Review: Defiance by C. J. Redwine

Defiance Book Cover Defiance
C. J. Redwine

Within the walls of Baalboden, beneath the shadow of the city's brutal leader, Rachel Adams has a secret. While other girls sew dresses, host dinner parties, 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 boy who handed her heart right back to her. Left with nothing but 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.

Review:

I couldn’t finish this novel. I made a valiant effort, but in the end I had to admit defeat.

This is one of those instances where the maxim “don’t judge a book by its cover” rings true. I chose Defiance because the girl on the cover looked mysterious and tough, which I thought boded well for an exciting, fast-paced story. The sad truth is that there’s very little excitement in in Redwine’s novel, at least in the chapters I was able to struggle through.

One of the problems I had with this book is that the story crawls. I was initially eager to see what would happen between Rachel and Logan on their dangerous journey to rescue Rachel’s father, but more than a hundred pages into the book, they still hadn’t set off on their quest. Rather than devoting pages of the book to actual action, which would have driven the plot forward, Redwine wastes too space on Logan and Rachel’s lamentations of the cruel circumstances in which they find themselves. There are also way too many scenes in which each of the protagonists sings the praises of the other, droning on and on about how lovely and strong and brave the other is. It gets really old, really fast.

Another reason I couldn’t stick with Defiance is that the characters are so dull. Rachel is the typical beautiful-yet-fierce heroine, desired by all yet too independent and strong to belong to any man. There’s nothing new or fresh about her, and I found the phrase, “been there, done that,” continually playing in my mind. Logan, too, is bland; he does little but brood over how hard it is to be torn between his attraction to Rachel and his duty as her appointed guardian.

The final thing that turned me off about this book is the confusing setting – the society is old-fashioned in some ways and almost futuristic in others. On the one hand, people wear cloaks, boots, and long dresses; soldiers carry swords; and it is against the law for women to be out in public without a chaperon. On the other hand, guards carry devices to scan identity discs embedded in citizens’ wristbands; Logan invents suction grips that allow one to scale a wall like Spiderman; and a tiny microchip is available that can cloak all signals and frequencies within a one-mile radius. The mix of technology and antiquity feels very inconsistent and didn’t work for me.

All in all, Defiance is decidedly underwhelming. There’s a chance that the action picks up and things get more interesting later on in the book, but I just wasn’t willing to wait around and find out.

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