By C.J. Redwine
August 28, 2012
Ages 13 and up
Balzer + Bray
Reviewed: ARC from publisher
DEFIANCE by C.J. Redwine is a thrilling dystopian-style fantasy, with a splash of romance woven throughout its pages. The circumstances are dark, the stakes are deadly, and readers are guaranteed to be thrown for a loop multiple times as the story progresses.
The two characters, Rachel and Logan, live within the walled city of Baalboden. Led by the Commander, their society is protected by the Cursed One, a creature that lives within the depths of the earth and rises periodically to feed upon those unlucky enough to be caught outside the city walls.
I found myself becoming quite attached to the two main characters, Rachel and Logan, and appreciated the fact that the story was told from their alternating points of views. Rachel is in every way as fierce, fiery and passionate as Logan is cool, calculated and determined. Essentially, they are as different as two people could possibly be, although their hearts seem to beat as one. I found myself cheering Rachel on in her quest, while at the same time I was frustrated with her stubbornness and somewhat fickle nature. Logan, I adored in every way. I loved his occasional “Best/Worst Case Scenarios” and other planner tendencies. His voice was both endearingly clumsy yet extremely charming. Both characters grew over the course of the story, not always in the most optimistic ways. These two characters are certainly not at all the same at the end of the story as they are at the beginning. Trust me on that one.
The story throws a number of curve balls at the reader. It is these abrupt changes of events that turn what could have been a somewhat sluggish book (since much time is spent focusing on short periods of time and lots of inner dialogue) into a thrilling story that keeps the reader on edge throughout. And the villain! Woah, what a villain. Sure, the Cursed One a positively terrifying creature, but the main villain far out shadows even that terrifying beast. The Commander. Here is a man whose soul purpose is to elicit terror and obedience into the very people he believes it is his given duty to “protect” (cough *control*). I literally cringed anytime he came onto the scene.
I did find a couple of elements within the book to be a bit contrived, perhaps even unnecessary. For one, although I saw it as the catalyst for their initial “romantic situation”, I didn’t really care about the fact that Logan had turned Rachel down when they are younger. I just thought it was an “easy” way to create tension between the two from the start. And second, the inclusion of two new characters toward the end of the book. These characters bring only one word to mind (cough *triangle* cough, or maybe even *square*). Though I have been told otherwise – that there can be other types of “interest” between two people – I still feel that one or both of the two new characters were placed there as tools to create unnecessary tension between Rachel and Logan (is there not enough tension already??) But I concede, it may be too soon to come to conclusions. For that reason I will reserve my final thoughts until I read book two.
While I find it hard to imagine that any future events in this series could possibly compare to those in this first installment (it couldn’t possibly get worse for Rachel and Logan, could it??) – it is with bated breath that I eagerly await book two. Mrs. Redwine has certainly hit a home run with her debut!