Defiance by C. J. Redwine

Rachel Adams is a 16-year-old girl and daughter to one of the best couriers in Baalboden. Even though 60 days have passed since he was supposed to return from his last delivery and he must by law be declared dead, Rachel is certain he is alive, and she will do everything she can to find him. 19-year-old Logan McEntire is Jared Adams’s apprentice, and about to become protector of his daughter Rachel now that Jared has been declared dead. Logan doesn’t believe Jared is dead either, but doesn’t know how to tell an angry Rachel that he’s on her side. He also knows something is not right about the Commander of Baalboden–Logan is sure the commander knows more than he is willing to admit about Jared’s disappearance. Logan and Rachel both want to find Rachel’s father, and reveal the Commander for the treacherous, evil dictator they both know him to be. Will they be able to overcome their past differences and work together to find Jared, defeat the Commander’s manipulations, and ultimately change the fate of Baalboden?

I loved the way CJ Redwine chose to tell this story from both Logan and Rachel’s point of views. Typically YA novels like this are heroine-driven, with the male leading character mainly being the love interest. Instead, we got to read about both the action and the love story from both points of view, which really added to the story, especially when Logan and Rachel both described the same scene, alternating so often they were almost speaking at the same time. I also felt that Logan actually acted like a typical 19-year-old young man (at least, as far as I know, being a girl and all). I liked the cute little scene when Rachel comes out in her claiming dress, and Logan can’t stop staring at her breasts. (“I don’t want to admit my attraction to her is strong enough to rise above my grief and my sense of responsibility, but they’re breasts.”) That made me chuckle. I also thought–for a completely different example–the descriptions of Rachel’s grief and internal struggle were very well done, especially seeing it from inside Rachel’s head and what Logan is witnessing on the outside. Her struggle to deal with the terrible circumstances she is in, along with the consequences of her actions and learning to forgive herself and move on, was written beautifully and believably.

I liked the addition of the new characters Willow and Quinn more than halfway through the novel. I enjoyed Willow’s blunt-ness and mischievous sense of humor, and the sense of mystery surrounding Quinn. We didn’t get to learn very much about these characters, but I’m guessing they will be more important in the next novel.

Favorite line: “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 it up.”

Defiance was a moving and beautifully written dystopian young adult novel. If you liked the Hunger Games, Divergent, or Under the Never Sky, you will like this novel.

Happy reading,
-Branwen
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