Author: C.J Redwine
Release Date: In stores now!
Publisher: Atom (AUS/UK) | Balzar & Bray (US)
Thanks to: Hachette for the review copy!
Rachel’s world is confined to the protective walls around her city. Beyond them are violent wanderers, extreme terrain, and a danger straight out of legend: a beast called the Cursed One that devastates everything in its path.
When Rachel’s father goes missing, she is desperate to search for him. But her attempts to flee the city bring her to the attention of its overbearing ruler. His efforts to control her make the world within the walls seem as dangerous as that outside.
Her only chance at escape is Logan. Once her father’s apprentice, and now her only protector, he feels that helping her might mean losing her completely. But if he can put his feelings aside, they might be able to save more than Rachel’s father. They might be able to break down the walls, and set their people free.
You're not going to fall in love with every single person you date in life. They might appear to be the perfect package when you first meet them, but twenty minutes into the date he's worrying you suffer serious bowel problems after you've spend 15 of those minutes in the bathroom to escape him. The next girl he dates? She falls head over heels and they marry within 2 months. The same thing happens with books. Some sound AMAZING in theory and have readers across the land fawning over its brilliance. But when you finally give it a read, you discover it wasn't meant to be. Sadly, rather than a review of a shotgun marriage, this is one of a failed relationship between Defiance and I.
Rachel and I began friends, but I progressively grew to dislike her. I'm all for a feisty, stubborn girl who isn't afraid to stand up for herself in a world where woman are ranked below men; and although she made rash decisions, I enjoyed her streak of recklessness. Reckless behaviour generally leads to trouble and trouble equals excitement! Danger! But those reckless decisions steadily began to annoy me. Then, toward the of the novel, Rachel made obvious changes for the worst. Changes I can understand, given what she had to endure (and even respect, because Redwine took some risks that I appreciate in a heroine). However, I just couldn't find it in myself to sympathise with her, and lack of sympathy did not do Rachel any favours when everything she did and said inspired a lot of weird, growling noises from the back of my throat. By novels end, I was sadly not a Rachel fan.
Logan didn't leave a stamp on my heart either, though I'm sure many will appreciate that he's quite different from your typical love interest. Logan is a planner, an inventor. A man of logic, knowledge and Best or Worst Case Scenarios, but he can still wield a sword with the best of them. I do like that he actually analyses a situation (perhaps too much) before rushing into things. It was interesting having the romance came packaged with an already messy history, but as good as Logan is at chemistry, I can't say I was feeling it between these two; not in their banter or near-kisses. There was just something... missing. A spark. In the characters, their personalities, goals, relationships, the very world around them. A spark to make this book truly come alive for me.
I felt like there was a lot of repetition with thoughts and emotions; twenty pages, fifty pages, one-hundred and fifty... I grew weary at going through the same internal thoughts over and over again. I'm not saying characters should express one emotion or goal and never think about it again, but for some reason I was very aware of this repetitiveness. When a character grieved over a second death, rather than it punch a hole in my heart, I was left thinking, "We're not going through this again, are we?" By no means am I saying Redwine is a bad writer, she is not; what I'm saying is her writing is not for me.
I wish there was more depth to the worldbuilding, I was left with a lot of questions, though I feel perhaps we'll see more exploration in the sequel? The reveal of the mysterious package, while I'm sure it was exciting for some, fell a bit flat for me. I can't say I was very invested in the overall plot line. Having said all that, I can understand why others loved this. It has all the essential elements for a successful dystopian - romance, fire-breathing monsters, swords, murder, deceit, a journey across the lands - but those elements simply failed to brew together in a love potion specific to my heart.
I didn't hate Defiance, but it was teetering dangerously on the edge of 'mildly like' and 'dislike', hovering more into 'it was okay, but probably won't read the sequel' territory. I don't take joy in writing negative reviews. Every author pours their heart and soul into their work. I really appreciate and respect the amount of effort that goes into each novel. You may absolutely LOVE this, so I urge you to read some of those glowing 5 star reviews to see how they counter mine and then decide if this is for you or not!
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