Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 416 pages
Publisher: Harper Collins
Release date: August 28, 2012
Series: Defiance #1
Reviewed by: Stéphanie and Lili
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.
Baalboden is a walled in city that thrives under the command of Commander Chase and fears The Cursed One that resides underground in the Wasteland. Here, the women must be given a Protector at age sixteen. They cannot leave their home without said escort and when they turn seventeen, a man will court them and they will become a wife. Such a thing is necessary to the survival of a colony of people that do not leave the walls. One of the few people that is able to leave the walls is courier Jared Adams, Rachel’s father, and he never returned from his last mission…
DEFIANCE is a book that I had trouble putting down. It’s very easy to slip into the Baalboden dystopia because you truly feel for the characters. Rachel is a strong heroine. At such a young age, she does her own thing and will not allow herself to behave and look to men to save her. Jared raised her with the knowledge of self-defense and instructions that she can always be independent. With her fiery red hair, skin-tight pants instead of skirts, and billowing black cloak, she is a force to be reckoned with. (Just look at that amazing cover and you’ll see how kickass Rachel’s character truly is).
Logan McEntire sees too much of his mother in Rachel. When he was a young boy, his mother was lashed to death for breaking the law and wandering into the market without a Protector. He simply cannot let Rachel meet the same end. A brilliant inventor and big-hearted protector, Logan cannot allow Rachel to know his true feelings for her because Jared was so willing to help him after his mother’s death and he didn’t want to bite the hand that fed him. Thus, he gently let her down when she once admitted to being in love with him. Their relationship had never been the same, but Logan will stop at nothing to protect her now that she is in his custody. He cannot fail, especially because everyone expects him to.
Together, the two of them will take you on a survivalist’s journey of a lifetime, all while evil Commander Chase breathes down their neck. The Commander’s evil tendencies oozed off the pages and filled you with rage. While he is a man that nobody can respect, his characterization was spot-on and he is one villain that’ll make your shiver whenever he makes an appearance.
Redwine expertly created her characters and the world surrounding them, making their journey easy to follow and completely unforgettable. The romance was believable and you watched both characters slowly mend themselves before they realized that they are capable of loving each other, even with Jared’s disappearance.
A must read for any young adult reader, this is a debut to look forward to in 2012. With an ending that you’ll never see coming, you’ll practically be begging for the sequel. Redwine exploded onto the young adult writing scene with a story unlike any other.
We couldn't decide who was going to review this novel so Lili and I decided to do a double review. I'll try to keep this short since Lili has done such a great job with her review.
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.