I’m still unsure about how I feel about Defiance by C.J. Redwine. I liked it but there were things that distracted me so much I may or may not have disliked it.
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.
I really enjoyed parts of this story. The plot was really strong — the boy and girl off to find her father and the mysterious “package,” all while a wing-less dragon lurks underground for its next opportunity to strike. I was totally into it. The world-building was great. I could see the city of Baalboden and I had a good sense of the city’s poverty and desperation. Redwine’s lovely descriptions were paramount to her successful world-building.
However, her characters were sadly disappointing. The main characters Rachel and Logan were good, not great, but good. I had an overall sense of who they were, but Rachel had the annoying teen syndrome. Fortunately, Logan had a great personality and I loved reading his side of the story. I would argue that the best developed character was the commander. He is greedy, power-crazed and ruthless. We don’t really see his motivations but, as a reader, I understand the concept of the tyrant so it was easier for me to accept him as a character. However, he played a small role compared to the main characters.
The rest of the characters were one-dimensional. I wanted SO bad for there to be more depth, more life, more…something. It was difficult to feel emotion when the reader doesn’t understand the depth of the relationship between the characters. Also, Redwine did a lot of telling and not showing. I knew the characters were sad, angry, etc. but I didn’t know why and I didn’t know how. I feel like Redwine put in too much effort, not that effort is bad but it shows. For the story to be well told, it should seem effortless. I really wanted her to let the characters tell the story; it was too forced.
Towards the end of the book, I felt like the pace and plot were disrupted in an attempt to prolong the story for the sequel. The ending was kind of disappointing, but there were so many questions left open for the next book. Redwine eluded to a love triangle and secrets between the commander and Logan. I’m really hoping for more character development in the next book. According to Redwine’s blog, the title for the second book will be released in December 2012 and the book will be released in August 2013. Even though this book was disappointing, I’m hoping for a lot of growth and a better sequel.