Sunday, 19 August 2012

YA Book Review: 'Defiance' by C.J Redwine

by C.J Redwine

Published: August 28th, 2012
Publisher: Balzar + Bray
Format: E-Book
Pages: 416

Cover Art

I am not really a fan of this cover. Or the title really. Neither does justice to the book. I think Rachel should look less model-y and more fierce and dangerous. I do like the dark forest in the background though,and, in general, I like that the cover actually makes sense! This book really does have a ginger girl and a dark forest!

Plot Synopsis

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.

My Rating:

First Line:
'The weight of their pity is like a stone tied about my neck' 
Pocket-Size Review
Ooof this book is ALL THAT IS GOOD. I could not put it down. From the characters to the world building to the utterly adorable romance, I was lovin it all.

Highs: Ahh the characters. THE CHARACTERS. Rachel may be my favourite YA heroine ever (SHE IS THAT AWESOME), and Logan is totes sexy omg.
Lows: Perhaps a tad on the depressing side. This is one author who is not afraid to kill off her characters. I liked that but I know others might find it to be a little brutal.


This is the book that I finished reading and wanted to GUSH about. Proper super duper gush. When I saw the cover and read the title I did not think that this book was going to rock my world. But rock it it did. 

The world building in this book is really good, and I loved the world that I found myself in. It is a sort of dystopian-meets-fantasy...thing. Basically, when humans started running out of fossil fuels, they decided to dig down into the earth to find an alternative energy source. However, what they found instead were huge, dragon-like creatures who then rose up and destroyed most of the world. The bits that they didn't manage to destroy became enclosed, highly protected towns/cities, that were surrounded by forest. The humans fought the creatures until there was only one left, who they now call 'The Cursed One'. In the town where this book is set, Baalbroden, there is a leader, called the Commander, who claims he has a special power that keeps The Cursed One away and keeps them protected. Therefore, although he is PURE EVIL, he remains in power and nobody really tries to stop him. The Commander is a brilliant villain. I absolutely despised him...which can only be a good thing. He presents an actual real, sinister threat to the main characters, Rachel and Logan; he is a proper, real NASTY piece of work. Ooof I hate him.

In fact, this book really works because of the realness of the threats posed to Rachel and Logan. This is not one of those books where the characters can come up with some wishy-washy plan to overthrow someone/escape something and manage to execute it by pushing a few guards aside and hitting a few people over the head. This is a real, violent, brutal society and the Commander is ruthless. People are actually killed during combat, not just knocked unconscious or injured. C.J Redwine has no trouble killing off characters and seriously maiming others, which I love because you actually know that characters are in danger and they are not going to be able to push and shove their way out of trouble. This book is so tense and exciting and I don't think it would've been without knowing that your favourite character could be moments away from the chop.

C.J Redwine (I'm wondering if the C.J stands for chocolate and jelly and maybe her name is just a list of her favourite things?) delivers a dual POV (point of view) narrative that actually works. The story is told alternately through the eyes of Rachel and Logan and, because they are such distinguishable characters and each ones story is as interesting as the other, it really added tension and kept you wanting more. The switches between them were placed perfectly, so that you got enough of a cliffhanger to want to go back to that character to see what happens, but not so much that it cut off abruptly just as the action was getting going. Both characters are incredibly likeable and have distinctive personalities; Rachel is fiery and fierce and brave and passionate whereas Logan is logical, cautious and quite cold at times. I loved Rachel so much: she is probably the most ass-kicking and courageous YA heroine I have ever read. I like the way her character outshines Logan (even though he is adorable) because it's nice to have the female character as the one making things happen. She is so unapologetically herself; where other heroines constantly worry about being too manly, too boyish, too weak, too ugly etc etc, Rachel never worries about the way she is or the way she looks. At one point, when Oliver, her surrogate grandfather, ponders about her love of weapons and violence and says that maybe it's because her dad didn't know how to raise a girl, she just says, "Or maybe that's just the way I am. There's nothing wrong with me." I love her.

I also really loved the feminist undertones of this book, as they are definitely there but are not overtly preachy or shoved down your throat. In Baalboden, women cannot do anything on their own. They are assigned a male 'Protector' who must escort them everywhere, and who they must follow everywhere. When they are a certain age (18 I think) they must attend a 'Claiming' ceremony, which is basically where a man claims them to be his wife and whether he is accepted or not depends on the woman's Protector rather then she herself. I loved this aspect, as it is very much ingratiated as part of the world that is just accepted, which to me seems more realistic than if the characters were constantly denouncing it is wrong. I liked the subtlety of it, and how underestimated women were by the Commander, and how he felt they needed to be controlled for their own good. It just made him seem more evil and Rachel seem more awesome when she proves him wrong.

I didn't give this novel five stars because there were some silly things that niggled me, such as Logan calling Rachel 'sweetheart' occasionally (I dunno why but I hated that), and once he calls her a 'budding woman' which was...not good. I also thought that parts of the ending were a bit messy and farcical. However, overall I loved this book which has HIGH tension, brutal character killings and flawed but lovable characters galore.

Other Thoughts

This Book has Inspired me to Read: The next book in the series. NOW PLEASE.

Memorable Quotes:

'I wring my hands together and consider producing a few tears. That seems to bring most men to their knees. Except for Logan, curse his stubborn soul. Not that I wanted Logan on his knees. Not anymore.'

Three Words to Describe this Book: Dangerous, High Tension.

But Don't Take My Word For It: 
  • Blog Reviews of 'Defiance': 

' Defiance comes with a colorful blending of genres and offers action, romance and mystery! Combined with an incredible kick-ass duo of heros, Defiance is definitely a book you shouldn’t miss! The romance is sweet with two main characters who are both strong, loyal and flawed at the same time!'

'This was a suspenseful and nail-biting story, the characters really take the readers on one heck of a thrill ride.'


  1. Nice! Sounds really evil..and I love that you said it's "high tension." This one is going on my list!

    1. VERY high tension! I was on tenterhooks!

  2. Just finished this one and I LOVED IT!!! It's one of the few books I've read this year that really stuck with me after I finished it!

    1. YAYY! SO glad this book is getting all the high praise it deserves! It is definitely up there with the best of YA in my opinion

  3. I am really, really interested in reading this book now! I feel like the goodreads blurb is ridiculously vague, so it has been hard for me to have any feelings resembling anticipation due to that blurb. But your review makes it sound awesome! Dragon-like creatures? Fierce female protagonist who outstrips the male? I don't really like dual narrations, but I'm willing to overlook that to read this book.

    1. I'm not usually too sold on dual narratives either but C.J Redwine does it in a way that I loved! It made it all very suspenseful!

  4. I thought the feminism in this book was interesting, as well. Rachel's upbringing is in direct contrast with the laws which added some interesting dimensions to the story. Great review!

    1. The feminism is a very interesting part of this book- I love how it was subtle and not in your face. The society repressed women and Rachel's dad obviously had a huge problem with it, but it was implied not stated. I loved that about this book!

  5. Interesting! This book has completely flown under my radar...and it comes out next week! I've just put it on hold at the library. The blurb made me really sad because it was like reverse Laurie/Jo from Little Women. I HATE that scene when he professes his love and she throws it back in his face. I've always thought that the aftermath of something like that would be so long-lasting and it's cool to see that idea in this book. It sounds like Defiance has a few things in common with some other books but it still seems pretty original. Must make this a priority.

    1. I am scared now that, because I have gushed so much, you will hate it and I will feel bad for recommending it! I hope that's not the case! Ahh I hate that scene too...I remember watching the film of 'Little Women' and covering my eyes when I knew that part was coming. Rejection and humiliation are hard to read/watch! I think 'Defiance' does have similar parts to other YA books but I thought the author pulled it off really well and made it her own...I'm really looking forward to reading what you think about it though!

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