Friday, September 14, 2012

Review: Defiance by C.J Redwine

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!

2/5 stars

Add Defiance to Goodreads


  1. OK, so as soon as I saw you'd reviewed Defiance, I wrote this: 'OMG YOU COW.'

    Then I read your first paragraph. DAMN. I'm sorry this was such a miss for you :(
    Whether or not you like writing negative reviews, you write them well. It's a really fair balance between the good and the not, and we can't all love ALL the books, you know?

    I SO know what you mean about being hyper-aware of a repeated phrase or thought! UGH. When you're really into a book, the thoughts and feels flow. That jarring realisation that you're reading the same thing again isn't a good sign :(

    ANYWAY. I hereby crown you queen of the reviews. Kay? :D

  2. Brodie, I swear, you took the thoughts out of my mind and put them write on paper...or the computer screen! ;) I loveeee this review, simply because it is SO honest and REAL. I didn't understand the hype surrounding this one and I barely even wrote a proper review for it because of how apathetic I felt towards the entire ordeal of reading and reviewing this novel. It was just so...meh! After ALL those 5 Star Reviews, I was expecting more. Plus, as you said, Rachel and Logan were both missing something individual and together, so their POVs (which were SO interchangeable!) and their romance just fell flat. *sigh* It's the curse of the beautiful covers, all over again.. :( Still, lovely review, Brodie! :D

    1. All of my hype surrounding it was the gorgeous cover :D
      I'm sad it was a bit of a bust. Mo well. It means I get to read Under the Never Sky sooner and Brodie might not hate me :D

  3. *hugs* Oh my..Brodie. :( I know that you've wanted to read this so bad! Given that we have the same book taste, I know. And I'm so sad to find out that Defiance wasn't meant for you. It happens, of course. We can't love and gush about every book we read (I know that from experience, too.) It's so dampening and disappointing when that happens. Thank you for your great honest review!

  4. Awwwww Brodie *huggles* I'm sorry that Defiance wasn't your cup of tea :( I absolutely understand how hard it is to write a negative review because we know that authors have put so much work into writing their novels. While I didn't LOVE Defiance, I did enjoy it although like you, I did have problems with Rachel.

    Thank you for the AWESOME and honest review, Brodie! ♥♥♥

  5. Awwk, Brodie, that's such a shame! And it sounds so awesome! I am a little worried, because I feel our tastes are a little similar, so I may not enjoy it either! :S Sucks. Hopefully I will! But we can't like all books! Hopefully you'll love the next book you read!

  6. bummr . tnx 4 the honest review brodie . Hopefully you'll love the next book you read!

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  8. Awww, I'm sorry you didn't enjoy this, girly. I know how much you were looking forward to reading Defiance and for it not to deliver... It's always so disappointing when you have high expectations for a book and it doesn't end up being what you had dreamed of.

    When I read the blurb it didn't really sound like my thing but then I read a wonderful review, full of CAPS and energy and then I got excited but now I'm deflated - again. Think I'll give this a miss for now but never say never. Anyway, I heard that Defiance is majorly lacking in the swoon department. :O

    Brodie, even when you don't like a book, you still end up writing a smashing review. In case it isn't clear, AWESOME, HONEST, LOVELY, EPIC review! ♥

  9. Brodie, I gave this a 3.5 but I do agree with a lot of your points! Rachel and Logan drew mixed feelings from me. Sometimes I would love them and sometimes I would be greatly annoyed by them... and I agree, the reveal of the package was a little underwhelming.

    Beautifully reviewed hun!

  10. Such an amazing, honest review. I have been hearing mixed things about this one and never felt a strong desire either way to pick it up and read it.

    I agree with the whole negative review thing. It is hard to write them because each author puts so much into their story. However, not every book is going to appeal to every reader.

    This one sounds like the elements were there, but they didn't come together in such a way to make it one of YOUR favourites. :(

    Thanks again for the honest review. You clearly stated what didn't work for you in a respectful way. Hard to do and you do it well.

  11. Awww, lovely review but that is OK if it didn't grab you and Rachel didn't end up being your friend:D

    I have this to read. So I shall keep an open mind and see how I go:D

    Nice honest thoughts!


  12. Brodie. *blinks*
    There is a book we HAVEN'T agreed on? Where's the fire brigade? :P

    I'm saddened you didn't love this book as I know you were looking forward to it! But sometimes it does just happen that way, and if it didn't, well, what would be the point of reading, right?
    I actually did feel the spark between the characters and did feel the repetition slightly but was able to bypass it because I was just so into the story but that's what happens when different people read the same book! Different opinions!
    I also adored Logan but I'm a lover of all guys who are smart and tactical! lol. And unable to really understand his own feelings to the point he needs a big banner to show him what he means.

    But either way, I'm sorry you didn't like this one! Here's hoping the next book you read is better :D

    Also, awesome negative review. It clearly stated your own thoughts without putting the book down. Bravo!

  13. Aw, I'm sorry you didn't love this one! I can understand your feelings about Rachel, and Logan as well - and as for the worldbuilding, I think I agree with you, it could have been explored a little more. I'm personally looking forward to the next book, but you can't love everything, so thanks for such an honest and well-written review! :)

  14. Oh wow, I'm sorry you didn't love it! I loved it! I really loved Rachel and Logan and their journey but great honest review hun xxx

  15. Oh man. I totally feel bad that this didn't work out for you. I also had the same experiences with certain books and I just couldn't for the life of me love them as much as I would like to. Sometimes it all comes down to the characters and although you and Rachel didn't really hit it off, I'm still looking forward to meeting her. Thank you for the fabulous, honest review, Brodie! :)


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