Google+ YA Romantics: Just Finished Reading ... Defiance

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Just Finished Reading ... Defiance

Review of

Defiance
by C.J. Redwine

To be published by Balzer + Bray
on August 28, 2012

Source: bought


My summary: 
Rachel is devastated when her father, a missing courier for the cruel Commander, is declared dead. Angry and grieving, Rachel insists that her father was in possession of a valuable package and she's the only one who can find it. Logan, Rachel's father's trusted apprentice, has vowed to protect Rachel no matter what. In a strange world where monsters lurk and no one can truly be trusted, can Rachel and Logan find anything but heartbreak?

My take:
Defiance is an interesting story that's both dystopic (a walled community ruled by a cruel despot who has promised to protect the residents from a monster) and post-apocalyptic, with some fantasy elements. 

For me, one of the strengths of Defiance was the way that the story set up a big ol' tangle of interpersonal conflicts. Rachel doesn't want to be dependent on Logan, because she thinks doesn't return her romantic feelings. Logan feels responsible for Rachel and is trying to keep his feelings for her in check. The Commander wants the package and needs Rachel alive, but realizes he can use Logan to manipulate her. This is the kind of juicy-good stuff I love in a book, and it kept me on the edge of my seat as I read.

The book's writing style was also a strength -- clean and crisp, with short chapters that alternated Rachel's POV with Logan's. I know that some readers aren't a fan of the dual POV, but since these two characters are separated for some of the book, this narrative choice was practical and added suspense.

For those of you who like action and fight scenes, there were some great ones. Plus, some plot twists that zigged when I was expecting them to zag. I also thought Rachel and Logan were an interesting couple. I liked the fact that she's more the brawn in the relationship and he's the brains. She has more of the warrior spirit -- in the Department of Kickbutt Heroines, they don't make them any tougher and fiercer than Rachel -- while Logan invents gadgets that are half MacGyver, half Q from James Bond. 

The book's monster (a beast called The Cursed One that was released from the bowels of the earth as humans drilled for fuel) reminded me of that weird black cloudmonster from the TV show LOST


I found the Commander a much more scary and convincing villain and wished he'd been present in more of the book. 

I also wanted to understand the story world a lot better. Does Defiance take place in the future or the past or was this alternate history? I called the book post-apocalyptic because it seemed to me that the appearance of monsters sent the whole society (or world?) plunging into backwardness -- wearing cloaks and oppressing women and throwing people in dungeons -- but I wasn't sure. I got glimpses of other groups, both harmful and helpful (Rowansmark and the Tree People) but I never quite understood who they were and how they fit in. I'm assuming that perhaps some of these questions will be answered in a future book. 

All in all, this was an enjoyable read. If you love action-packed, suspenseful stories with kickbutt heroines, you'll love this book!

Have you read this one? Tell me what you think in comments!

AND... I'll be offering this up as a prize choice in my Back to The Books Giveaway!  Check back tomorrow to enter!

38 comments:

  1. I totally want to read this. It is a HUGE pet peeve of mine when books don't take full advantage of interpersonal drama. Like, in a horror, I don't just want a greusome death. I want the greusome death of the person the protagonist doesn't think they can live without.

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    1. You are a bloodthirsty one, aren't you???

      But I SO agree. Was watching TV last night. Show with a guy who was missing, presumed dead and then turns up alive. His wife had, understandably, found a new boyfriend. I told my family, "Oh, that boyfriend was totally the missing husband's best friend." They mocked me. I was right.

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  2. Defiance sounds like a great read. I love a book with some action so I'll definitely have to check this one out. Thanks for the review! :)

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    1. Great. I must confess I skim action scenes -- not really my thing -- but there was enough other good stuff in this book that I really enjoyed reading it.

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  3. I've seen a lot of people excited about this book but for some reason I wasn't really feeling it (I don't like the cover for one). However your mention of the Commander makes me think of Warner in Shatter Me, pretty much the only time I really enjoyed the villain; that and the dual POV makes me interested in reading this.

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    1. I enjoy dual POVs and in this book it really works well, I think.

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  4. Oh, I got a Smoke Monster vibe from the Cursed One, too! :P Awesome review...you actually had me questioning why I initially felt this one hadn't lived up to my expectations. I did love the nerdy Logan and the villainous Commander, but I guess my confusion over the setting overruled all of that.

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    1. Too funny. I couldn't get that out of my head.
      I really wanted to know more about the setting. I had so many questions.

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  5. OOOH! I have been excited about getting my hands on this one! I guess I am really liking these kick butt girls and gadgets boys. As always, I am a fan of unresolved romantic tension. Can't wait to read!

    The confusing world building gets me a little, though, but it can be easy to overlook if everything else is good. I read another book not too long ago that was a fantasy/paranormal set in a some fantasy land far away (...) but many of the words used were current slang. It was very jarring and made for a disjointed reading experience.

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  6. This really sounds awesome!! I have been looking forward to it for a while. I have heard some mixed reviews on it, but I still definitely want to read it. Your review has intrigued me more.

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    1. I haven't read many reviews -- I try not to before I read.
      Glad I could provide another viewpoint :)

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  7. I might have to read this one. I had kind of dismissed it before as a Pretty Cover Dystopian YA book- not that I have anything against those books, I've just read a lot of them the last two years, but your review has me intrigued!

    Also, I have got to figure out how you get that Goodreads button at the top of your reviews- I love it! I usually just leave a Goodreads window open when I go on a blog commenting spree. ;)

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    1. The cover makes Rachel look far more meek than she is!

      I will email you the instructions for the button. Jen M showed me how!

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  8. Got this arc, I haven't gotten to read it yet but, I am really looking forward to it after reading your review! I am excited to get to have the dual point of view because now you get to know what both of the characters in their relationship and the story are thinking and I am hoping I will enjoy getting to know what the male character thinks as well as the female. Thanks for your thoughts!

    Kristin @ Young Adult Book Haven

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    1. Glad to find more fans of dual POV. I actually enjoy that!

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  9. I'm looking forward to this one, too. It sounds more to me like fantasy rather than dystopian, which for me is a plus. I have trouble believing dystopian world set ups, but if I go in knowing it's fantasy, I can suspend disbelief more easily.

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    1. Look forward to hearing your thoughts -- thanks so much for stopping in!

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  10. gr8 review . sounds good but i\m skipping it

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  11. The smoke monster from Lost! LMAO! That thing seems to be appearing everywhere lately. I was unsure about this I don't know why. Kind of because some of the things you brought up. Is this fantasy or apocalyptic or what. I like to know! But I like the sound of the romance and the kick butt heroine. Curious about what package they have and what gadgets Logan uses. I like a boy with brains and I love alternating POVs.

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    1. I enjoy these hybrid books, but sometimes they get criticized for not being enough fantasy/dystopian etc. I'm not a huge fantasy reader (and I don't think you are either) so the sparser world-building wasn't a dealbreaker for me!

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  12. Woe that is a lot of drama going on in the story and I love it. Its so good when two characters love each other but don't know the other has feelings for them. And then your yelling at the book because you want them to be together but they can't figure it out. I also love the dual POVs because you get more of the story even if its the same scene from both the characters. This is another book that I have been waiting for to get released and hopefully soon I can find time to read.

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    1. Drama :)
      Glad someone else yells at books too. I yell, I roll my eyes, I sulk...

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  13. For some reason I thought this book was about something totally different. Maybe there is another book with a similar cover. Or maybe I'm just really confused. Either way I know want to read it. I do love a good dystopian/post apocalyptic novel. I've also recently discovered that I do like dual narrative (when it's done right). Another book I'll have to check out!

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    1. Well, glad I could straighten you out about this!
      I think the dual narrative works well here.

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  14. The smoke monster from LOST! LOL Now I really want to read it! But I also love kick ass females and fantasy elements so I am looking forward to this one. Great review! :)

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    1. Yay -- more LOST fans. But I never really understood what that smoke monster was. If anyone can explain it to me, that would be great.

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    2. I never really understood the smoke monster either. But I think it was part of the man in black? Like the island (the heart of it we see at the end) changed him into it.

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  15. Ooo! this one sounds really good. I think I would really enjoy it!

    Thanks for the review Jen!

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  16. "For those of you who like action and fight scenes, there were some great ones. Plus, some plot twists that zigged when I was expecting them to zag." Yes, please! ;)

    And oh, that damn smoke monster! I like Dane Cook's comment about lost, which was something along the lines of how every episode he has 42 new questions and no answers. I need to rewatch that whole series. And I know I still won't know what that damn smoke monster is, really. Or why there was a flash of their island being under the ocean in the last season. Curse you, J.J. Abrams!

    I've read some very positive reviews about Defiance, and I'm glad to see that you enjoyed it as well!

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  17. I enjoyed the dual perspectives in this one. Great pont about the time frame though.
    Glad you enjoyed.
    Brandi from Blkosiner’s Book Blog

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  18. DYSTOPIC is now my word of the day.

    I like the sound of this one.

    Writing styles have become a bit of an issue me lately.

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  19. I love dystopian worlds, alternating points of view, kick butt heroines, and plot twists! I think I need to add this to my TBR as soon as possible =)

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  20. This is so on my wishlist, but I promised i wouldn't buy it till December..grr. Great review!

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  21. Woo Hoo! Kick butt heroines, dual POV's, and James Bondish gadgets, I am all for THAT! Can't wait to start this one:)

    Jen have you ever checked out the author's blog? her interviews with other YA authors are hilarious:)

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  22. I keep reading great reviews on this one, but yours is the first that brings up the likeness to the Lost smoke monster....loved that show...now I am daydreaming Sawyer, man he was hot. Oh I digress...let's see book....Sawyer yum! Oh I really do want to check this out, I love strong ass kicking girls and the werewolf twist and smoke monster make it sounds awesome!

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  23. I am an action girl, and I'm even more of a dystopian fan. So I'm gonna take a gander and say this is right up my alley. Wishlisted!

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