Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Release Date: Out now
Within the walls of Baalboden, beneath the shadow of the city’s brutal leader, Rachel Adams has a secret. While other girls sew dresses, host dinner parties, 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 boy who handed her heart right back to her. Left with nothing but 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.
*Blurb taken from goodreads*
Defiance is a YA dystopian fantasy set in a world where cataclysmic events unleashed strange worm-like creatures that breathed fire and destroyed most of the world and its population. A group of survivors managed to escape, and they live in a handful of walled and well guarded cities. Those who do venture outside the cities face the mortal thread of the Cursed Ones (the worm-like creatures) who hunt for their victims.
In the city where Logan and Rachel reside in, the women are seen to be chattel, and have no rights. They need to be accompanied by a male relative, husband, or an appointed male guardian. Any woman who is seen to be alone is punished heavily and after Rachel’s father (who is a courier and tracker) has gone missing after his last missive, and is now pronounced dead. Rachel’s world is torn apart and because he was her male guardian that was responsible for her, she is now placed under the care of Logan, who use to be her father’s apprentice. This doesn’t sit well with Rachel, and things become awkward due to Logan’s rebuff of her romantic crush for him a few years back. Her feelings for Logan are still strong, and Logan also feels the same way but refuses to act on them. When the commander of the city becoming more dictatorial and tyrannical, both Rachel and Logan soon face the wrath of the Commander who wants something that Rachel’s father has hidden, and Rachel has the key to finding it.
How I so wanted to love Defiance. I was very excited when I had the chance to read the e-arc because this had everything I love in a story: a dark and dystopian setting in an apocalyptic world with romance and a kick-ass heroine. But there were so many issues I had with the story that I almost DNF. Although I did like the premise and some aspects of the story, the pacing of the book was uneven. It did start very well from the outset with the alternating POV chapters which were narrated by Logan and Rachel. But, over the course of the book, it really got bogged down several times which made the pace and tone very slow and I felt there was too much exposition which never really explained the elements of the world-building and setting very well. I wanted to know how did women’s roles devolve so much and why. It was all very vague. I also couldn’t believe that the Cursed Ones would have made such a huge impact in creating a post apocalyptic world, because it wasn’t clarified on how many there were, and in the book it was just one monster who was the threat to the cities.
I also felt that the plot didn’t commence for me until the final third part of the book. And the lead up to that was bogged down with the romance sub-plot which was started off with forced obstacles and lack of communication. I am not a huge fan of the misunderstanding trope and this romance had it in spade both Logan and Rachel have this back and fro aspect to their relationship. When I felt they finally resolved something such as actually communicating due to the predicament they were in and trusting each other something would happen to set them back. I know this was a way to generate tension and danger because of the autocratic and tyrannical Commander has placed them in jeopardy but it all felt so forced to me and irritating.
I was also not that keen to Rachel’s character who I found to be very annoying at times. She also committed some too stupid to live moments because of her impulsive and rash behaviour. Another reason is that she was trained by her father in self defense and tracking abilities, but she never thought things through or saw the repercussions of her careless decisions. Logan I liked much more: he was more considerate and logical, and I really liked how his thought process would think things through to weigh out the outcome for a situation he was in. I understood there was suppose to be a distinction between them, but I never felt that component worked well for me because it affected the romance and how it developed throughout the book. Although, I did enjoy the ending and how the love story fits with it. Bu, the ending was when the book really got interesting because it was action-packed and fast-paced. It also left the characters in an interesting predicament which will be very interesting to see how it will be resolved.
Nonetheless, I am not sure if I will pick up the follow-up because I wasn’t invested with the plot or the characters as much as I would like. The choppy and uneven pace and the vague world-building especially towards the roles of women, was a huge disappointment for me. I would love to have enjoyed this book, but I can’t really recommend it because of the issues I had.
I give Defiance a D+