Publishing Info: August 28, 2012 by HarperCollins
Genres: Dystopian, Fantasy, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: September 1, 2013
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.
Oh, blogger friends…
I trusted you on this one! Your ratings are all four and five stars! (Except one.) I bought the second book! *shakes head* Why did I do that? I should know better than to buy a sequel (and have it personalized) before I finish the first book.
DEFIANCE. I’ve heard so many good things and I’ve been wanting to start this one for a long time, so I finally did before I went to the CJ Redwine & Rae Carson event at Anderson’s. I hadn’t been able to read that much before the actual event, but it was interesting to hear both of these ladies talk about their books even though I hadn’t read them yet. I knew lots of my blogger friends really loved this one so I was so excited to meet CJ! She was really nice and the event was a lot of fun, as a whole!
But then I started getting further into the book. I was hoping that my initial qualms with Rachel would resolve themselves as I got deeper into the plot AND the romance, but instead of getting better… They got worse. Rachel is one tough chick. But she’s stubborn. That’s not always a bad thing, but I got a bit of a martyr complex from Rachel, having to do everything herself. Always. Her father is gone so she had no parents to rely on like she used to and things are uneasy with Logan, her new guardian. So naturally, Rachel takes it upon herself to take care of business. That could have been all well and good but for some reason I just got these really bad vibes from the way her character was written. She felt angry. She felt negative. She felt stubborn and immature and defensive. Sure, I’ve seen this in lots of YA characters, but just the way it was written for Rachel did not work for me. She acted without thinking (Logan was the thinker in the book) and I actually got mad at her for a few specific incidences.
I was actually okay with Logan in the beginning, but soon he became too much of a character and didn’t quite feel like a real person to me. He was more logical and techy as a polar opposite to Rachel’s physical strength and quick decisions — I actually really liked that he was more of a “brains guy” than “braun guy”, but then… Things started to go downhill. Everything became SO thought out and overcalculated… I started rolling my eyes at his Best/Worst Case Scenarios. If you guys know me, you KNOW how much I hate hearing things repeated over and over and over again in books and this was one thing that just pushed my buttons.
The romance in DEFIANCE between Rachel and Logan just never came together for me either. I guess it’s kind of hard if I’m really not into either character to get into their romance, but I never felt the chemistry there, even from the beginning when I was still trying to root for them to get together. I actually really liked the forbidden romance kind of aspect and that Rachel and Logan knew each other and had a big history and hadn’t just met for the first time. I guess I was hoping to feel that connection from their past but I just never got that either.
Most of all, I was confusing by the world building. It reads like fantasy and HI, there’s a dragon who lives underground, which AWESOME! Dragons! But wait… I thought this was this is speculative/dystopian? It’s that too! Then were did this random dragon come from? How many years in the future are we? CJ Redwine clearly stated at the author event that Baalboden is in a post-apocalyptic Tennessee and the characters make the journey all the way to former-Louisiana. (Remember that one giant sign aka billboard that referred to “the king”…? Tennessee…? Get the reference?) How did SO MUCH destruction happen over such a vast expanse of land? If the Cursed One was really what destroyed everything, where did it even come from? Why didn’t we bomb the ones that were out there with the technology we had before the Cursed Ones started appearing? How are things still so bad? I just had so many questions and it felt like a mash up of too many genres. I can appreciate genre mash-ups but these just didn’t seem to mix well.
Basically, this one just didn’t work for me on really any level. I tried really hard to make it work and finish with at least a somewhat positive outcome but it came to a point where I skimmed a good portion of the end because the chapters were dragging on. I really, really wanted to like this one but after trying to force it for over 400 pages, there comes a time where you just have to say, “It wasn’t for me.” To top it off, I wasn’t smart about my book buying and I guess I now have a personalized book two that I don’t plan to read. Bummer.
Rachel // Character Obsessions: Weapons, saving her father, avoiding Logan.
Sadly, I just didn’t connect with Rachel. I love kickass females, but she was a bit too stubborn and too defensive for me. She was rash to act and didn’t think about a lot of her actions, some which caused major destruction. Since I was struggling with her character, those moments made me like her less instead of feeling sympathy for her.
Logan // Character Obsessions: Gadgets, technology, protecting Rachel, planning.
Logan was much more calculated than Rachel was, but even that started to go overboard for me. He didn’t feel like a nice mix of head and heart… More like SO many thoughts/plans and SO many emotions and he went overboard with both. I liked his techy side and that his gadgets were helpful to his and Rachel’s plans, but it was weird part of the plot because I couldn’t get over how high fantasy it felt, which always reminds me of medieval times, and it just didn’t seem to fit. I know it’s also a speculative fiction novel, but everything just jumbled together for me and Logan’s character didn’t seem to fit the times in my head.
Kept Me Hooked On: Dragons. Okay. So it’s called The Cursed One and not actually a dragon. But it’s a dragon. I may or may not have been rooting for it sometimes.
Left Me Wanting More: World Building Answers. I love a book with awesome world building and I just had SO many unanswered questions in DEFIANCE. I know I won’t be able to get ALL of the answers, but I feel like I got so many at the signing but… None of those answers were in the book. The fantasy feel of the book and the knowledge that it was supposed to be speculative fiction/dystopian just didn’t compute in my head. I needed SO much more information to figure out why the world ended up like it did.
Try with caution
LOTS of bloggers liked and even LOVED this book. This one just was not for me. Since there are so many positive opinions, I’d say give it a try, but maybe be a little wary of the issues that I had with it. Or check your trusted bloggers and see what they thought! Hopefully you’ll find a review that you trust to guide you!