Spellbinding, romantic, and impossible to put down.”
C.J. Redwine’s DEFIANCE is a gritty, thrilling adventure sprinkled with moments of breathtaking tenderness. I read it in one sitting.
DEFIANCE defies all reader expectations, giving us both a post-apocalyptic setting rife with history and a plot that’s as much about the discovery of one’s own humanity as it is about survival.
A well-paced, heart-wrenching tale of loyalty, courage, and love.
When 16-year-old Rachel’s father fails to return from a courier mission and is declared dead, she is made the ward of his 19-year-old apprentice, Logan, her unrequited first love. Rachel is certain her father is alive, but to leave the walled city-state of Baalboden and search for him she must agree to help Commander Chase, the violent despot who sent her father on his last journey. The commander desperately wants the package Rachel’s father was carrying, and he’s willing to exchange Logan’s life for it. Rachel swears to bring back the item, free Logan, and make the commander regret he ever knew her, but a rival power is also seeking the parcel, and the commander has some tricks up his sleeve. Alternating between Rachel and Logan’s perspectives, Redwine’s debut is a jumble of technology, fantasy, and post-apocalyptic adventure. Her characters are interesting, but so capable and polished that they lose realism and sympathy. The story offers solid writing, ample action, and a sweet romance, but also implausible science and an unexpectedly messy climax that leads into the next book. Ages 13–up. Agent: Holly Root, Waxman Literary Agency. (Sept.)
Gr 7 Up—Fifty years ago, the Cursed Ones escaped their underground prison and nearly destroyed all life on Earth. Survivors cluster within the walls of Baalboden, living in constant fear of attacks and relying on the protection of cruel Commander Jason Chase. Unlike the other women, who are helpless and submissive, Rachel Adams is a survivor and a fighter. When her father goes missing while on a secret mission to retrieve a device that would enable its holder to control the Cursed Ones, the Commander recruits Rachel to find him-and, more importantly, the device-at any cost. If she fails, Logan, her true love and Protector, will be killed. Rachel has everything to lose. And she has a plan. But will it work? Redwine's YA debut is an admirable attempt at following in the footsteps of such genre benchmarks as Suzanne Collins's Hunger Games (Scholastic, 2008) and Scott Westerfeld's Uglies (S & S, 2005). Unfortunately, it doesn't quite measure up. Pacing is slow, and stock characters are predictable and two-dimensional. With so many dystopian novels on the market, this title is not one of the better options.—Alissa J. Bach, Oxford Public Library, MI
Another pair of lovers in a post-apocalyptic dystopia fight the Man. When Rachel's father, Jared, the best tracker in Baalboden, doesn't return from a mission, he is declared dead, and his teenage apprentice, Logan, is unexpectedly named her Protector. This is a problem, because she hates his guts. But they both loved Jared, and they are both determined to defy the megalomaniacal Commander that rules their city-state to find him. Readers will be frustrated at the textbook way Rachel and Logan fail to communicate with each other, as each plots separately to escape into the Wasteland and find Jared. Predictably, they are found out, and just as predictably, they discover passionate love for each other. Redwine's worldbuilding is particularly weak. Vague reference is made to an energy shortage that led to drilling that woke up the Cursed One, a reptilian monster that lives underground, but there is no attempt to flesh out the catastrophe that destroyed civilization as we know it. How women came to be relegated to positions of extreme subservience is also left completely unexplained. That all of this seems to have happened within the lifetime of the Commander who founded Baalboden beggars credulity. Internal logic takes a backseat to overwrought, present-tense narration, which alternates between Logan's and Rachel's nearly identical voices. Only for those who can't get enough of this nearly played-out genre. (Dystopian romance. 13 & up)