Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

Defiance #1


Rate this book
While the other girls in the walled city-state of Baalboden learn to sew and dance, Rachel Adams learns to track and hunt. While they bend like reeds to the will of their male Protectors, she uses hers for sparring practice.

When Rachel's father fails to return from a courier mission and is declared dead, the city's brutal Commander assigns Rachel a new Protector: her father's apprentice, Logan—the boy she declared her love to and who turned her down two years before. Left with nothing but fierce belief in her father's survival, Rachel decides to escape and find him herself.

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.

403 pages, Hardcover

First published August 28, 2012

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

C.J. Redwine

20 books3,923 followers
**Please read my FAQ before sending any requests: http://cjredwine.blogspot.com/p/faq.html **

C.J. Redwine loves fairy tales, Harry Potter, and going to the movies. If the novel writing gig ever falls through, she’ll join the Avengers and wear a cape to work every day. To learn more about C.J., visit her website at www.cjredwine.com

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
7,418 (26%)
4 stars
9,198 (32%)
3 stars
7,701 (27%)
2 stars
2,814 (9%)
1 star
1,197 (4%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,640 reviews
319 reviews1,887 followers
September 10, 2016
Honestly, I am shocked by the large number of glowing reviews Defiance has gotten thus far. Once again, it looks like I'm the black sheep, here to reign my terror on fangirls and fanboys all over Goodreads, and give my honest opinion on what I thought of the overrated mess known as Defiance.

In the city of Baalboden, Jared Adams is declared dead by the ruthless Commander, and Jared's daughter, Rachel, friend, Oliver, and apprentice, Logan, are gathered to the hearing of his will. In Jared's will, he left Logan to be Rachel's Protector, acting as a bodyguard for Rachel and never letting her out of his sight. However, Rachel and Logan don't believe that Jared is actually dead, and escape the walls of Baalboden to look for him.

I really don't know where to start in this review. I might as well say that the plot itself was decent for the most part, when it wasn't taken over by sappy, melodramatic drivel. (I told you this wasn't going to be a happy review!) But honestly, it's hard for me to enjoy a fantasy novel to begin with, and if the world building in that fantasy novel is not up to par to what I think it should be, then I most certainly won't enjoy the book very much. And in Defiance's case, the world-building is almost nonexistent. In fact, the world building is so poor, we're never actually given a time period in which this book takes place. And, if I were to take a guess as to which time period Defiance takes place - you know what, actually, I wouldn't be able to take a guess. The actions and misogyny in Defiance clearly hint towards an early time period, but the dialogue between characters, and even the character's names, certainly do not. I mean, Logan? Rachel?

And speaking of Logan and Rachel... well, let's just say I've got lots to say about them. Let's just start with Rachel, and get her over with. Rachel made a complete 180º turn in character, seemingly from one chapter to the next. Needless to say, this change in character was not a very good one. Right in chapter one, we're provided with very clear indications that Rachel has a strong hatred towards Logan, ever since she confessed her love (hmph) to him two years ago, and he rejected her. Then, after Logan was appointed as her Protector, basically made her move out of the comfort of her own house and into the discomfort of his, and just was an all around asshole towards her (but more on that soon. Trust me.), she decided that she's, once again, in love with him. I can't. I just can't. And while Rachel at times is a strong and self-reliant character, the sappy mess of a romance between her and Logan take over, and almost all of my respect for her as a badass killing machine is gone, just like that.

Then there's the love interest, Logan. *rubs hands together* Oh, boy... Let me say it right now: I hated this boy with a burning passion. He was a controlling, inconsiderate and at times abusive asshole. But, so you can see some of the reasons while I wanted to desperately to strangle Logan, here are some of the things he's said to Rachel, done to Rachel, and thought about Rachel, throughout Defiance (or at least throughout the first half, because after that point I just didn't care anymore and started skimming.):

[...] and then I'm going to lock her in my loft for as long as it takes.

This was the first red flag this book gave me that I wouldn't end up liking Logan. He said he's going to lock her in his freaking attic for "as long as it takes", for goodness' sake!

[portion/quote redacted because it is changed in the finished copy]

"You're hurting me," she says as she matches my pace through the torch-lit streets. "You're lucky," I say. "That you're hurting my arm?" Her voice is full of its usual sass, but I hear unsteadiness beneath it."No. You're lucky I'm not wringing your neck."

Once again, excuse me? This book was lucky I was reading it on my Kindle, because if I had a paperback copy, that would have been the point where I would have,

a) thrown it out the nearest window and into the street, hopefully to get run over by a car or two;
b) shred to a million tiny little pieces and use it for litter in a gerbil cage;
c) ripped it to shreds by hand, and release those shreds into the wind in a My Sister's Keeper fashion

Damn you, Kindle! Damn you for getting in my way of fury! Okay, there's still more examples I have to show of why I hated Logan (and why you should, too).

"Feel better?" Rachel asks, and I punch the wall again just to keep from letting my anger loose on her. Not that she doesn't deserve some of it.

I don't think I need to explain my feelings of this statement, and how wrong it is, do I? I'm not done with reasons why I hated Logan, but seriously, read the above things he's said to Rachel, done to Rachel, and thought about Rachel. This is the love interest we're supposed to swoon over. This is the love interest that many readers love, and have swooned over. This is the love interest that is praised by readers. Why?!

[After Logan said something barely understandable] Maybe I should enunciate clearly, then she'll understand.

Or - and this is just another possibility - maybe you could be less of a condescending asshole and try say and what she clearly didn't understand in a different light, and not ridicule her for not understanding you.

"I'm leaving you with Oliver for the day, Rachel. We have nothing more to discuss."


"I [Rachel] am an equal part in this whole thing, and I want to help you find supplies." "Well, you can't." [Logan says]

So now you're acting like her father and controlling what she can and cannot do? You can't act this and then declare your love for her moments afterward. No, scratch that - you can't act like this at all.

Hopefully now you understand the basis behind my extreme hatred towards Logan, because he truly is an awful character, and an even more awful love interest. And the sad part is, Rachel eats all of this up. He commands her, she does what he says. He abuses her both physically and verbally, she takes it. He's a complete and total asshole to her, and yet she "can't bear to live without him." Ugh. Gag me with a rusty spoon.

And maybe, somewhere, there's a mediocre plot behind my blinding hatred for Logan and the melodramatic everything that takes over Defiance. Clearly there's something redeemable about Defiance, given all the glowing reviews for it. I, unfortunately, did not happen to find that.
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,962 reviews293k followers
November 9, 2015
1 1/2 stars. If this book was written 5-6 years ago and I had read it then, maybe I would have liked it. Maybe. Back before the formula it uses was used in every single dystopian novel. Back when I was less likely to see the huge gaping holes in it.

I judge a book on the entire story and effect, but also look at individual things - characters, writing, world-building and plot. And I must say that this book doesn't do anything that well.

Let's look at the characters. There are two POVs, Rachel and Logan, a fact that these days immediately gives away the romance that is sure to come. But whatever, that isn't important. More damning is the fact that these POVs seem identical - if their names were not at the start of the chapters, it would be hard to distinguish them from one another.

In general, these are not particularly well thought-out or developed characters. Rachel is an orphaned girl rebelling against the sexism in her dystopian/paranormal (future? alternate?) society. Huh, haven't seen that one before. Logan is her bland, but self-sacrificing love interest.

Rachel is clearly supposed to be tough and brave and yet her actions just seem stupid. Constantly putting your life at risk without having a real plan isn’t realistic or clever. Some people are brave, but most people are self-preserving first. If not, bravery quickly becomes foolishness. Not surprisingly, her rebellions mostly fail.

In fact, the plot moves forward by failures. Every bit of drama is created out of Rachel and Logan constantly screwing up their plans and getting themselves in a load of trouble. At first, it was just cringy to watch them constantly propel themselves into bad situations, later it became boring.

The story is actually pretty vague. Rachel and Logan live in this town called Baalboden, surrounded by a wall, and we learn in the beginning that Rachel's father has not returned from doing something over the wall and now he's been declared dead. Rachel refuses to accept it and decides to go find out what really happened to him. Because of Rachel's idiotic actions, Logan gets caught up in it too.

Then there's this world. What world is it anyway? There is little world-building and it’s hard to tell if this is supposed to be our world in the future, an alternate version of our world, or a completely different world entirely. We are told that the “modern world” was destroyed by the Cursed Ones and this society was formed with its wall to keep them out. And the founders of this society happened to be crazy sexist too.

Lots of books, particularly YA dystopias, use sexism to engage the readers - yeah, make us angry! Make us want to scream at the unfairness! - but here it feels just like a plot tool. There’s no depth to it, no social critique, no examining why it exists in this society or what it means for them. It’s just a bit of added drama to try and draw out sympathy for Rachel (it doesn't work).

The sexism is just one more element of this book that hasn't been thought about. It's just been thrown in. As is also true of the cruel, mindlessly evil antagonist. The Commander is literally the equivalent of a cackling man sat in a high-backed chair, enjoying the doom he is imparting. He flogged Logan’s mother to death, threatens to rape Rachel, and randomly kills his guards for LOLZ. I get it - he's the bad guy.

Also, I've heard other reviewers sometimes talk about "over-writing", but I don't think I've ever really appreciated what they mean until reading this book. There are some very strange phrases, metaphors and analogies used for things that could have (and should have) been said quite simply:
'I’d rather combine every element on the Periodic Table and take my chances with the outcome than humble myself before the Commander.’

That's a really awkward and weird way of saying you don't want to humble yourself before the Commander. So strange.

I'm glad I finally read this just to satisfy my curiosity. Now I can move on to better books and not look back at this series.

Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube | Pinterest
Profile Image for Mitch.
355 reviews605 followers
September 6, 2016
A thoroughly melodramatic misfire that ends like a B-grade Godzilla movie. Yeah, that definitely describes Defiance to a tee, I don't think I've been bashed so hard so many times over the head with manufactured emotions since, well, ever. Whether it's the melodramatic overwriting, the cruel, harsh, cookie cutter dystopian landscape, the one note antagonist, or all the awful things that happen to Rachel in the first chapter of this seventy one chapter mess, wow what an annoying book. I'm sure those who have no problems being told how to feel by paragraphs of obtuse language will have no problems loving this, but as for me, no thank you.

I like books that are subtle with their emotions, Defiance announces it with as much finesse as the lumbering Cursed One that wanders around and kills people like the prehistoric fire breathing dinosaur that it is. See chapter one basically, where every third sentence tells me in a variety of maudlin ways how depressed Rachel feels that her father hasn't come back and is presumed dead. In fact, it's so overwritten I had to figure out he's been missing for sixty days from two lines of dialogue ... yeah, that would've helped me understand Rachel's worry. Instead, apparently Redwine thinks emotions are best conveyed and measured by the number of synonyms of and similes for sad she can cram into a chapter. Except sometimes, they don't even make sense. One of Logan's lines, for example, is 'I’d rather combine every element on the Periodic Table and take my chances with the outcome than humble myself before the Commander.' What does that even mean? When a book is so overwritten that I'm supposed to feel emotions just because, I'm not impressed.

Then, there's the whole contrived and not well thought out dystopian setting created solely to elicit more emotions. Basically, a whole bunch of Cursed Ones woke up, destroyed all of modern society, except the government manages to kill all but one before it collapses, and the survivors, living in fear of an attack by the last surviving monster, are now crammed into a bunch of towns protected by the soldiers who killed the other Cursed Ones. Got it? Ok, except Rachel just happens to live in the misogynistic town, where all the woman hate is supposed to make me feel sorry for her. Yeah, no dice, I have plenty of sympathies for real life women in situations like that, but for a fictional book, I expect the dystopian setting to have a point, like, I don't know, social critique, besides just the, yeah, how horrible, sympathize with her! Sympathize! (There's no point to the misogyny here, sorry.)

And now let's talk about the leader of this town, Commander Chase. Want to know the cheapest, laziest way to write a villain that'll guarantee universal loathing? Write him with what I like to call kick the puppy syndrome. That's right, Chase is evil just because, so of course he's going to be cruel and ruthless enough that he's willing to do anything to get what he wants, heck he'll even kill minions and kidnap pregnant women just to make a point. Except, even though Rachel and Logan constantly remind me of how evil he is, and maybe this is because I'm a guy, but by the halfway point of the book I started pushing back against their Chase is an evil bastard obsession. Like in one scene, the Cursed One attacks and causes a stampede, Chase rides out to confront the monster, and one guy gets trampled by his horse. Bummer. Rachel and Logan's response? What a horrible person to run down one man in a mass panic to save everyone else. But, you know, I see the Commander doing exactly what he has to do to save the rest of the town, and this fixation on how evil Chase is and needs to go just shows me Redwine is unwilling to tackle the potential complexities that could've been with the character and took the easy way out instead.

I don't have a problem with Rachel or Logan, the characters, but honestly the tough orphan girl with emotional problems and the possessive guy who won't admit his feelings are a dime a dozen in young adult books, particularly dystopians. It's the way they're written, angst filled, melodramatic, that annoys the hell out of me. When you have a male character in a dungeon, bruised, battered, broken ribbed, nose bloodied, weak, feverish, lethargic, sore - seriously stop. If every page is riddled with oversentimental tripe, honestly, how can I appreciate the parts I actually want to care about, like the two major character deaths? Instead, I'm rolling my eyes at the cartoonish way Logan escapes from the dungeon by using a portable drill to dig a tunnel under a wall Wile E. Coyote style. Oh, and the point of view alternates between chapters (which are fairly short) except Rachel and Logan sound ... almost exactly the same. I can tell Logan apart when he's talking about logic, science, or plans, but when he's narrating, talking about the plot, his voice, sounds the same as Rachel.

I think I'm gonna skip the many plot holes, which are the least of this book's problems, except to say in one scene, Rachel shoots an animal, jumps on top of it, slices its throat, flips it over ... and realizes it's a boar! Hmm I wonder what else it could've been. Nah, the only thing remotely enjoyable about this cheap tearjerker is watching these woe is me characters get one upped by the one note villain. 2.5/5.
Profile Image for Zoey Talbon.
198 reviews97 followers
May 20, 2015
Defiance doesn't waste any time at throwing you right into the story. Once Commander Chase declares her father dead, Rachel Adams wastes no time in trying to come up with a plan to find him. Of course, Logan McEntire (Anyone think of Myra McEntire? I do.) doesn't plan to let her leave the "safety" of Baalboden on her own. Defiance is certainly filled with plenty of action, which is something I think a lot of dystopians are, oddly enough, missing.

Because Defiance is written in dual POVs, we get to experience both Rachel and Logan's thoughts and experiences when they're separated. While I think Redwine handled the dual POVs very well, when I stopped reading and returned quite a bit later, it was hard to tell whether I was reading from Logan's perspective or Rachel's perspective for a page or two. The characters themselves are very easy to love - Logan and Rachel are both fighters in their own way, both heroes. Rachel is stubborn, sometimes impulsive, and very determined. Logan calculates things, makes plans. Together, they work perfectly to level each other out. But sometimes they just didn't have unique voices in their narratives.

When it comes to the romance between Rachel and Logan, however, I wasn't really satisfied. It felt a bit rushed to me, even though I know it wasn't since Rachel and Logan have known each other since forever, basically. The tension between the two of them in the first half of the book is written perfectly - but then suddenly I feel like it fizzled out. The two of them are still perfect for each other, of course. I just feel like there could have been more.

Speaking of more, the only other issue I had was the world-building. It's easy to see that the world Rachel and Logan live in is dangerous. But I didn't really understand the world itself at all. That's always been an issue for me, so maybe it wouldn't bother anyone else.

And Commander Chase. I spent half of the book wishing I could punch him in the face. He's a merciless, power-hungry, mysterious leader. I can't wait to find out what's really going on with him in the next book.

Overall: With strong characters - that also know they need help from one another - and action-packed chapters with smooth writing, Defiance is a dystopian you don't want to miss out on. 4 stars.
Profile Image for ♥Rachel♥.
1,851 reviews846 followers
July 11, 2017
*“It’s probably my job to tell you life isn’t fair, but I figure you already know that….So instead, I’ll tell you that hope is precious, and you’re right not to give up.”

Seventeen year-old Rachel Adams can’t believe it when all the searches are called off, and her father, Jared, is declared dead. He is the best tracker/courier for the city state of Baalboden. Rachel’s heart is crushed with grief and despair, but she knows deep down that if anyone can make it in the Wastelands that lie beyond the city gates, it’s her father. She now must attend the reading of his will to find out who will be assigned as her new Protector. Rachel has no doubt that Oliver, the trusted family friend and surrogate father, is the one that will be named. She is beyond shocked when Logan McEntire, her father’s apprentice and the one man she’s been avoiding for the last two years, is named as her Protector. This is the man she gave her heart to, only to have it handed right back. No matter though, because she doesn’t plan to stick around long enough for that decision to affect her. She starts planning a way to skirt over the protective city Wall and look for her father.

Nineteen year-old Logan is shocked to find out he’s been assigned as Protector over Rachel, the daughter of the man he considers his father. One who professed her love for him two years ago, but no longer even glances his way. Logan feels there’s no way he can take on this responsibility, especially when he has so little time to plan and execute a mission to locate Jared. Added to all of these problems is the Commander, the cruel and wicked ruler of Baalboden, who is watching every move Logan and Rachel’s makes. They figure out he doesn’t believe Jared is dead either and is suspicious that Logan or Rachel know he’s not.

I loved everything about this story! The characters, the pacing, the world, and of course, the romance! You will find no insta-love or triangle in this story. There are just two well-rounded and believable main characters. This is told is in dual POVs alternating between Rachel and Logan, and I felt the method worked rather well. We’re able to see the story and how things are felt from both sides, making it easy to connect with both main characters. Lack of communication between Rachel and Logan leads to them making bad decisions with major consequences. But shock!! (Because this seems to be so different from many YA stories.) These characters actually learn from their mistakes and do not keep repeating them. Thankfully, you aren’t frustrated throughout the entire novel, having to grit your teeth at every stupid decision! Their romance is very sweet, and like I said, no insta-love, but instead a slow and satisfying build-up. Here’s a little snippet to tempt you:

*Her lips brush mine, sweet and hesitant, and I open my eyes. She’s all I can see. All I can taste when I breathe in. Her body molds itself to mine like she was made for me, and I want her to feel it too. To acknowledge it.

I guess you would call this a steampunk novel set in a post-apocalyptic future world. There are futuristic-gadgets, and yet much of the advanced technology we have available in our world is gone. Customs and traditions seem to have reverted back to the past. The role of women has taken a big leap back, which left me furious in a few instances. Fortunately for Rachel, her father chose to ignore that custom and trained her to be a competent fighter. I can’t talk about the characters without mentioning the cruel and sinister Commander. I cringe at every scene he’s in! He seems to always have something up his sleeve, and I’m wondering if there’s something to that. There are reasons he’s in power, and I hope we’ll find out more in the next installment.

There are enough questions and things left undone that I’m anxious for the next book. Yet, we’re not left with the pain and frustration of a cliffhanger, just excited anticipation awaiting the next book. This is a brilliant debut from author C.J. Redwine!

I forgot to add, I love this cover and it's so perfectly suited to the story which is nice for a change!

Thank you to Balzer + Bray and Edelweiss for allowing me to read this wonderful story.

*Quotes taken from uncorrected proof and may change in the final copy.

You can find this review and more at The Readers Den.
Profile Image for shady boots.
500 reviews2,036 followers
March 4, 2015
Yikes. I took almost two weeks to finish this. And to think, once upon a time I gave this book 5 stars and endless praise. It's amazing how opinions can change within a few years, huh?

This book was fine. The me from 3 years ago remembered it as awesome and heart-stopping and jaw-dropping and whatnot, but I suppose I was a tad too easily impressed at the time. My tastes have since developed and I no longer find much unique about this book.

You know how I usually say that there are some slower-paced, character-focused books that could still keep my interest? Well for once the opposite has happened. This book is the epitome of action-packed, but it stull left me yawning and it was very putdownable. I still liked it, I just didn't lurve it like I did back then. It was just...fine.

I'll still finish the series, if not only for the sake of finishing it cause I own all 3 books.
Profile Image for Whitley Birks.
294 reviews355 followers
August 20, 2013
I can just imagine the conversation that must have taken place with this book…

“So, I’ve got this manuscript about a girl who lives in this fantasy setting—”

“Fantasies aren’t big right now. Can you make it dystopian?”

“Um, I guess we could just say that the world got destroyed and this is what’s leftover?”

“Great, let’s go with that. That fact that it makes no sense will be beside the point. Tell me about the main character.”

“Her name is Rachel, and her dad is missing so she has to go find him using the skills he taught her—“

“So she’s a Strong Female Character? Those are very big right now.”

“Well, she uses weapons, but technically—“

“Good, make sure you stress that she’s a Strong Female Character. Those are very big right now.”

“How…do I stress that?”

“Just have people talk about her strongness a lot. That’s all you really need.”

“Whatever. But Rachel, see, she has to go find her dad, and she gets this boy she has a crush on to help—“

“No, they should be in love.”


“No one writes crushes anymore. They should be soul-shatteringly in love.”


“And there needs to be a love triangle.”

“There isn’t.”

“Can you set up for one in the next book?”

“Will you buy my book if I do?”


“*sigh* Okay.”

There’s so much in this book that’s just so…weird. The setting makes no sense. Just straight-up, don’t bother trying to reason it out, it makes no sense. But it goes beyond that into…almost fetishizing misogyny. I don’t know how else to explain it, but it’s something I’ve seen more and more lately. The culture of Baalboden is extremely misogynistic, to an absolutely ridiculous degree, and it feels like the only purpose is to delight in heaping all that misogyny-flavored angst on Rachel. It’s there to show off how awesome Rachel is for bucking it, and also to present contrived hardships. But it goes beyond that. I’m making a wild speculation and I want to right now separate the book from the author because writing is a fickle beast and authors can end up saying stuff they don’t mean by accident HOWEVER: It really does feel like this book has a powerful “Big Male Protector” kink. Even though it (sorta) says that the treatment of women as property in this culture is wrong, it delights in using those same roles on Rachel and Logan and it stresses Logan’s role as being responsible for her and tasked with protecting her from the big bag world. And Logan’s actions and comments are never criticized. He’s supposed to be the good guy. The overall tone I got from the book is “people keep saying this is wrong so I guess I should too, but I kind of get off on this.”

And that made me very uncomfortable.

Rachel is also a textbook case of how not to write a Strong Female Character. At first, she was just a character, and I sort of liked her. She was brash and unruly, a bit juvenile, but that was acceptable given her age. I got the impression from her that she was very sheltered, since she was laboring under the impression that she could just shout things and get her way. Very teenager. I thought her character growth would be her developing beyond this tantrum-throwing, but nope, apparently we’re supposed to admire her “spirit.”

Though I didn’t mind Rachel in principle, the more people went on about how strong and awesome she was, the more I hated it. She’s not strong. The fact that she can use weapons is not strong. She was thoughtless and prone to throwing fits, she was always either running off to do things without thinking or trailing behind her menfolk, she didn’t make any serious plots or plans or contribute to anyone else doing the same, and every now and then she’d just sort of fall over and cry for a while. Any time she did do anything on her own, it was always a disaster that got her scolded afterwards. There’s a level at which I don’t mind this, but that level is “potential to grow up and be strong,” not “hey, she can stab stuff, let’s talk for six pages about how strong and awesome she is.”

The bad guy was also a big gripe for me. He was too over-the-top and quite stupid, especially given the set up. Supposedly, he’s allowed to repress women right into non-person-hood and murder and torment people at the drop of a hat and do all these horrible things because he has the power to keep the Cursed One out of their city. Erm, no. All this supposedly takes places 50 years after modern day, and there’s no way our current culture would put up with this. We would find out how the Commander does his ‘keep away’ trick and then either force him to do it or copy it. In fact, it turns out his trick is just a necklace that repels the monster. Why not just take that from him and then stab the guy in the face?

Also, all this takes place after modern day, but supposedly no one could defeat the Cursed One because its scales are “impervious to arrows and swords.” Um…hello atom bomb? They even manage to injure the thing with some mild explosives in this book, but no one thought “hey, let’s nuke the fuck out of that monster”?

Like I said, this is a fantasy setting that clearly got shoehorned in to dystopia just for the sake of calling it dystopia.

It’s a shame, because the core plot of this book wasn’t bad. It was quite engaging, actually. The book had the potential to be amazing, but it got held up with poor characters and creepy kink and abysmal logic gaps. And the attempts at science downright hurt me. If only they’d been kept as straight-up magic; this book is begging to be a fantasy.
Profile Image for Keertana.
1,126 reviews2,165 followers
September 26, 2012
Rating: 2.5 Stars

If I had to describe Defiance in one word, it would be ‘forgettable.’ Like so m any books before it, Defiance has all the right ingredients to be an incredible novel, from its heart-stopping cover to its kick-ass heroine to its intriguing plot, but somehow, it just didn't work for me. I went into this novel with low expectations, simply because so many trusted reviewers had given this a low rating, and I absolutely have to agree with them. Defiance, far from being a defiant cry about the re-emerging fantasy genre in YA Fiction, has only made me extremely wary of it.

For those of you who know me well, you’ll know that two things make-or-break my opinion of a novel – its characters and the world-building. Rachel and Logan, while proving to be intriguing characters from the surface, are truly quite flat. First and foremost, it should be known that their dual narration was very poorly written and if it were not for their names appearing before every chapter, I would not be able to tell them apart. Both of them lacked any true ‘voice’ which was quite disappointing. Over and above that though, Rachel came across as petulant and whiny more than kick-ass and Logan, for all his romantic moments, was also controlling and seemed to look down upon Rachel from time-to-time. Yet, what really sealed the deal was the fact that I simply wasn’t able to care for these two. In this novel, both Rachel and Logan go through dire circumstances, experience piercing grief, and come out stronger for it and while I read about all this happening to their character, I didn’t really feel any of it and was strangely withdrawn from this novel the entire time I read it. Even the romance, which I loved because of its slow build-up and interesting twists, was something I didn’t care for because it was the love story of Rachel and Logan. If you had inserted two different characters into this equation, I guarantee you that I would have been completely invested in it, especially as the story arc for it was so well-done.

Yet, even beyond the characters, what defines Defiance is its genre: fantasy. There is one thing, and one thing alone, which defines a novel as fantasy and that is world-building. Strangely enough though, I still know nothing about the world of Defiance! I read in another review that this was a futuristic realm where man had dug down so deep that they had awoken a beast, The Cursed One, who terrorized the people in this story, but this book could just as easily have been set in a fantasy realm or on another planet for all I know! It was simply very confusing and to add to that, the plot didn’t engage me in the least. It was fast-paced, but I found myself skimming through multiple chapters and I couldn’t feel the desperation of these people at all. It’s a horrible situation for sure, but the villain just made me feel like laughing with his clichéd plans and I really couldn’t summon up much feeling for this story even though I truly wanted to.

Overall, this story just lacked a lot. It lacked world-building, it lacked feeling, it lacked character depth and it now also lacks my stamp of approval. Defiance is a novel I know a lot of people will love and it’s honestly not that bad, but if you’re someone like me who has read fantasy novels on the levels of Melina Marchetta, Meghan Whalen Turner, Kristin Cashore, and Juliet Marillier, I’m afraid that this is going to be one giant bowl of disappointment.

You can read this review and more on my blog, Ivy Book Bindings.
Profile Image for Maja (The Nocturnal Library).
1,013 reviews1,891 followers
December 17, 2012
Well, it seems I can still enjoy dystopian after all! Now, this statement (and my delight) may seem a bit odd to those of you who don’t know me very well, but I was never a big fan of the (sub)genre in the first place, and there are only a handful of dystopian titles that I actually loved. (Tahereh Mafi’s Shatter Me trilogy and Ann Aguirre’s Razorland are the only two that quickly come to mind.) I was more than a little surprised and more than a little thrilled when I was able to add Defiance to this very short list.

The story is equally divided between two points of view, Rachel’s and Logan’s. These characters won me over in a heartbeat. Rachel, our heroine, is a strong, independent, stubborn girl in a society in which girls like her shouldn’t exist. While her peers sat demurely with their mothers or their Protectors and learned embroidery, Rachel was secretly being taught how to survive in the wilderness by her liberal father. Logan is her father’s apprentice, a brilliant young inventor who was orphaned as a boy when his mother dared walk the streets without her Protector and was whipped to death on the town square. As much as Rachel hates living under the Commander’s iron fist, Logan hates it even more because when he looks at their leader, he sees the man who murdered his mother.

When Rachel’s father disappears outside the town limits, where there are no guarantees of safety and a huge monster, the Cursed One, preys on the unprotected, Rachel and Logan will have to go against the Commander to bring him back.

Now that I think about it, the worldbuilding wasn’t nearly as complete as I’d have liked it to be, but in all honesty, I got so caught up in the action and the romance that I completely failed to notice until much, much later. In retrospect, there really should have been more background, more explanations offered. What little there was, however, I liked well enough.

The romance was multilayered and complicated, just the way I like them, and I was feeling things along with Rachel and Logan from the very first page. There were, however, hints of a love triangle in the last part and I fervently hope that C.J. Redwine won’t take that road and that she’ll continue to build the wonderful, honest, warm romance between Rachel and Logan without unnecessary drama.

I need Logan. Not because he could plan our way out of this. But because on some basic, soul-deep level within me, he is the solid ground beneath my feet. The one who will move mountains to keep his promises. The one who looks at me and sees.

Which brings me to Logan himself, (again) and let me tell you, he is one amazing guy. He’s not just Rachel’s love interest, he is a hero in his own right. I love that he’s both a skilled fighter and a brilliant inventor, and that he knows exactly what his goals are and what sacrifices he needs to make to accomplish them.

My hat’s off to you, C.J. Redwine. I can’t wait to see where you’ll take them in the next book.

Profile Image for Giselle.
990 reviews6,365 followers
August 22, 2012
In a futuristic setting with walled-in cities to stave off a monstrous killing machine, Defiance is a mix of dystopian and fantasy that has a very interesting premise, although its characters did leave me feeling kind of uncomfortable, as well as annoyed.

As it started out I began to really like our female lead, Rachel. She was tough and confident, knowing how to take care of herself, unlike other women in this city. As the book progresses, I found she made a lot of impromptu decisions - trying to escape without a strong plan in place for example - which pestered me a little, leaving cracks in the image of an intelligent and wise character I had thought her to be. Still, I didn't downright dislike her as a character, but I never grew to love her either. As for our male lead, Logan, he comes off as a very condescending love interest who acts more like he's highly irritated by Rachel than he's (apparently) falling in love with her. At one point during a rather unpleasant arbitrary conversation where she asks simply "What is that supposed to mean?" -- a phrase that I'm sure you, like myself, use regularly and are quite able to interpret -- his reaction is "Maybe if I enunciate clearly, she'll understand." Then when she doesn't fall for his lines: "Speaking slowly solved absolutely nothing."... This is about where I realized I'd gotten really disturbed by his personality and the fact that he was apparently the love interest we were meant to root for. I never grew to like him one bit, consequently making the romance in this book fall flat for me. Which is a shame because if not for my issues with these characters, this book could have easily blown my mind.

Luckily, the premise still kept me engaged. The slow moving plot in Defiance is actually done attractively and lets you savor the entrancing, yet terrifying world that we're introduced to. The leader of this city is an evil creep who will get under your skin as only a great villain can. Yielding power over this whole town, he's turned it into an old school anti-feminist culture reminiscent of an era way past gone. With a leader that dishes out executions if a woman dares walk through the market alone, the tone of the book is very dreary and distressing. I, myself, am a fan of darker reads so I did enjoy this world building quite a bit. I was also kept fascinated by the idea of a fire breathing beast roaming just outside the walls, giving the book a little fantastical feel. Throughout this story, we're switched between Rachel and Logan's POV, giving us a journey in both views, which is especially appreciated in cases like this where they're in two different situations, fighting for their lives. Once we get in the thick of it, it becomes a highly intense read that has just the right amount of action to keep you on your toes until the end.

Even though I wasn't taken by the characters, I still found Defiance's premise entertaining. There is a lot of bloodshed, and a dim future that makes us doubly curious about book two. I think fans of fantasy may just see themselves lost in this dangerous world.

An advance copy was provided by the publisher for review.

For more of my reviews, visit my blog at Xpresso Reads
Profile Image for Amanda The Book Slayer.
476 reviews150 followers
August 16, 2012
Check out Amanda the Book Slayer

Rating : 1.5 Stars

Recommendation : I really don’t think I can.

The first thing that comes to mind when I think of this book is Cover Lust! Seriously is that not an awesome cover? I mean it oozes Bad*ss and action packed right? I know that is exactly what I thought too. So for the Cover I am going to have to say it won all 5 Marks for getting noticed and wanting to read/buy. Way to go Marketing team!

I wish that I could say that what I found in the pages were up to my expectation of what the cover offered. Sadly, I was led away from the awesomeness by some huge let downs and mumble-jumble of mediocre writing.

I am warning you now that this might not be pretty but it will be honest. Here is my take on Defiance.

Defiant or Deluded? Let’s take a look…

I shall do this review Logan Style.

The Best Case Scenario

I thought that the overall storyline was interesting, at least at the beginning. We have Rachel who is the only daughter of the Commander’s best Tracker. We find out that Rachel’s father has been training her since she was a little girl.

This part got me excited. Yes, I am all about Heroine’s who kick some butt. But I am telling you so many, many things could have been done better. But I will wax poetic about that later.

We also have our Hero, Logan, who comes from a humble background and has risen through the ‘ranks’. I really wanted to like Logan, but his whole ‘run through scenario’s ever minute’ drove me batshit crazy. I don’t think there was a chapter in the book in his POV that we didn’t have to read about at least on possible scenario of outcomes. Sigh, it really was too much for me.

You, as the reader, get to watch Rachel shatter in a million pieces over and over and over again then try to pick them up and move on. Yes, this really doesn’t get any better, well except there are some good quotes that come out of this book. They are few and far between, but at least they seem worth remembering.

Quotes Worth Remembering

“It’s probably my job to tell you life isn’t fair, but I figure you already know that.” His voice is steady, but his eyes look sad. “So instead, I’ll tell you that hope is precious, and you’re right not to give it up.”

“Diplomacy is a lot easier to accomplish if you’ve got your foe on his knees hoping you don’t lop off his head.”

“No one always knows what to do, Rachel. We all just do the best we can with what we’ve got. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it ruins everything.”

“Had answers? I might.” He shrugs. “But they’re answers I had to find for myself. I don’t think they’ll work for anyone else.”

I think that is about all the good parts I have.

The Worst Case Scenario

This, my fellow readers, is where my review will get long and may turn rantish. I apologize but I can’t help it. As I said earlier, the cover and blurb held so much promise but fell short in so many ways for me.

The Whiplash Effect

I really hate when books switch POV’s every chapter. It gives me Reader’s Whiplash. This is not a joke and I am telling you every book like this that I have read has been dubbed with this effect. Major points get deducted. I am more than happy to stay in one person’s POV or have a few glimpses into another person scattered throughout, key word scattered/few/not many. Do I really need to keep going with this one? Damn the rant is starting.

The Scenario Complex

I found this book repetitive as well. The whole scenario complex was just too much. I thought it was neat at the beginning but the same thing every other chapter got old and brought on pain every time Logan’s POV came up. I kid you not it was like Freud’s Pavlov’s Dog theory.

See Logan’s name at the title of the Chapter – instant painful thoughts of his scenario complex. This is not the kind of thing you want to stick out in a book.

Characterization What?

Rachel annoyed me. Logan annoyed me. Melkin was an idiot. The Commander made me want to hurl several times. The only good character was her father but he is in so very little of the book that for that reason alone might be why I liked him the most.

I wasn’t sure if I really believed Rachel and Logan should even be together. Yes, we have a love triangle or at least I think we do. I like at least one person to shine through, but my emotions on this matter ebbed and flowed between Logan and Quinn(who I liked and didn’t like as well). This was not a good thing. Most of the time it just left me feeling awkward. Thus big problems in the depth of characters for me, if you couldn’t tell.

The Drop Zone

I felt like there were many ups & downs with this story and not in a good way. The plot would look like it was gaining speed and getting interesting then plateau or just drop off completely. I was left feeling disappointed and yet again annoyed during the majority of this book.

40% in I was having a hard time getting through. Every 10% got worse.

80% I was just done. It was a complete skim to the end. This is not how I should feel. The middle I can forgive some skimming but I do enjoy being captivated at the end and this one just… did not hold any interest for me.

Crash and Burn Baby

It felt like through the whole book we are ‘suppose’ to be building up to this last battle and then BAM! We get a train wreak instead of Epic Awesomeness or even a decent battle would have done. But no, it just crashed into carelessness and a jumble of thoughts and events.

Overall I was left feeling annoyed and disappointed. I really wanted to love this book, but it just did not happen.

I do have to thank Edelweiss for providing me with a copy of this book for an honest review. This one just wasn’t my cup of tea.
Profile Image for Jodi Meadows.
Author 31 books4,628 followers
August 27, 2012
I tried several times to start this review with something clever or profound, something that would let you know I mean Serious Business about this book. But every time I tried, I ended up with something like OMCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCC!!!!!!!

In case that wasn’t clear enough for you: I love this book.

There were so many things that thrilled me about DEFIANCE, from the characters to the worldbuilding to the gorgeous prose that pulled me so deep into the story I never wanted to leave. DEFIANCE was one of those rare perfect-for-me reads.

The story is told from two points of view, Rachel and Logan, and the story belongs to both of them equally. Both characters have their own plotlines, development, and voices. The last is especially important to me because with the both characters narrating in first person and present tense, keeping up with who’s speaking could get confusing. You never have to worry about that with DEFIANCE. Though every chapter header warns you who’s narrating, it’s almost not necessary. C.J. does an amazing job giving the characters distinctive voices and styles.

The title, too, plays an important role in the story. Both Rachel and Logan are defiance personified. They refuse to let anything stop them from achieving their goals. No matter what obstacles are thrown in their paths — and terrible things do happen — they never give up. And I love that.

Regarding the worldbuilding, I think most of you know how much I admire a good genre mash. DEFIANCE is set in a post-apocalyptic world. The city-state of Baalboden is a terrible dystopia. Logan invents brilliant pieces of tech that might be found in a science fiction novel. And the things that caused the apocalypse and still threatens the world today? DRAGONS. Add some romance to that — and a few delicious almost-kissing scenes — and you’ve got a book with all my favorite genres perfectly blended together.

For anyone looking for a deep and exciting read that stretches beyond the typical boundaries of genre, DEFIANCE is for you.
Profile Image for Lindsay Cummings.
Author 16 books5,126 followers
June 4, 2012
finished it! this book....sigh. I love it. love, love LOVE it. Rachel is so tough, but she has pain in her that fuels her on. Logan- sexy. That's all I'm going to say about him, because what girl DOESN'T want a sexy inventor boy who can fight? It's chilling, has amazing characters, and the story is fresh and unique to what's out there right now. I LOVED IT.

I read through it pretty quick, despite the fact that I'm knee-deep in edits, and I can't wait to buy a finished copy!

Congrats, CJ. You're a lovely storyteller!
Profile Image for Ash.
382 reviews39 followers
December 31, 2015
I found this intriguing enough to continue on in the series, but I didn't really feel like this first book in the series was all that amazing. It took forever to read, and nothing truly exciting enough to draw me in happened.

I liked the main characters, and some of the things that happened to them made me sad. I liked how it drew them closer though. I am excited to continue on in this series sometime down the road. Probably sooner, rather than later.

come find me:
IG: ash.reads Twitter: @ReadsAsh
Profile Image for Wendy Darling.
1,571 reviews33.9k followers
March 4, 2013
2.5 stars This was...fine. But felt like an urban fantasy set in a fantasy/dystopian world, and I didn't really care that much about the characters.

I did like the way some of the action scenes were written, and the was genuinely shocking. It was the only time I felt emotion while reading this, though.
Profile Image for Reynje.
272 reviews962 followers
December 13, 2012
1.5 stars

Well, T.I.A. 1

It’s been a while since I’ve found it such a struggle to finish a book. I’m not going to sugarcoat this, I wouldn’t have reached the end of Defiance without resorting to pep-talks, a bit of page-skimming and outright bribery. ”You can do it! Finish this chapter and then you can eat all the chocolate in the house!”

Is anyone able to clear something up for me? Does Defiance take place in the future of our world, or an alternate world? Because if it’s ours, and Redwine is suggesting that the modern world was destroyed by fire-breathing reptiles and within fifty years surviving mankind has returned to swords and “Cursed Ones”, I have a hard time swallowing that. And it’s not even the burrowing, wingless dragons I take issue with – if you want to get all Tremors on your fictional word, by all means go ahead 2 . But the thin allusion to a world of advanced technology that is completely obliterated within five decades and replaced with a system of self-styled warlords and walled cities is too flimsy for me to buy into.

Further, Baalboden – the city where our main characters reside – and possibly the greater population, has adopted a strict social system in which women are under the direct care and authority of a male Protector. They are not educated except in housekeeping and entertaining skills, are not permitted to leave their homes unchaperoned and are “Claimed” or married off in a transactional ceremony in which they have little to no agency. Okay, fine. But why? Explain it to me. Show me why the world is this way. This is a poorly built world and it felt illogical too me – there are too many holes in the reasoning, or rather, no reasoning at all.

And much of the novel is like this. Redwine has good ideas, but little follow through. Logan, the orphaned protégé of Rachel’s father, is ostensibly an apprenticed Courier. But really, he’s a sekrit “inventor”. We know this because Logan has lots of plans lying about and ink-stained fingers and does a lot of tinkering around with gears and wires. Yet there’s nothing to substantiate Logan’s alleged genius. Sure, if comes in handy when they need tracking devices and or some MacGyver-style explosions, but besides vague references to sonar and acid, it all just seems more convenient than believable. There’s an attempt to distinguish Logan’s voice as pragmatic by detailing his assessments of “best case scenarios” and “worst case scenarios” as he narrates, but this is more annoying than particularly character building.

The romance is probably the most developed element of the story, and it’s constantly in the background of the plot, yet it was also the undoing of this novel for me. The slow burn between the characters was somewhat spoiled by the way it was overwritten. “Until the distance between us can be measured in breaths” is fair enough once, say it twice and I’m just going to roll my eyes. Logan and Rachel vacillate between irritation and attraction to each other, and we’re treated to numerous scenes of catching breath and heated exchanges and lingering touches, all described in fulsome, detailed prose.

This was my biggest problem with the novel: the writing. It’s bloated with unnecessary description, phrases that are overly “pretty”. And so many “something’s”. “Something like bitterness”, “something like hope” etc are used constantly to describe the manifestation of emotion. Just say what it is! Direct statements are avoided by dancing around them with purplish musing, and the pacing of the story suffers for it. I can only describe the writing as gluggy: my brain my kept getting bogged down in Logan and Rachel’s angsting, and getting through pages began to feel like a chore.

Anyway, Rachel and Logan are separated, eventually reunited, do some travelling, make some friends with “tree people” (I’m not going to start on it here, but so much about the characterisation of Quinn and Willow made me uncomfortable), Rachel becomes a vengeful BAMF – or Redwine tries to convince us that she does – there’s some kissing, and then there’s some Pied Piper of Baalboden action 3 . There a nice, big, sign-posted moment of FORESHADOWING about Logan’s past. Logan doesn’t like the way Tree Person Quinn is looking at Rachel (of course) and a shit-tonne of people die, but no doubt our intrepid couple will be back in the sequel to fight the power and wave their weapons around.

Or something like that. And good luck to them, but I’m done here.

[1] Tamara, ILY!
[2] See: Blood Red Road by Moira Young
[3] Which had the unfortunate side effect of making me dredge Sisqo’s Unleash the Dragon up from the recesses of my brain. You’re welcome.
Profile Image for TL .
1,818 reviews35 followers
September 5, 2015
Surprisingly excellent :)

Loved Rachel, Oliver,and Logan... a close knit family (even if not by blood). The closeness of them had a smile on my face, especially the moments between Rachel and Oliver.

Her father Jared (who has disappeared ) we don't get much screen time with but we get a good sense of him through the other's memories. An honorable man.

The commander... a good villain but oooooh! I volunteer to kick him on the balls! Haha... snake of a man with no conscience.

Living under the rule of that man *shudders * I'm not sure if I would survive in the wasteland but not sure how I would do in the wasteland either.

The world building wasn't very in depth but you get enough to get a sense of the history of it all for the moment. Still plenty of questions, but it never pulled me out of the story.

The Cursed One is intriguing and scary... definitely wouldn't want to run into it in a dark alley. Its presence didn't feel as menacing as it could have been so I couldn't 100% feel the fear the citizens did.

The final battle of the book was well done, the well said phrase of "I couldn't turn the pages fast enough " applies... the next book is set up nicely but little disappointed a certain something didn't happen to a certain someone *pouts*

Would recommend:)

Profile Image for Jessie  (Ageless Pages Reviews).
1,695 reviews874 followers
November 8, 2015
Read This Review & More Like It On My Blog!

3.5 out of 5

There's a lot going on in those three-hundred-odd pages, the first-of-a-new-series by author C.J. Redwine. Defiance boasts a mix of several genres and subgenres, two decently flawed and interesting narrators and protagonists, and one of them a strongish female main character, as well as plenty of action and adventure to lure in readers and keep them invested. Like my other 3.5/5 ratings, I want to stress that I really enjoyed this, particularly after the rough beginning, but just thought it could have been better with a little time and finesse. As it is, there's a lot to enjoy about this easily read, fast-engrossing young-adult novel. Uneven pacing, character issues aside, I am pretty impressed with C.J. Redwine's debut novel, and think it will find a wide audience. Defiance, at its best, is an inventive, creative and unpredictable novel, and for me, that was enough to merit an somewhat enthusiastic review.

The setting of tyrant-controlled Baalboden and the destroyed world Rachel and Logan live in is both a strength and a weakness for Defiance. The interesting mix of fantasy with flightless dragons (or "the Cursed One") and the post-apocalyptic clues/vocabulary ("periodic table" "algorithms" "Pythagorean theorem") make this world seem like it's possible version of the real world rather than a pure-fantasy imaginary land. But sadly not enough detail or worldbuilding is provided to for readers to form a clear, believable picture of what lead to this apocalyptic scenario or the picture the current conditions that the characters live in. What we do know about it/Baalboden/the world before the Cursed One comes early in the novel, and then bare lip-service is paid to creating a plausible current situation as much more time and attention is given to Rachel and Logan's struggles against the Commander and their alternating inner monologues. This is a first in a series so I am sure more detail and concrete answers are on the way, but the omission and neglect of information often got in the way of my truly being involved in the story.

Much like the setting, Rachel is both a credit to and a flaw for Defiance. (It doesn't help that her "voice" and that of Logan's can read almost interchangeably for the majority of the novel.) She's presented as a strong, headstrong girl in a misogynistic, patriarchal world that misuses and mistreats its women so it's obviously very easy to root for her, but she's also careless, self-absorbed, and stubborn beyond belief. The respective backstories for both her and Logan are delivered somewhat clumsily in infodumpy dialogue, but Redwine outgrows that early on and it doesn't overshadow the the narrative for too long. I like flawed characters, I appreciate them much more than a perfect protagonist with no life or vivacity, but Rachel can sometimes be very frustrating to read because she is so determined to make her own way without telling anyone or trusting her family.

It's also frustrating for me that Rachel is literally the only girl in her walled city-state that can defend herself - it can make her bloodthirsty and dangerous personality look a bit inorganic for the novel and its setting. Surely Jared can't be the only parent who wants his daughter to able to defend herself in a world where a woman can be flogged to death for going outside without her "Protector"? That quibble aside, Rachel does eventually grow up and change for the better throughout the novel, so it's impossible to call her a one-dimensional character or even stagnant. I have high hopes for this character and her further characterization in the future books, as well as for fellow females Willow and Sylph to grow into more than just cardboard cutouts.

A strong-ish female protagonist, an interesting mix of fantasy and tech, dystopia and post-apocalyptic scenarios all make for a unique novel in the vein of The Hunger Games, etc. Fans who aren't too picky about their worldbuilding and detail with find much to enjoy here, especially those who enjoy bittersweet teenaged romance. The beginning is the roughest part to enjoy and get into, but once things start to gel together, it's easy to get lost in the story at the heart of the novel.
Profile Image for Sandes gii.
125 reviews31 followers
January 29, 2015

hace rato necesitaba un libro que tuviera todo:
- chica valiente y luchadora
-chico sexy e indiferente
- romance y rechazo
- pelea, luchas, batallas
- y mucha sangre

me agrado de principio a fin porque tiene todo lo que antes dije y me parecio interesante la historia. Me gusto mucho la química de Logan y Rachel, (a Logan me lo imagine como Logan Lerman aunque no tiene nada que ver).
Me gusto mucho como se describe el paisaje y el tiempo en que esta. Es uno de mis libros preferidos y se los recomiendo.
Profile Image for Giselle.
1,057 reviews906 followers
April 12, 2016
An unsolicited Advanced Reader Copy was provided by the publisher for review. Quotes have been pulled from an ARC and may be subject to change.

Rachel Adams lives in a city called Balboden where the women are meant to be obedient and docile (Yikes! This screams at the feminist in me.), and the men can freely take what they want. Balboden and its citizens are all under the rule of the tyrant Commander Jason. Rachel lives with her father Jared the city's best tracker and courier, and her father's apprentice Logan. Once her father doesn't come back from one of his jobs, Rachel recruits Logan to help her find him, and together they unravel the secret of the Commander's power over the Chosen One.

The history of how Balboden came to be was rather deficient in details and being the curious person that I am wanted more information. What are these monsters? Why does the commander have control over it? Why is he so power hungry and evil? So many questions, such little time. I love the world building that Redwine has set up. The time period I can only guess is in the future where the renaissance period meets technology? There are certain forms of techy goodness that Logan invents so that's my guess. The Chosen One seems rather menacing, and I doubted that there wasn't a way to kill it. Everything living must have a vulnerability. The pacing fell a little short for me. It would pick up, then slow right down, so I did have trouble reading it in one sitting.

I just have to say how much I enjoy main characters who are intelligent and deadly at the same time. Both Rachel and Logan are strong and able to literally kick some ass. I can't help but admire Rachel's stubbornness and tenacity that her father is alive. Yet she also has such a vulnerable innocence when it comes to her love for Logan. She has the inability to act first, and think later which later leads her into a lot of trouble. But what kind of character would she be, if she didn't make any mistakes? Probably a boring one. Logan on the other hand, is one great male lead. His past has truly shaped his future; it has changed what kind of man he has come to be. The man's a genius and a humble one too. He loves Rachel, and will only honor Jared until his he is found safe. That showed an incredible amount of loyalty and integrity on his part. I also enjoyed how his lust consumed his logical reasoning and was rather amused at how Rachel affected him as a man. Sometimes reading from a male's point of view just makes me laugh. Poor guy.

I love a good romance now and then, and usually there are books that make me nauseous. Yet Redwine's writing isn't as cheesy as most. There's chemistry within the characters, and the heat between the two is almost tangible. Some parts would make me roll my eyes, but it was still done very well. There's a push and pull of unbelievable magnetic attraction and I couldn't help but smile when reading those parts.

Defiance lived up to the hype, and who wouldn't want to read about a fiery redhead who wants nothing better than to take down the tyrant that is making everyone's lives a living hell? C.J. Redwine definitely delivers, and I can't wait until the sequel.


"I learned that true family is found in those who choose you. Wealth has nothing to do with it."

"All that matters to me in the world is somewhere down in Lower Market."

"You're worth so much more than anything I can give you. If you can't believe that right now, believe in me."

"The love consuming me now is fierce and absolute—forged in a crucible of loss and united by our shared strength."

"I love how you still think if you tell me to do something, I'll just check my brain at the door and do it."

"He looks at you like he'd like to dip you in sugar and eat you up."
Profile Image for Danielle (Love at First Page).
726 reviews621 followers
August 6, 2015
3.5-4 stars

The Defiance series by C.J. Redwine is one I've been meaning to read for a while. Dystopian books can be hit or miss, but I kept hearing good things about the story and characters. One thing I wasn't prepared for, though, is how dark and gritty these books actually get. The author is not afraid to make her characters experience pain, suffering, and heartbreak; she pushes Rachel and Logan past their limits and there were times I could hardly stand to read it. Themes of revenge, justice, grief, and guilt are explored in detail, and the characters are tested emotionally and physically in ways I hope never to experience.

Read the full series review here.
Profile Image for Jasprit.
527 reviews747 followers
September 28, 2012
Defiance was a book that was on my priority to acquire list ever since I first came across it earlier this year. The gorgeous cover and enticing premise instantly captured my attention. I’ve had certain issues with paranormal books where they just haven’t appealed to me, but I had a feeling Defiance would be different and different it certainly was.

The city of Baalboden is under the regime of the Commander and his brute squad. Whatever he says goes, if you step out of line or one of his guards catches you there are always consequences. Rachel finds her back against the wall as soon as her father is declared dead, he went to the wasteland and never returned, and now that it has been 90 days and there is still no sign of him it is up to the Commander to officially declare him dead. But Rachel still hasn’t given up hope. She decides to make it past the Commander and his guards to the wasteland. But the Commander has something up his sleeve, no matter how hard Rachel and her deemed Protector Logan try he always seems one step ahead. He arranges a deal with Rachel which she has to see through otherwise all those closest to her, lives may be at risk.

I’ve been having quite a bit of luck recently with strong independent female main characters and Rachel ends up being another great female character that I can add to this list. At first she did jump into situations without thinking things through consequently putting other people’s lives on the line. But you still have to remember that she is only 16 years old. As the story progressed she grew on me a lot more, I liked the character that emerged, she was still head strong, but there was a fierceness about her which I admired. My original assumptions about her as a selfish 16 year old flew straight out of the window as she matured rapidly.

I liked how Redwine made Defiance a dual pov book, Rachel was an interesting character, but I loved getting into Logan’s head too! He was one of the sweetest gentlemen, I loved how meticulous he was with everything he did; planning, checking and triple checking things, how he put his body on the line for those closest to him, I think he definitely made it to my favourite literary crushes. I hope in the next book we learn a lot more about his back story, he certainly had a shady past, which I’d like to delve a lot deeper into.

The Commander was a right piece of work; he was a character which had a constant buzz around him, as he always had something up his sleeve which would have me stunned or so worked up that I just wanted to punch him. He’s definitely a character you love to hate; I can’t wait to see what he has in store for us next.

Defiance is a brilliant debut novel from Redwine, its pace and endless surprises will be sure to keep you captivated. Logan and Rachel were two characters that brought so much, that it was hard not to form a close relationship with both. I honestly can’t wait to read what Redwine has planned next for these fantastic set of characters.

Final Verdict
Best case scenario; you read this book and fall madly in love like I did.
Worst case scenario; you decide to not read this book and miss out on one of the best debuts this year.

This review and more can be found on The Readers Den
Profile Image for Eunice.
255 reviews527 followers
July 24, 2012
Defiance is one of the books I've been highly anticipating to read this year. So you can just imagine how ecstatic I was when I got approved for an ARC of it, I almost started jumping up and down like a three-year old kid. And I'm more than happy to find out and tell you that this book really did not disappoint. It wasn't flawless but it was certainly good. The plot, twist and character blend it effectively to make a really interesting, thrilling and gripping action-packed story.

I love heroines who fights and knows her ways when it comes to weapons. And Rachel was absolutely like that. She was a strong-willed, confident and impressive character. However I thought she was a bit frustrating, narrow-minded and childish during the earlier parts. Which caused me to have a hard time liking her right away. Fortunately, she didn't stay that long and her character developed remarkably fast and good. And soon, I found myself warming into her and loving her kick-ass personality.

Logan wasn't what I was actually expecting. I was expecting the bad boy type but he was actually more of the nice guy. Still he easily took a place in my heart with his really caring but also strong personality. His most notable quality was that he fights with his brain too. His brain was his most effective weapon and he did prove it a lot of times in the story.

I love how these two developed and grew through the unexpected situations they were thrown into and discovered new things about their selves. C.J. Redwine really did an amazing job in showing the significance of each of Rachel and Logan's roles in the story and showing each of their journeys through their own povs. Both were made to be the main characters equally.

The world-building was great though I wouldn't say it was completely original. Still it offered things that were really intriguing, entertaining and refreshing. My only problem was that I got really confused whether I'm reading a dystopia or a steampunk. Did I went to the future or went back to the past? The setting gave off the overall feel of a historical period but the constant reminders of the developed civilization before the Cursed Ones arrived kept me thinking that this was indeed a dytopia novel.

The romance, although during the first parts felt a bit awkward for me soon turned out to be a really sweet one. The development of their relationship felt natural and genuine. And I just love how the realizations of their feelings came to them.

The plot was great and action-packed, the twist were thrilling and exciting and the characters were all remarkable and amazing. It wasn't perfect but still it provides a great and wonderful reading experience for me. I recommend this.

*Thanks to Edelweiss and Balzer + Bray for providing an ARC of this book!

This review is also posted at Book Overdose
Profile Image for Lili.
452 reviews49 followers
August 28, 2012
4.5 stars

Baalboden is a walled in city that thrives under the command of Commander Chase and fears The Cursed One that resides underground in the Wasteland. Here, the women must be given a Protector at age sixteen. They cannot leave their home without said escort and when they turn seventeen, a man will court them and they will become a wife. Such a thing is necessary to the survival of a colony of people that do not leave the walls. One of the few people that is able to leave the walls is courier Jared Adams, Rachel’s father, and he never returned from his last mission…

DEFIANCE is a book that I had trouble putting down. It’s very easy to slip into the Baalboden dystopia because you truly feel for the characters. Rachel is a strong heroine. At such a young age, she does her own thing and will not allow herself to behave and look to men to save her. Jared raised her with the knowledge of self-defense and instructions that she can always be independent. With her fiery red hair, skin-tight pants instead of skirts, and billowing black cloak, she is a force to be reckoned with. (Just look at that amazing cover and you’ll see how kickass Rachel’s character truly is).

Logan McEntire sees too much of his mother in Rachel. When he was a young boy, his mother was lashed to death for breaking the law and wandering into the market without a Protector. He simply cannot let Rachel meet the same end. A brilliant inventor and big-hearted protector, Logan cannot allow Rachel to know his true feelings for her because Jared was so willing to help him after his mother’s death and he didn’t want to bite the hand that fed him. Thus, he gently let her down when she once admitted to being in love with him. Their relationship had never been the same, but Logan will stop at nothing to protect her now that she is in his custody. He cannot fail, especially because everyone expects him to.

Together, the two of them will take you on a survivalist’s journey of a lifetime, all while evil Commander Chase breathes down their neck. The Commander’s evil tendencies oozed off the pages and filled you with rage. While he is a man that nobody can respect, his characterization was spot-on and he is one villain that’ll make your shiver whenever he makes an appearance.

Redwine expertly created her characters and the world surrounding them, making their journey easy to follow and completely unforgettable. The romance was believable and you watched both characters slowly mend themselves before they realized that they are capable of loving each other, even with Jared’s disappearance.

A must read for any young adult reader, this is a debut to look forward to in 2012. With an ending that you’ll never see coming, you’ll practically be begging for the sequel. Redwine exploded onto the young adult writing scene with a story unlike any other.
Profile Image for Lauren (Sugar & Snark).
312 reviews119 followers
October 3, 2012
This book is set in a world where civilization has been destroyed by creatures that live beneath the earth’s surface that were awoken by people drilling for a new source of renewable fuel?? Once these creature were awake they were apparently really offended by all the noise being made on the earth’s surface they decided to exterminate everyone.

50 years later the remaining people on earth live in walled cities surrounded by wastelands, and the biggest change in society is that women are no longer independent but subservient and have to be constantly chaperoned by male protectors.

So here is my problem. SERIOUSLY! Underground dwelling creatures with sensitive ears? Come on! If that is how civilization ends I hope I die in the first wave because what a lame way to go! And why would women need to be constantly chaperoned by men? The part of the book that I read never said what exactly they were being protected from, but surly (even if men are going to be really sexist) they have better thing to do(considering civilization is in ruins) than escort women everywhere they need to go.

And if you were going to change society to deal with disgruntled creatures with sensitive ears, wouldn’t banning loud noises and making sure people only communicate in sign language make far more sense than oppressing women?

This dystopia society really made no sense at all and Redwines world building was incredibly one dimensional at best. And her writing I SO melodramatic! Rachel the main character is the epitome of this over blown writing style. She is supposed to be a rebellious, independent bad ass but to me she just comes off as whiney, reckless and too stupid to know when to shut up.

Maybe this book gets better and somehow becomes awesome but I was not willing to waste my time reading the rest of it on the off chance that it might improve.
Profile Image for Acordul Fin.
475 reviews166 followers
June 16, 2019
“I'm no longer a daughter.
No longer a granddaughter.
No longer a girl with dreams. With hope.
I'm a weapon, now.”
I hate this book with the heat of a thousand suns!

The "post-apocalyptic" setting was one of the most ridiculous settings I've ever come across:

> The "city" of Baalboden was a glorified fortified village.
> We have not idea who are the Rowansmarks exactly and why they are building weapons to obliterate other communities starting with Baalboden.
> No idea what the heck is "The Cursed One". Why can't they just blow it up?
> The villain is so over the top evil that it's ridiculous. He's just evil to be evil. And when they plan on taking him down by using the THING that almost annihilated human kind? What in the world was that?

Rachel and Logan were the most insipid, irritating protagonists. I'd lock them in a dungeon and throw away the key. I've stumbled upon horrible characters before, but in combination with such a wishy-washy setting? Never.

The whole book was a mess. It felt like the author had a checklist of things that sounded good to her and just threw them in the blender:

> one "badass" & hot redhead (who's actually a total nitwit)
> one handsome manly man treating her like property
> one for-no-reason-whatsoever misogynistic society
> nauseating declarations of love and make up sessions in inappropriate circumstances
> one good for nothing villain
> one crazy monster thingy that spits fire
> a bit of quarrel between "cities" and a mystery device to advance the plot
> Tree people???!!!
> a few deaths to jerk a few tears
> long, boring journey
> dungeon
> explosions
> tracking devices
> cloaks
> torches
> horses
> Wasteland?!!!
> senseless revenge plan
> more declarations of love

What a waste of time.
Profile Image for Sylvia .
431 reviews116 followers
March 24, 2015
Can I say that this book really surprised me in such a good way. I had no expectations going in except knowing that those who have read it really enjoyed it. And, enjoyed it I did. This book captivated me from start to finish.

Set amongst the backdrop of a new world, forged out of the death and destruction of the old, Redwine created a civilisation reminiscent of medieval times but set in the future, hence why the women in the story were treated like second class citizens and men as their protectors. But, this didn't stop our antagonist, our heroine, Rachel. Deathly fierce, exceptionally brave, head-strong, independent and feisty, pretty much not your average girl. Her character is one that is definitely a force to be reckoned with and the only one that can reel her in, but not stop her, is of course, Logan. Her father's apprentice, her Protector, her tech-head, her heart and her soul, Logan is just as determined as Rachel to stop at nothing to always be there for her, and keep her out of harms way. Including going up against the brutal Commander, who is the leader of their walled in town of Baalboden. Such a cruel and disgusting excuse for a leader, the Commander lives on fear-mongering and thrives on abusing his power to get what he wants no matter what the cost to human life is. He is the reason for so much suffering within the walls and why he needs to be brought down.

Revenge and redemption take front in this story full of suspense and told by both Rachel and Logan, Defiance is one of those books that will ensure you keep turning the pages, because you really can't stop and beg you to come back for more…I know that I can't wait to continue on with this series, and can't wait to see what's install for both Rachel and Logan.
Profile Image for Jasmine.
250 reviews330 followers
January 11, 2013
Doesn’t that cover look awesome? It’s all Celtic and badass, and look at that red-head! She looks like a woman just about to go to war.
This is the cover of Defiance, A book that promises fights, wars, and a sizzling romance and – like I’ve said – a red-head ready to fight to the death.

Defiance breaks all those promises.

At the beginning of the novel, the plot was interesting enough. But as it continued, it fell apart and floated in the wind. It fell apart so much, that I honestly don’t know what genre it is. At times, it’s a fantasy. Others, historical fiction, or dystopian or even modern day.

The characters were possibly the worst people I have ever read about.
Rachel – the warrior red-head we see on the front cover - is a Marie Sue. She whines, she cries, she’s as interesting as a potato, and changes her personality constantly. At first, she hated even looking at Logan and the next they're kissing for hours and saying, “I love you Logan” and he would reply, "I love you too, Rachel" the whole damn time. I swear, it happened in every chapter.
Rachel never thinks anything through. At all. She can't think for two minutes and wonder if what she's doing is right. This makes me question her judgement, her wisdom, and her IQ.
Another point about Rachel’s stupidity: At some point, Rachel says something along the lines of, “Willow said I’m only doing this for revenge. She’s wrong. I’m doing it for redemption. Revenge just has to come first.”
Ahhh. So Willow was right after all.

This might fool people into believing that Rachel is strong or whatever, but the truth is; this just shows how stupid she is. She says it’s not revenge, then admits that it is revenge. It’s like saying, “Oh, I love you but I don’t love you.”
So I have just killed two birds with one stone: I’ve shown you why Rachel and Love Triangles are stupid. Your welcome.

Logan was awful. He was annoying, mean and just plain abusive towards Rachel.
From this point onwards, I was practically terrified for Rachel’s safety:
“…and then I'm going to lock her in my loft for as long as it takes.”
...I see. You want to put her in your attic. Nothing screams "I love you!!!!" like locking your the one you love into an attic.

Now, we go on to a topic that actually makes me sick. A reviewer I follow – Blythe – did a review of Defiance as well and wrote down a quote from the book. I actually didn’t remember this until she wrote it out on her review. I must have skimmed it. Trust me, if I didn’t skim, I would have defiantly remembered this quote (said by Logan):

“…she just dropped her skirt to the ground and started up the ladder in a pair of skintight pants. Fury overtakes my panic and fuels me. If a guard see her dressed like that, he won't hesitate to take what she's freely offering.”

*cue gasps of horror*

She’s asking for rape?
She’s asking for rape?!
Are you kidding me. ARE YOU KIDDING ME??!! Freely offering?! Since when did anyone 'freely offer' rape?!
I can't. I can't go on about this. It's just going to make me swear and then I'll start saying stuff I really shouldn't say.

So, yeah. Defiance wasn't enjoyment. In fact, it's just raised my blood pressure. Now excuse me. I'm going to throw this HARDBACK in the bin.
Profile Image for Nafiza.
Author 6 books1,207 followers
October 25, 2015
I’d like to start this review by saying that I loved this novel to bits. Well, okay, not to bits because I have no idea what bits have to do with loving. Or what the bits of a novel are or where that particular phrase comes from. Let me start again.

Defiance proved to be everything I look for in a novel that I read for entertainment. This is not to say that it is perfect and flawless but when you like something despite its flaws, I reckon it’s a good thing. A very very good thing. For me anyway.

I expected Defiance to be straight up fantasy but it surprised me (tricked me!) by having dystopian elements, er, dystoapocalyptic elements to its setting. The settlement in which the story takes place for the larger portion of the narrative came into existence after some grand destructive event tore apart the existing civilization of days long past. Oh and as is more than insanely common to these dystopian novels, the status of women in this new civilization lies somewhere between roadkill and a precious jewel locked up in a vault. (I’m getting remarkably tired of this particular trope if you can’t tell.)

Defiance succeeds for me in its characterizations. Usually character development, while being important, does not constitute as the sole element that determines the success of the novel. But in this case, Redwine’s characters are so compelling and so intriguing, moving beyond the limits of the pages to occupy tangible space in your brain, that you cannot help but read their story and accompany them in their destiny determining journey. As a rule, I dislike novels where the chapters are narrated in alternating perspectives. I find them jarring and disruptive to the rhythm of the novel. Surprisingly though, this was not the case in Defiance. Perhaps it was because the way the novel was written or perhaps it was the way each chapter was constructed but whatever it was, I was never frustrated by perspective change. Logan’s voice was just as engaging as Rachel’s and it was both their voices coming together to create the cohesive story that is Defiance.

Let me take a moment to appreciate the title. It so succinctly describes the entire novel without giving anything away. The villain is not a grey villain, his motivations are not revealed to us, and he doesn’t have a backstory or anything that makes him remotely human. He is black in and out and you know what? I’m fine with that. I am fine with hating him as passionately as the novel calls for because had Redwine taken the modernist approach and given us a Loki, I don’t think I would have enjoyed the book as much as I did.

Rachel’s emotions are superbly expressed. Her wit and spunk are juxtaposed with heartbreaking vulnerability and immaturity. Her grief and the expression of it is realistic without resorting to unnecessary pathos. She is a flawed character and they are the best kinds. Her unraveling is convincing and I can’t wait to see how she develops in the next few books. The romance is heartwarming and while there is no overt love triangle throughout the novel, the beginnings of a very intriguing one begin to coalesce at the end.

So let’s see, complex characters facing complex conflicts, a rapid pace and a satisfying plot. Sweet romance that does not take over the primary narrative and a satisfactory conclusion (that whets the appetite for the next book in the series). This book has it all. For a debut, it’s remarkable. Strongly recommended.
Profile Image for aqsa.
667 reviews141 followers
April 17, 2018


Haven't read anything so strong, powerful and equally emotional in a long time.
The plot, the story, the characters, everything, was so powerful, it seeped into me, my brain, my mind and made me wept. I haven't cried since finishing Daughter of Smoke and Bone a couple of months back.(':
I LOVE Logan and Rachel. I can't wait to see what happens in Deception.

All I want to do to this book is:

Maybe I am already doing this in bed. But thats for me to know.




Excerpt of Defiance by C.J. Redwine:

"She grins and yanks her weapon free. “For someone who spends his days hunched over boring old papers, you sure know how to create a nice killing stick.”
Time to teach her who she’s dealing with. “I didn’t grow up in South Edge without learning a trick or two,” I say as I pick up Jared’s Switch. “Sheath your blade. We’ll count a solid touch from the blade end as a strike.”
She sends her blade back into its hiding place, widens her stance, and rolls to the balls of her feet. I walk toward her, the resolve I feel to protect her blazing into something hard and bright in the face of her courage.
“I spend my days hunched over boring old papers, do I?” My stick whistles through the air, and she leaps back to dodge the blow. Spinning, I tap her with the sheathed blade before she can raise her arms in defense.
“My point,” I say and don’t bother hiding my smirk.
She circles me. “Lucky shot.”
I lash out again, but she’s ready. Blocking me with the middle of her Switch, she whirls beneath my outstretched arms and slams the weighted end into my thigh.
Pride keeps me from swearing at the pain. Instead, I sweep her feet out from under her. She flips in midair and rolls forward as she lands, coming up with her stick ready.
The controlled grace of her movements would make Jared proud. I decide the warm emotion sweeping through me must be pride too.
“You’re quick. That’s good,” I say, advancing toward her.
“You’re not bad for a tech head.”
We block, parry, and break apart. She’s strong and quick, but I worry she doesn’t know how to anticipate the unexpected. I step back, inviting an attack, and she charges forward, swinging the weighted end of her stick like a butcher slicing the head from a sheep. I wait until the last second, then drop to the ground and ram her with my shoulder. Her forward momentum carries her over the top of me and she lands face first onto the grass.
She spits dry blades of grass from her mouth, and swears, but a new respect for me is in her eyes.
I laugh, and my fear for her eases into something I can use to focus on planning. She stares at me, a tiny smile flitting across her lips, and the affection on her face makes me feel like the richest man in the world.
“I was a fighter long before I was a tech head.” I offer her a hand up. “You need to be ready for an opponent who does the unexpected.”
She takes my outstretched hand, closing her soft fingers over mine without breaking my gaze. The sun blazes a golden path through her fiery hair, and my eyes slide over her pale skin and come to rest on her lips. Warmth pools in my stomach and spreads lazily through me as I tug her hand and pull her closer.
I’m not going to kiss her. That would be … I don’t know what that would be. I can’t seem to think straight. All I see is Rachel, filling up my empty spaces and making me into more than I ever could be on my own.
Maybe this is what family does for each other. She’s my family now. Which is why, even as I lean toward her, unable to tear my gaze away from the softness of her mouth, I tell myself I’m not going to kiss her.
She steps toward me, face upturned. I lean in.
Behind us, someone clears his throat."

I officially hate the person who came up behind them. HATE THEM. :'P
Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,640 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.