Review: Defiance by C.J. Redwine

Title: Defiance
Author: C.J. Redwine
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: August 28, 2012
Series: Defiance #1
Links: Amazon | Goodreads
Source: Edelweiss
Within the walls of Baalboden, beneath the shadow of the city's brutal leader, Rachel Adams has a secret. While other girls sew dresses 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 one who handed her heart right back to her. Left with nothing but a 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.
At first I was pretty lukewarm about Defiance, but by the end I became a bit more engrossed. In the early parts of the story, the main characters fall a little flat, but that progressively gets better as the book goes on. Secondary characters remain pretty flat throughout the novel, though, and it is difficult to make any kind of connection with any of them. Because of this, certain events within the story do not affect me as much as they were meant to. But the villain is vile, power hungry, and appropriately detestable, which is awesome, because who doesn't love to hate a loathsome bad guy?

The plot isn't anything new, which hurts its excitement factor a little. It feels recycled. The setting and situation are moderately interesting, but if you read a lot of fantasy and/or dystopia then the setting as well as the plot will feel like more of the same. The wanting for character development is stronger when the plot is formulaic, and I think that a little more depth where the characters are concerned could have gone a long way toward making the story less pedestrian. I would've liked more of a build up of evidence in the relationship development of Rachel and Logan, for example, as well as more of a presence from the supporting characters. There is a lot of telling going on, but not all that much showing, particularly where Rachel and Logan's relationship is concerned. With regards to the worldbuilding, it is not clear whether this is a second world or a post-apocalyptic version of our own, leaving the rules of this world ambiguous at best. I would have appreciated more information on exactly what happened to take this world from its before to its after.

The pacing starts off a little slower than I'd have liked. Almost half of the book involves Rachel and Logan preparing themselves for the second half of the book. I wanted it to get to the adventures, already. But once events finally start moving forward, the pacing (and my enjoyment) picked up quite a bit. I would have loved for this to happen sooner and for more time to be spent on this phase of the story because to me it is far more interesting than just about everything that was happening in town. That being said, one way or another, by the end I found myself enjoying Rachel and Logan and their story. I still wanted more from it, though.

I wanted to love Defiance. I really, really, really wanted to head over heels adore the shit out of it. I had mega-high hopes and they just weren't met. I still like it, just not in a way that makes me super enthusiastic. And I think that my high hopes worked against this book. But again, by the end I was kinda sucked in by it. I liked it enough to continue with the series, so my opinion falls somewhere between "it was okay" and "liked it".



17 comments:

  1. Oooohh. I get what you're saying. I hate formulaic. I hate reused anything. I'm one of those fantasy/dystopia readers. Well, I guess I'll see for myself in two weeks! Thanks for the review :)

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    1. Yeah... I mean the story is enjoyable for what it is. I just couldn't really get excited about any of it. So, while I did end up liking it, I also feel kinda meh about it because I could've gotten a similar story in a lot of other books. I think that the series has some potential, though. Thanks for stopping by!

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  2. I agree completely...too much time spent on preparation, not enough adventure. I definitely liked the second half of the book better. Right after I read this, I read an indie that was very similar and done in the same vein...lots of prep time before the action began. Still, I'm intrigued enough to continue the series, especially because the evil villain is my favorite kind of evil. :)

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    1. Isn't he? He's so deliciously awful. He was the best part of the first half of the book. Evil villain is evil! I really want to know what he's getting up to. And I also want to know more about Logan's parents.

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  3. Ive heard its a slow start. Its too bad this one didn't feel different. That was one thing I was looking forward to, it being different. I think I might be starting to lose my excitement over this one. I need to look up more reviews...

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    1. Yeah, I dunno. It was decent, just not amazing like I was hoping it'd be.

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  4. Really? This is really funny to me, because I absolutely loved this book. I thought the pacing and character development were spot on (I read the book in an afternoon because I couldn't put it down), and the story felt fresh - and I read a LOT of fantasy and dystopian. I guess different things just stand out for different people, because we definitely read the same book, and you're absolutely entitled to your opinion! I hope you like the next one more.

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    1. I guess we haven't read the same books lol. I saw a multitude of similarities between this and several other books and series - including the setting, the plot, the underground monster, the nature of the relationship between the two main characters.

      I think this may have been a case where the book just didn't live up to my expectations of it on multiple levels. I hope that I like the second one more, too.

      Thanks for stopping by and providing a different opinion! I am glad that you were able to enjoy it more than I did.

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  5. I agree that the pacing was sorta slow and I wanted to love this book so much as well! I didn't feel a connection with most of the characters (which I have to have). I do want to read the sequel though:) Great review!
    -Danna

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    1. So it isn't just me who couldn't connect with the characters very well. The other things wouldn't have bothered as much me if the characters had grabbed me more. There were several scenes in which I should have been made to feel a lot more than I did, but that emotional connection just wasn't really there. Thanks for stopping by!

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  6. It was a great book, but I agree it wasn't mind blowing. Specially the pacing as you said, was a little off in the beginning! Still, I especially loved Logan and Rachels fierceness!

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    1. I liked Rachel's fierceness at times, but then she had moments of melodramatic ineptitude and those annoyed me because they were so inconsistent with her normal attitude and were so extreme. I also think I'm kinda over the fiesty redhead cliché. I had a lot of little issues and some big ones, I guess. But I did still manage to find some fun in there by the end, so yeah...it was alright but not a favorite by any means.

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  7. sorry to hear your reading experience was not that great. i think i'll skipp this one. great review

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    1. It was pretty mediocre, but not a complete disaster. There are definitely better books to spend your time on though if you think these things will annoy you too. Thanks for stopping by!

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  8. Hi!
    I just came across your site and it is really lovely! I happily followed you and will enjoy reading your updates. You can find me over at Rainy Day Reads, www.rainydayreads.com It would be great if you could stop by and I would love to have a fellow book lover as a new follower.
    Christine x
    Rainy Day Reads
    www.rainydayreads.com

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  9. I've seen mixed reviews on this. I still want to read it, but at least I know not to have my expectations AS high anymore. Thanks for being honest! Great review. :)

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  10. Sad that you didn't love love the book, I hate when you have such high expectations and it doesn't pan out. The cover is so awesome!
    Missie @ A Flurry of Ponderings

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