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Defiant (Towers Trilogy, #2)
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(Towers Trilogy #2)

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  381 ratings  ·  56 reviews
Once, Xhea’s wants were simple: enough to eat, safety in the underground, and the hit of bright payment to transform her gray-cast world into color. But in the aftermath of her rescue of the Radiant ghost Shai, she realizes the life she had known is gone forever.

In the two months since her fall from the City, Xhea has hidden in skyscraper Edren, sheltered and attempting to
Paperback, 400 pages
Published May 12th 2015 by Talos (first published May 5th 2015)
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Average rating 4.02  · 
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Sarah Elizabeth
(I received an advance copy of this book for free. Thanks to Perseus/PGW/Legato and Edelweiss.)

“Bright dreams had the hardest edges, she knew; they cut too deep when they shattered.”

This was a YA dystopian/fantasy story, which continued on from the previous book in the series.

I felt quite sorry for Xhea in this, the way she had injured her knee and was no longer able to walk properly was quite sad, and I understood her frustration that it wasn’t healing properly.

The storyline in this
Mogsy (MMOGC)
4 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

This series definitely deserves to be getting more attention. Karina Sumner-Smith’s debut novel Radiant was one of the most unique speculative fiction titles I read in 2014, and it’s so good to see that its follow-up Defiant is still pushing genre boundaries and keeping things exciting.

Two months have passed since the events at the end of the last book, and we catch up with Xhea as she attempts to heal from the chaotic aft
2nd re-read

I think I liked this story more this time around. Maybe because this time I read it as a stand alone, which stopped me from feeling that as an adventure, it lost that non stop rhythm that characterized the first book.
Shai and Xhea continue to be favourite characters. I love their friendship.
As for the writing style, I am pretty much a fan.

April 6th 2015

3.5 stars

Arc provided by Talos Publishing through Edelweiss

Release Date: May 5th

Because Radiant was my favourite book back in 2
Very enjoyable continuation, but I'm on the fence about aspects here. When it comes to the worldbuilding and the magic, between the towers of magic, what they're made of and what they're doing to the rest of the world around them, I'm in full-on love mode.

When it comes to the main characters, I'm totally onboard, a Radiant ghost and her best friend the soul-sucking death monster who are just trying to stay alive amid assassins, economics, and outright war between the clans of towers.

The only th
Oct 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This continues to be an impressive series, and this second book is just as good as the first. Another one for my favourites 2016 shelf.
Jan 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
An excellent followup to Radiant; perhaps even improving on it.

Xhea is recovering from the injuries she sustained during the first book, but her recovery isn't going very well and she may be permanently crippled. That may not be too much of a concern, because her future is in doubt anyway. Her presence, or more precisely, the presence of the Radiant ghost Shai, is filling up the magic stores of the skyscraper she has taken shelter in, which in turn is destabilizing the delicate balance of power
Actual Rating: 3.25 out of 5

With her debut novel Radiant, Karina Sumner-Smith introduced readers to a frightening beautiful world of magic-rich Towers, a crumbling Lower City, ghosts, nightwalkers, and an unlikely friendship between the living and the dead. Now, with Defiant, readers reunite with Xhea and her ghost-friend Shai as they're hiding in Edren's skyscraper so Xhea can heal from her injuries. Both girls know they're only biding their time. The Lower City's other skyscrapers envy Edren's
Apr 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
The first book in this trilogy, Radiant, was an impressive debut novel and a very unique book. Like the first book, Defiant had too much narrative at times, but I enjoyed it just as much as the previous book. While I found the first book more memorable, I found this one more compulsively readable so it evened out in the end. I especially loved that Defiant delved more into the fascinating world the author has created.

Full Review:
Molly Mortensen
I almost didn't read this because in the first chapter we learn; Xhea can't walk, has no magic, and is possibly addicted to pain killers.
However, we also get some early answers, (or at least parts of answers) to my big questions from book one, so I couldn't stop.

The Bad:

Xhea and Shai are best when together. Mostly because Shai's boring alone. One chapter of her woe-is-me thoughts was too much.

Xhea was so weak! She wasn't a great character in the first book but she was tough, she stood up for h
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The first book in the Towers Trilogy, Radiant, topped my best of 2014 list. Intricate storytelling, nuanced characters, distinct magic system, and an exquisitely written story of an unusual friendship made for a very satisfying read. With this second book, Defiant, we are once again plunged into the world of the floating towers. Where the first book explored the radiant aspect of magic, here we delve more into Xhea's
Feb 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book you guys, this book. I seem to recall it took me a bit to get into Radiant -- the first book of the Towers Trilogy -- but Defiant pretty much grabbed me right away and refused to let go. There was one time when I'd gone out to dinner by myself and brought it along to read and I had to stop because it was so emotionally intense that I got a lump in my throat and couldn't eat. Then when I was almost done with the book I took it out again so I could finish it and ended up crying into my F ...more
Jo  (Mixed Book Bag)
Mar 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: series, paranormal
Defiant by Karina Sumner-Smith – I loved Radiant book one in the Towers Trilogy. Book two, Defiant, is just as good. Sumner-Smith has built a world filled with interesting and different characters and situations. This time Xhea and her ghost friend Shai should be safe but things are changing in the Lower City. I loved how the friendship between Shai and Xhea was at the heart of the story. Even when they were separated and their tether broken each was still important to the other. There is much t ...more
Jaime Moyer
Sep 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned-books
Oh...everything changes in this book, and yet--it doesn't.

Second books in a series have a lot to live up to. I'm not going to spoil this book, I'm just going to say that Defiant goes beyond being a mere bridge book. We get to see the Lower City through different eyes, find answers to questions we didn't know we had, and witness a bit of redemption.

My professional, technical review is this: Go buy these books. I loved Defiant as much, if not more, than Radiant. I'm counting the days until Towers
Jun 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
A great follow-up to Radiant. This book kept me reading far later into the night than I really should have ;) I really like the author's style. My only regret is that I didn't wait for the trilogy to be complete because now I have to WAIT for the 3rd book!!!! And given the title of the 3rd book, I'm dying to find out what happens next.

Just kidding about waiting til the 3rd book comes out. Read 1 and 2 now! Then re-read them when the 3rd book comes out ;)
May 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I found this absolutely impossible to put down! Sumner-Smith delivers with higher stakes, darker magic, and a bond of friendship that proves unbreakable--even in the face of war. Highly recommended for all lovers of SFF, post-apocalytic, and dystopian--or just anyone looking for a great story!
Deb in UT
I like this one better than the first of the trilogy. I would give it 3.25 stars.

I like the introduction of Shai's point of view. In the first book, we only see from Xhea's point of view. It's an essential change that makes the book more readable. Otherwise, it's difficult when the protagonist seems like a powerless victim all the time. It would have been better if we'd seen from both points of view in the first book too.

The magic systems are a little more understandable in this one, though the
I enjoyed this book. I liked seeing the growth of protagonist, Xhea and her sidekick Shai. I also liked the inclusion and growth of some of the supporting characters. I am intrigued to see where things go in book #3, the conclusion of the trilogy.

P.s. It still annoyed the heck out of me that the author repeatedly used adjectives when adverbs were called for. It is right there in the name; adverbs add to verbs and should be used with verbs. Did no one edit this book?
Sep 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: series
Originally posted on BlueAnteater

The short: A precise, well-written book with amazingly strong characters and world-building, though a shade repetitive and slow-paced.

The long: 

I think I might like this novel better than its predecessor, Radiant. Not that there was anything wrong with that book at all, but in Defiant, I felt less lost and more sure of what was going on (even though I read it way back in January). Xhea is less . . . grumpy, I guess you could say. It's partly sad because she is se
Lekeisha The Booknerd
Mar 16, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: edelweiss
To say that I was let down with this book would be an understatement. This is definitely a “second book syndrome” read. With it’s slow pacing and inactivity, I almost called it quits. But, I loved the first book so much, that I refuse to give up on the trilogy yet.

From the start of this, Xhea is healing after the events that happened in Radiant. So, I somewhat expected the beginning to be slow. I thought the story would gain momentum after some time and bring back all the things that I loved in
Holly Scudero
Jul 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: san-francisco-br
Two months after she rescued the Radiant ghost Shai, Xhea is barely getting by in the Lower City skyscraper of Edren. The bruises on her body are not healing, and magical, and even surgical, attempts to fix her knee have failed time and again. And, Shai’s very presence is throwing off the balance of the Lower City, pouring unprecedented amounts of magic into Edren’s coffers. The other towers want Shai, and Xhea is the key to “controlling” her. But, Xhea is becoming a powerful force of her own; h ...more
May 14, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
More of a 3.5/5 Defiant continues the Towers story after the brilliant start of Radiant, but it didn't capture my attention as well or for as long as the first book. This isn't to say it was sub-par or the writing was bad, it's just that the plot of Defiant depends more on character exposition than Radiant did (& there was a lot of exposition in Radiant), and it shows. The first 2/3rds of the book plodded along, which was a little bit of a let down given Radiant's explosive ending, but also made ...more
Clare O'Beara
This is a YA book somewhat like Divergent in that it is set in a post-collapse world with a ruined city and skyscrapers. There the resemblance ends. I didn't read the first book (yet) and might have liked this better if I had. On the other hand I am not really into dark fantasy with ghosts, blood and stabbings, so maybe not.

The language sets us apart from the characters, not in their heads. As I didn't know Xhea, Shai, Edren and the rest, I didn't know whom to trust or who had what magic. We gr
Karina, thank you for this book.
I hadn't expected the scope of this, and I loved to learn more about the sociopolitical context of this world. The characters are just as dense as in the first book, and there are new ones worth meeting. I personally enjoyed this novel so much not because of the world-building (which is still brilliant) or the magic but because Xhea is now more broken than ever and very much so in a physical sense that is to often neglected in literature. Her struggles feel real t
Ria Bridges
Jan 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
Picking up shortly after where Radiant ended, Xhea is still in Edren Tower, injured with little hope of proper healing. Bright magic, the kind that nearly everyone has and thus the kind that is used for healing spells, hurt her, and her body seems bent on destroying even the most carefully set spells upon her. The council of the tower seems to want nothing to do with her and everything to do with Shai, the Radiant ghost who is still attached to Xhea and whose excess power is currently being used ...more
Joe Szilvagyi
Jan 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
I'm happy to say this isn't one of those trilogies where the second book is a rehash of the first book, filling time and space till the third book gets published.

This book picks up beautifully from the first book and introduces a ton of depth to both the unique world that's been created and the characters within it.

Not much else to say here, if you enjoyed the first book, then you'll love where this one picks up and takes things.

Now I can't wait to read the third.
Garrett Daum
Jan 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars.

I love the unorthodox magic system that Karina. I wonder if She was/is a Final Fantasy VII fan because all I'm thinking when I read this series is that this is EXACTLY how Midgar would look...anyways 3.5 stars because the plotline didn't really progress until the very end. The author does however cover some of Xhea's past as well as a huge drawback to her OP Dark magic...
Yvonne Hogg
Apr 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I have patiently been waiting to find the time where I could sit down and continue Xhea's journey. Defiant did not let me down, I enjoyed each and every moment of this book. I had a hard time putting this book down. I was very disappointed when the book came to an end because I wanted more. I cannot wait for the next one to be published. I highly recommend that people read this book. ...more
Mar 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
'Defiant' is a brilliant read and a surprising sequel to 'Radiant'.
The Towers Trilogy Book Two was a highly enjoyable and much anticipated pleasure.
Now, of course, I have to wait for Karina to write Book Three, 'Towers Fall', but such is life.
Jun 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A sequel to Radiant, an excellent debut novel, and the middle book of a trilogy, I was happily surprised to see no evidence whatever of sophomore book syndrome. In fact quite the contrary, this is a better book! Rare and notable that.
Dec 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
A great sequel; I was initially concerned about the direction this story was headed, but it went elsewhere and I enjoyed it.
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Karina Sumner-Smith is the author of the Towers Trilogy from Talos Press: Radiant (Sept 2014), Defiant (May 2015), and Towers Fall (Nov 2015). In addition to novel-length work, Karina has published a range of science fiction, fantasy, and horror short stories that have been nominated for the Nebula Award, reprinted in several Year’s Best anthologies, and translated into Spanish and Czech. She live ...more

Other books in the series

Towers Trilogy (3 books)
  • Radiant (Towers Trilogy, #1)
  • Towers Fall (Towers Trilogy, #3)

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