Author: C.J. Redwine
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: August 28, 2012
Series: Defiance #1
Links: Amazon | Goodreads
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.
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".