Series: Defiance #1
Published by Balzer + Bray on August 28, 2012
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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.
Defiance is filling the category “First in a Series” in my Full House Reading Challenge.
Defiance jumps right in with the sadness and misery, when Rachel learns that her father has not returned from a mission in the Wasteland and is pronounced dead. Rachel is convinced he isn’t dead however, and because he trained her to survive in the wilderness, she plans to go after him. Her father’s apprentice, Logan, has the same plan, although he’s going to try to keep Rachel from going, especially since she’s been named his ward. They soon discover that the Commander of their city has his own agenda where Rachel’s father is concerned, and he certainly doesn’t care whether Rachel and Logan live or die.
Our main girl, Rachel, is stubborn, makes exceptionally dumb decisions quite often, and can come across as whiny. She’s not wholly unlikable however, especially once she gets out into the wilderness and has to fend for herself. She has quite a nice growth arc, moving from annoying teenager to a woman who can take care of herself, but recognizes the importance of others.
Logan, is a combination of genius introvert and hot weapon wielding swoon master. He’s very noble, very loyal (even when Rachel is being OBNOXIOUS) and he is very passionate. He is constantly making these freakishly amazing, futuristic inventions, which I will admit, was kind of a weird juxtaposition to less futuristic setting, but in some ways made Logan even cooler. Two thumbs up for Logan.
The Commander: Can we just kill him already and be done with it? He’s like, evil incarnate. Aside from being a disgustingly sexist pig, he’s just got that evil flair that makes such a good villain. He obviously has some ulterior agenda that we don’t know about, and I for one, would feel better knowing what it was.
Like I said earlier, there are some definite futuristic elements, such as Logan’s inventions and the wristbands used as individual identification. But it also seemed like some of the world was almost medieval—like the fact that they use couriers to send messages to and from the different cities? Wouldn’t they be able to figure out a different, more effective way of communication? I suppose in a post-apocalyptic setting, this can make sense, and the mix didn’t bother me one bit.
So Defiance falls under the genre Dystopia/Post-Apocalyptic, and a lot of it takes place in the wilderness, so there’s that survival aspect. Especially since there’s this monster running around called The Cursed One that likes to eat humans for breakfast. Rachel has been sent by the Commander (AKA Lord of Evil) to look for a package that her father hid on his final assignment. Rachel doesn’t know what it is, but she knows she has to get it and keep it from the Commander. There’s some great tension when Logan and Rachel are split apart that kept me reading late into the night, and I wasn’t sure at all who was going to live and who was going to die.
Rachel declared her love for Logan two years ago, and he shot her down. Not in a mean way. He was just being practical. Now that they are stuck together, their feelings are rekindled. But it’s a long journey. Rachel really hates Logan, though she is of course, still drawn to him. Their relationship was a nice buildup, emphasized by the survival part of the story—they come to care more about each other because they were fighting for their lives.
While this is not the most tense Post-Apocalyptic survival story I’ve read, it’s still filled with action, mystery, romance, an interesting setting, and likable characters. I would recommend Defiance for fans of Veronica Rossi’s Under the Never Sky series, and Julie Kagawa’s The Immortal Rules.