Monday 12 January 2015

Book Review: Defiance by C.J. Redwine

Title: Defiance
Author: C.J. Redwine
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Published: August 28th 2012
Pages: 403

Goodreads Synopsis:

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.

70 Pages into the book I had to look up the reviews. I do this when I am seriously hating on a book to see if it is just a lost cause. When I saw all the glowing reviews I was like:

This book had so many glowing reviews and was just sitting there resisting the urge to throw the book out the window. I was going to DNF this one, I even put the book on my "I don't really care about" bookshelf but all those reviews had my like "I gotta read this and see what happens". I also read a review which had me thinking that the romance was going to get a lot more bearable. So that is where I will start, with the romance, as the first 200 pages are about pretty much nothing else. In this world women are not allowed to go anywhere outside without their protector, and for Rachel, this was always her father, but when he goes missing, presumed dead, Rachel is transferred to the care of Logan, who happens to be only three years older and dashingly handsome of course. Oh, and I forgot to mention she was madly in love with him at one point and he turned her down so there is all this animosity between them (don't worry you find out all of this straight away). Of course there is animosity between them though because they couldn't just be friends and fall in love, they obviously have to have an obstacle to overcome. Now, the romance is almost a slow burner, well at least I think that is what the author meant it to be, but they both spend most of the story obsessing over each other, with quotes such as this: 

"My gaze wanders to her lips, and I can't see anything but a thin trail of water gliding over her skin, gathering at the corner of her mouth, and then slowly drifting toward her neck. She raises one shaky hand and presses her fingers against her lips. Her breath catches, a tiny sound that makes me realise how close I am standing to her"

Or this:

"He laughs, and the sound makes my skin tingle. I'm suddenly aware of his shoulders full his cloak. How his hair glows like honey in the morning sunlight"

Ensue some serious eye-rolling on my part. 

This I could have handled if I had actually liked the two main characters narrating the story, sadly I did not. Rachel is such a typical YA female character it hurts. Good fighter? Check! Smarter and more independent than the other females in the story who only care about dresses and weddings? Check! Loses all sense of independence once she falls in love? Check. Rachel is fierce, more independent than most females in the city she grew up in thanks to her father's teachings but she is also a total IDIOT!

Ya I said it.

 I smacked my face so many times thanks to Rachel's stupidity it hurt. Like A LOT. Just like most YA female characters she would do ANYTHING for the ones she loves, which usually means she thinks through absolutely nothing, is terribly stubborn and ends up getting herself and several other characters in whole pile of trouble. Well done Rachel. There was one deeming sentence that came from Rachel:

"I never thought it was fair that anatomy decide what my brain is fit for"

Oh, but then she had to ruin it later by saying this:

"And I need Logan because he would understand that something inside me is broken. Something I have no idea how to mend. He'd understand, and if he didn't know how to fix it, he'd dedicate himself to learning how"


The girl goes on and on about how she does want a protector nor need one because she is so independent - GIRL why do you need a man to fix you? Fix your damn self! Ugh  the author went to so much trouble to show us how differnet Rachel was to the other girls in the town who relied on the men to take them places and were happy to be married off, only then to make the character wholly reliable on the love interest. EVERY DAMN TIME. (Caelena anyone?)

Oh and let's not even go into this:
"I know you won't let me buy you pretty frilly things"...Rachel responds with "That's because I don't like pretty frilly things".

Ok I said I wouldn't go into but why, oh why, do authors think that girls can't be independent, bad'ass fighters but also like "pretty frilly things" which by the way is such a demeaning way of putting it. Why does a girl have to show her equality to men by renouncing her femininity? Can a girl not be feminine and equal? Rant over.

Ok, ok so I had some problems with Rachel, I must have liked Logan right because how could a person read a 400 and something page book and hate the two lead characters?  Sheer will and determination people, that's how. Yes, I also didn't like Logan, BUT I liked him somewhat more than Rachel. Rachel I didn't like even when there was no love interest, Logan, however, I did. Logan is the kind of guy that, quite unrealistically, seems to be good at EVERYTHING (inventor, tracker, fighter, protector, you name it he can do it). But no, that is not why I liked him at the beginning, I liked him because of his logic, he is the complete opposite of Rachel. He thinks everything through, weighs every option and assess the risk (this did get annoying after awhile as there was a constant option 1: everything goes great, Option 2: I die, Option 3: Blah, this occurred every couple of pages with Logan and it get old FAST!). However, yet again the male character turns into a soppy fool once he falls in love. I am doomed to keep reading the same characters over and over in every book I read.

So now I have you thinking, why in the name of all that is holy did she give this book 3 stars when she clearly hated it...Am I right? Well that's because after suffering through 200 pages I really started enjoying the book. The action was fantastic and the book went in a completely different direction then I thought I would. After ranting about what I hated for so long I wish I could talk about why I liked the second half so much but that would completely spoil the whole book for everyone so I am not going to do that. Just know that the action was fantastic, the twists and turns were great and certain characters went a bit cray-cray. I also really loved a lot of the new characters that were brought into the story, especially Willow, she was so fun and upfront and seems like a really spunky character. I am really hoping to see more of her and her brother along with Nola who seems like she could be a great female character also.

I am really glad that I stuck with this story because I was totally glued to it from page 200 onwards, but due to the fact that I hated the first 200 pages and the two main characters I can only give this one a three star rating, which might even be a bit generous but due to all the bashing I just did I feel like it deserves it.

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