Thursday, August 23, 2012

Review: Defiance by C.J. Redwine

Thursday, August 23, 2012 with 7 comments
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Title:  Defiance
Author:  C.J. Redwine
Series:  1st book in the Defiance series
Publisher:  Balzer + Bray
Publication Date:  August 28, 2012
Source:  galley from publisher
Purchase:  Amazon | Barnes & Noble

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.

I was pretty excited to get an advance copy of Defiance. Fantasy is one of my favorite genres because the story can take you anywhere and can cover any scope of what is considered possible. It is what its name implies: fantasy. And therein lies the biggest problem I had with Defiance.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s plenty of fantastical material here to make me happy, but it was the way it was presented that bothered me because it was such an odd mixture of illusory and modern-day ideas. Take the names of the characters, for example. In fantasy novels, I usually expect not to be able to pronounce the characters’ names and kind of skim over them as I’m reading – or make up my own names for them based off their given names. But in Defiance, the main characters are named Rachel, Logan, and Jared. That’s not a major drawback, and some probably appreciate being able to properly pronounce the characters’ names; it’s just something that bugged me and made the novel slightly less imaginative to me. Another thing that was less than imaginative was that the scientific elements were based on modern ideas, as well. Logan even mentions the Periodic Table in the second chapter. I suppose what I find most perturbing is that at times, it feels like our world, and at others, it returns to the fantasy world of Baalboden.

Other than some clumsy wording in a few places, that was really my only major gripe. The story flowed well overall, after getting off to a bit of a slow start, and the book kept me rather engrossed in its pages once the duo set off on their mission. Granted, that doesn’t happen until about half-way through the book, but they did have to prep for their adventure, after all. And during all that preparation is when they found time to fall in love.

I’m still not sure how I feel about the romantic aspect of this novel. Rachel was supposedly in love with Logan when she was a bit younger and he rejected her, not because he didn’t care about her, but because he was an outcast and had only just taken the apprenticeship with her father. He had nothing to offer her. Okay, so he’s a stand-up guy, I guess. But now that her father is missing and Rachel has been entrusted to his care, what does he go and do? He falls in love with her, despite the fact that nothing about his situation has changed. Rachel fights her feelings for Logan now, believing that they were the equivalent of a school-girl crush back in the day and he means nothing to her now, beyond his being her Protector. Yeah, right. I’d rather see both of these characters grow into their own individuals – especially taking into account their current circumstances – than fall into each other.

My favorite aspect of this novel was the mysterious monster, the Cursed One, that preyed upon the citizens of Baalboden...mostly because it's an enigma. Where did it come from? Why is it able to be controlled and manipulated? Where does it go when it’s not terrorizing the city? It’s described as having scales, possibly like a dragon, as it also apparently breathes fire, and yet it burrows underground and slithers like a giant snake, though it can’t technically be a snake because it has lizard-like feet. What exactly is the Cursed One? These are all questions I’d like to see answered in the next book. Less love story, more monster!

I love the world that the author has developed, and I’d like to see it further developed in subsequent installments. There’s plenty of room for this series to grow and become everything that I had hoped this first novel would be. Defiance is C.J. Redwine’s debut novel, though, and maybe I was expecting a little too much from the beginning, but I have high hopes for the rest of the series.

Rating:  Photobucket 1/2

You can order a signed copy of C.J. Redwine's Defiance here.


  1. I went into this expecting FANTASY. And it really did end up being more like a Post-Apocalyptic Dystopia book. Overgrown, dilapidated cities? It appeared to me that this fantasy monster destroyed our modern day and led to these little city states. I just wish it would've been stated whether or not this world USED to be ours so that I knew WTF I should expect from the worldbuilding. Is there magic? Do the same rules apply to this world as our own (plus monster)? What is the deal, yo? And I agree with you about the Logan+Rachel relationship.

    1. That's it exactly. I mean, there was a little magic, what with that wand thingy and the lizard foot controlling the monster, but I needed more to go on. It all boils down to that monster somehow.

  2. Great review. I was really excited about this one, the cover is so gorgeous and the synopsis sounds great! I have only seen so-so reviews on it though. Great review!

    1. I know...I love that cover, too. And that's pretty much how I pictured Rachel, all fiery hair and strong-willed. The series definitely has promise, but the first book simply didn't live up to my expectations. :(

  3. I'm about to start this one right now. Thanks for the review!

  4. I really enjoyed this one too but I agree with you on your genre point. I didn't really get a fantasy feel, not the way that I was expecting though the names weren't as big of deal for felt more dystopian really.

    1. I agree whole-heartedly. I got much more of a dystopian-vibe than a fantasy one. Still an enjoyable read, though. And, yeah, I know...I'm probably the only one who had a problem with the names. I should be glad for once that I can pronounce the names in a "fantasy" novel, right? :P


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