January 05, 2013

My Thoughts: Defiance by C.J. Redwine

First let me just apologize for the uber generic background. Blogger is not my friend right now. Moving on.

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.

Have you ever read a book and, after closing the cover once you've read the last glorious word, you sit back as a writer and think..."I will never write like that!"

Me too. After almost every awesome book I read.

DEFIANCE was that kind of book. I finally sat down and read this ditty after picking it up at C.J. Redwine's book launch. Yeah, I know, I'm horrible. I am so very glad I did, though. There are so many things that I adored about this book that I'm having difficulty on where to start.

Baalboden is one of several city states in a sort of post-apocolyptic world. The walls are thick, the borders secured by lethal guardsmen, the people are oppressed, women are meek and mild, men are Protectors and worthy of anything more than a tea set, and the whole place is run by Commander Jason Chase; a man who makes Hitler seem warm and fuzzy. Loyalty and fidelity to the Commander are the only things that will keep you alive and all citizens are 'tagged' like sheep in a flock.

I was totally blown away by C.J.'s world building. Details were laid out perfectly as to not overwhelm but provide the reader with a vivid vision of what Baalboden was. The politics of Baalboden were well thought out and positively ruthless. And before you start thinking, "This sounds like Hunger Games" let me just say, there is a super cool fantasy element to DEFIANCE that I didn't expect.

Rachel and Logan... LOVE these characters. Rachel is impulsive, fiery, fierce, determined, and loves her family to the depths of her soul. Logan is logical, intelligent, methodical, unpredictable, lethal, and will do anything to keep those in his life he cares about safe. He's your creeper character, and I don't mean that in a bad way. Where Rachel is very take-her-at-face-value, Logan reveals himself to us slowly, and I sort of love him for that. Don't get me wrong, there are many layers to Rachel-Girl, but like her blunt personality, she doesn't hold punches.

Another thing I admired about DEFIANCE is the slow-to-build love. I think, at its core, DEFIANCE is less a romance than an adventure type of book. It's riddled with conflict that left me in awe. Many writing panels and advice sources say to "punish your characters" and good LORD did C.J. take them seriously. She drags us (willingly) on this horrible journey with Rachel and Logan. Once that we simply cannot see as going well, and then sucker-punches us in the gut every time you think that things will start to work out. And in the middle of all of this, Rachel and Logan find this slow-to-burn type of love that is unwavering. And I have to admit, Logan's initial incompetence in this area is beyond hysterical. Seriously. Well done.

If you haven't picked up Defiance, you seriously need to. C.J. is a wonderful storyteller and she sucked me in with the uniquely independent voices of Rachel and Logan, as well as this tale of heroism and suffering. I have this habit of dog-earing pages that I find epic in their voice, their writing, their descriptions; anything that really blows me away. This is sacrilege to many of you, I know. It's my tick. Let me just say, there are a LOT of dog-ears in my copy of DEFIANCE.

Buy it. Read it. Love it.


  1. Okay!! You totally managed to convince me. This book is definitely going on my TBR list. Thanks for the great recommendation. Oh--btw--just so you know. I read the review with no problem, but the writing in the actual book description/synopsis was too tiny for my tired old eyes. haha...Just figured I'd give you the heads up on that. Thanks again!!

  2. Thanks for stopping by, Tamara! Defiance was just plain awesome. Rachel is kick-butt and strong...love her. Logan...oh Logan. Thanks for the heads up on the font. Blogger and I are having a love/hate (mostly hate) relationship right now.