Just when you think there can't be anyone more loathsome than the obsessively brutal Commander, readers are introduced to the cult-leader-like Rowan and all of his manipulating sociopathic glory. (You know, just in case Logan's vindictively psycho brother didn't add quite enough crazy to the pot.) Ultimately, the overarching story begins and ends with the clash of these two madmen, and all of the lives caught in the middle of their deranged power struggle.
After the wanton good-guy slaughter of the second book in this series, this reader was jazzed with righteous indignation and eager to finally see some bad guys getting smote for a change. Redwine /really/ makes you wait for some satisfying taste of justice and closure in this final book—and without giving anything away, I can only say that she does deliver with that solid sense of closure.
For those most interested in the romance part of the plot, I'll warn ahead of time that the vast majority of the story sees our hero and heroine kept separate from one another in all but thought. This reader found the division fitting, as they were both fighting different internal conflicts and coming to terms with their own personal demons, producing significant character growth as refined--and in many ways redefined--individuals. There's no shortage of emotional depth, as themes of revenge vs. justice, misogyny, hatred, grief, healing, and sacrifice are explored with agonizing intensity.
Kudos as ever for the strong female characters, and the warning still so highly applicable in too much of our modern world:
*"We walked through the streets with our protectors. We wore our dresses. We gave up our education because that was the price of safety. That was the bargain we made with the devil we knew to escape the devil we didn't." --Rachel
A few new character introductions round out the characterization, with the silver-tongued Lankenshire emissary, Conner, leaving a particularly vibrant impression. (Personally, this reader is hoping he gets his own book...or at least a novella. >.>) I'd love to know what happens to Samuel, but unless I missed something, that particular end didn't seem to get tied up. (Potential room for another spinoff, there?)
After so much running around, near-misses, and a pretty significant twist, the wrap-up felt a bit hurried. But overall, the breakneck pacing and poignant introspection finished off this series on a memorable note. This reader will be more than happy to own the whole set. :)