By: C. J. Redwine
Reported by: Julianna Helms
Within the walls of Baalboden, beneath the shadow of the city's brutal leader, Rachel Adams has a secret. While other girls sew dresses and obey their male Protectors, Rachel knows how to survive in the wilderness and deftly wield a sword. When her father, Jared, fails to return from a courier mission and is declared dead, the Commander assigns Rachel a new Protector, her father's apprentice, Logan--the same boy Rachel declared her love for two years ago, and the same one who handed her heart right back to her. Left with nothing but a fierce belief in her father's survival, Rachel decides to escape and find him herself. But treason against the Commander carries a heavy price, and what awaits her in the Wasteland could destroy her.
At nineteen, Logan McEntire is many things. Orphan. Outcast. Inventor. As apprentice to the city's top courier, Logan is focused on learning his trade so he can escape the tyranny of Baalboden. But his plan never included being responsible for his mentor's impulsive daughter. Logan is determined to protect her, but when his escape plan goes wrong and Rachel pays the price, he realizes he has more at stake than disappointing Jared.
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.
-Summary from Goodreads || Purchase: Mrs. Nelson's
It seems that, just like Seraphina, everyone else loved this one (or mostly everyone, at least). Well, lest I be defiant (absolutely dreadful pun intended), I should absolutely love this too, right?
Yeah, as you can probably tell in the title, this defiance was very exactly mirrored in my own feelings. No, I'm not a fan of this book. Well, no, perhaps that's a bit harsh. Here, let me attempt to explain:
This book was a debut novel. No, I'm not trying to state the obvious. I'm saying that the quality of it felt like what a skeptic would expect a debut novel to feel like. Unlike Seraphina, I felt that Defiance employed a lot of writing strategies that are effective in pacing, but not so much so in plotting. The plot was interesting enough, but it felt very formulaic. A girl, who needed help from a guy, even though she wouldn't admit that she needed help (which is both good and bad--Rachel was hot-tempered to the point it was just irrational, and it's also very useful to ask for help at one time or another). I understood her emotional turmoils, and I understand that Logan's personality and their history is problematic, but I can't say she really stood out to me. She reminds me a bit of Korra, honestly. Very stubborn. But the difference is that Korra knew to ask for help when she needed it, and she also had a very distinct, immediately-recognizable personality, while Rachel and the rest of the gang just felt flat to me.
One thing, though: I adored Logan. I know some people say he was very controlling, but I didn't see it that way: I perceived it as that he used words necessary to steer hot-headed Rachel onto the path she needs to go on, and basically he just did what he had to do. He's a very straightfoward yet complex guy.
To deviate from the characters topic, a quick note about world-building: the world, I felt, was very predictable and mirrored what one would expect out of a high fantasy novel. Nothing fancy, nothing too unique (though I certainly liked the inventions touch a lot, and found that possibly the greatest asset for Mrs. Redwine). It's okay, and it's cool, sometimes. But it's not wow.
Lastly, and quickly, the pacing: This was awesome. C. J. paced her novel pretty well. It was a bit ragged and uneven at times, but overall it was quite nice and I was very engaged in the novel.
Overall: this book was good. It wasn't bad at all, that is to say. But it's also not what I would read if I wanted to go on an absolutely incredible fantasy adventure. However, I can see the potential in Mrs. Redwine, and I have a feeling that soon enough, all of this criticism I'm giving will become nothing but obstacles she's prevailed above.