Author: C.J. Redwine
Publisher: Atom Books
Released: Sept 06, 2012
Buy: The Book Depository
In C.J. Redwine’s Defiance, dragon-like creatures prowl in the ground beneath the Wasteland, waiting to erupt from the earth to claim their victims. Protected from the flames of the so-called Cursed Ones, the citizens of Baalboden remain strictly within the walls of their city and comply to the rules of the brutal Commander Chase. Among them is Rachel Adams, a young girl quite unlike most Baalboden females for she is able to brandish and use weapons with skill. When Rachel’s father fails to return from a courier mission, Commander Chase announces him dead, yet Rachel refuses to accept it. In an effort to prove her father is still alive, she attempts to leave Baalboden to track him down… and to find out what exactly it was that prevented him from returning in the first place.
With promises of a fierce and durable main character, an action-packed plot and an interesting blend of speculative genres, Defiance was one of my most anticipated debut novels of the year. I enjoyed immersing myself in this almost post-apocalyptic-type world, where cities were scattered around the Wasteland and rounded off with walls and gates. The world-building was substantial enough to capture my interest. Although there are several grey areas, as well as a handful of specifics that refuse to make sense in the bigger picture (like the existence of the Periodic Table), I imagine a lot is yet to be uncovered in the books to come.
Rachel is, to a certain extent, exactly the character I hoped she would be: steadfast, kick-ass and resilient. It is easy to appreciate her at first, especially as Baalboden’s Protectorship scheme has resulted in a mostly meek and obedient female population. As the book progresses, however, her stubbornness and recklessness become a little irritating at times. There is definite potential for improvement, which is probably a good thing. Despite moments of exasperation of my part, I enjoyed her strong character overall and admired her determination.
Where Rachel is a little impulsive and erratic, Logan, the love interest, is her opposite. His logical approach and methodical manner is, I imagine, crafted in such a fashion so as to balance Rachel’s personality. This worked well. The romance is believable and well-paced, and maybe even my favourite aspect of the whole book. The emphasis on the romantic plot is quite great at times however, so that might be a turn-off point for some readers, but being a romance junkie myself, I loved it. My only criticism of Logan’s character is his constant ‘Worst Case Scenario’ and ‘Best Case Scenario’ predictions. Although quite fitting at first given his personality, with repetition it becomes incredibly irksome.
Despite my feelings being a little scattered here and there, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and look forward to the sequel. Defiance is quite an impressive debut novel, with light elements of fantasy and dystopia and an interesting set of characters. This is a promising start to a new series.