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Saturday, October 6, 2012

Defiance (Defiance #1) by 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 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.

Released: August 28th 2012          Pages: 403
Publisher: Balzer + Bray              Source: Library
First Look: ***** I've had my eye on this ever since I read the pitch (last October, according to Goodreads).  Then I saw the cover, and I was even more excited.  The cover is gorgeous!  The cover model has lovely hair.

Setting: ***** What on earth was the setting, even?  Was it a far-off land entirely disconnected from our own world?  Was it our world in the future, turned medievalish dystopia?  Was it a historical fantasy/steampunk setting?  I have no idea.  As far as I know, it could be any of these.  The standard medieval high-fantasy setup was all there, except...suddenly, gadgets starting popping up out of nowhere.  This society apparently is still in the dark ages enough to be using swords and such.  They haven't developed more advanced things like oh, say, guns and bullets.  But they still can put trackers on people and rig up bombs?  It doesn't make sense.

I think more explanation of the setting would've gone a long way towards my enjoyment of the novel as a whole.  I couldn't suspend my disbelief as a reader because I was given no solid ground to stand on, in terms of setting.

Characters: ***** Once again, I find myself in this same position: Here we have a strong, capable, independent heroine who can match her sword against any boy's and win.  And yet...I feel like the character doesn't really extend beyond that.  The stock "strong female lead" just doesn't cut it, on its own.  I'm going to have to write a blog post about this, because it's happening more and more.  I didn't doubt Rachel's ability to topple any enemies that would dare stand in her way, but I didn't get much depth from her.  I wanted to know more about her, who she was, what she feared, what made her tick, etc. 

And then there's Logan.  Logan, Logan, Logan.  I had much more respect for Logan than I did for Rachel.  Probably because he used his brain before throwing himself into a potentially fatal situation.  I felt like he had much more depth.  I was interested in his backstory, and I could see the way it affected him throughout the story.  And I just simply had an easier time connecting with him, because he's fairly similar to me.

Plot: ***** What's going on here?  Is this a love story, an epic quest novel, a protest against Bella Swanism, or a novel about a revolution?  I can't tell.  It had a bit of all of these, but not in the good something-for-everyone way.  Instead, it felt a bit out of focus.  Novels can and most of the time do have a few different themes and plotlines, but this combo just didn't work for me. 

My other problem with the plot is the lack of background.  Again, the setting, but also the Cursed One.  Is this a dragon, some random spirit, or what?  How did it become cursed (or is it just called that for no apparent reason?)?  And the Commander.  What's up with him?  He's just evil for the sake of evil.  No, no, no.  That's not how it works.  (Full post on that subject.)  There's just too many things that were left unexplored, so much opportunity for conflict that was never taken advantage of.

Uniqueness: *****
Meh.  It doesn't really stand out from the crowd.  There's no aspect that makes you immediately go "I've never, ever read something like this before".

Writing: *****
Rachel and Logan's POV chapters sounded pretty much the same.  Logan's was a little more distinct, but I got lost a few times and had to go back and check who was narrating.  This is disorienting for the reader and never a good thing.  I think that's about it, as writing goes.

Likes: The gadgets were kind of cool....  Also, I'm listening to Bohemian Rhapsody right now.  (Yes, this is always a fact worth noting, whether it's relevant in any situation or not.)

Not-so-great: Once again, I am in the minority and have been deceived by the hype.  Also, where is this "army of assassins" mentioned in the pitch? 

Overall: Overall, I was disappointed in this.  It wasn't a bad book, but not one of my favorites, either.  It was okay.  I was frustrated with the lack of explanation in the setting.  My main problem, though, was that I didn't care all that much about the characters.  The plot was all over the place, and Rachel didn't have a huge amount of depth.  *shrug*  Try it if it looks interesting, but if not, don't worry about missing out on this one.
Similar Books: Throne of Glass, Grave MercyThe Girl of Fire and Thorns (Note: This is the first review where I've tried the "similar books" thing.  Keep in mind that just because they are similar, doesn't always mean they're the same quality.  All of these books are similar in that they feature a spunky heroine, a high fantasy setting, and varying degrees of romance.  tGoFaT is by far the best, though.  Again, just because they are similar does not mean I recommend them all.)
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1 comment:

  1. I felt the same way about this one. It's one of those books where the hype didn't live up to the book. It took me over a month to finish this one, and it previosly had been the book I was most looking forward to reading that season. :/


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