Defiance by C. J. Redwine is a fast-paced book set in a post-apocalyptic world. While I enjoyed the action-packed story, I wish we had gotten a bit more detail in places.
While the other girls in the walled city-state of Baalboden learn to sew and dance, Rachel Adams learns to track and hunt. While they bend like reeds to the will of their male Protectors, she uses hers for sparring practice.
When Rachel’s father fails to return from a courier mission and is declared dead, the city’s brutal Commander assigns Rachel a new Protector: her father’s apprentice, Logan—the boy she declared her love to and who turned her down two years before. Left with nothing but fierce belief in her father’s survival, Rachel decides to escape and find him herself.
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.
This book switches between Rachel and Logan’s perspectives. I like that we get to see the plot from both POVs because it gives the reader insight into both of their thought processes and emotions. For example, Rachel dislikes Logan because she thinks he doesn’t care about her or her father, but in reality, he is worried about both of them. We find out these things through each of their perspectives, which gives us deeper insight into their motivations. I think that both POVs are essential in this book.
I was glad that the two perspectives are labeled, though. It helped me to differentiate between Logan and Rachel. That being said, I still found myself getting confused as to whose POV we were in at times. Logan and Rachel’s voices sounded very similar to each other, so occasionally I had to stop and reorient myself as to whose mind we were in. I just wish Logan and Rachel’s inner voices had been more personalized so I could have easily known whose head we were in at any given time.
I thought the author did an excellent job with Rachel’s character arc. It was very pronounced, and I could definitely see a difference in Rachel as a character from the beginning of the story to the end. In the beginning of the book, she read as a naïve, reckless 16-year-old, but she grows up considerably throughout the story. By the end, she seems to be a completely different person, which is understandable due to all she goes through in this book. I definitely mourned Rachel’s loss of innocence, though. She was forced to grow up so quickly, and experienced so many horrific things, that by the end of the book, she kind of just shuts down her emotions and runs on rage and her need for justice.
The villain in this book, the Commander, is evil! The author definitely doesn’t hold back with him. He makes this book really dark with some of the things he does. The scene in the wagon with Rachel and the Commander was almost too much for me. I can see why it traumatized Rachel so much! And the Commander’s violence wasn’t the only reason he creeped me out. He didn’t just perform these acts of violence because he felt like it. He calculated and thought about the best way to hurt the people he targeted. That was what made him seem even more villainous, in my opinion.
The world-building is pretty minimal. We get the essentials, but we don’t get a rich world built throughout the book with a ton of descriptions. I think it would have been hard to get that level of detail in this book, what with how fast-paced the plot is. While I was satisfied by what we got, I do hope we get to see more about the other city-states in the next book.
I felt kind of bad for The Cursed One. It was disrupted from its sleep, attacked, its family was killed, and now the characters in the book are using it for their own agenda. Yes, it killed people and destroyed entire cities, but I still felt bad for it. I probably wasn’t supposed to sympathize with The Cursed One, but it’s an animal, and I love all animals, so I felt compassion for it as well.
The story, while in no way complete, ends in a satisfying place. If I didn’t have the next book queued up on my kindle already, I would’ve been okay waiting a few days to find out what happens next. Thankfully I do have Deception already so I don’t have to wait at all! I give Defiance four stars!