Friday, June 13, 2014

Book Review: Defiance by C.J. Redwine

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Title: Defiance

Author: C.J. Redwine

Series: Courier's Daughter #1

Genre: Science-Fiction/Dystopian

Audience: Young Adult

**3 stars**

Defiance by C.J. Redwine is a dark, fast-paced tale of survival … ridden with dangers, clinging to hope.

Rachel lives in Baalboden, a city surrounded by thick concrete walls and ruled by the Commander, a man who hides great darkness within. After her father is declared dead and Logan is named her new Protector, Rachel decides to defy everything the city teaches, and sneak out into the Wastelands. –No mind that there’s a terrible monster, the Cursed One, lurking underground out there. But even a strong, nearly fearless young woman like Rachel couldn’t have known the cunning of her enemies; the cost her defiance would bring …

This book definitely caught my attention, not only by the amazing cover, but also by the dystopian world within. However, I quickly realized that Defiance has quite the violent content. So along with the dark theme, we get a huge amount of often-times graphic violence. All I can say is, I wouldn’t watch Defiance if it were a movie! So very mature audience; I would recommend late teen to adult. Also, I can hardly stomach the thought of the Commander, so evil is he. This is a dark tale. –Of a people forced to obey a corrupted leader because of the Commander’s ability to keep them safe from the Cursed One. –Of a daughter’s hope to find her father, and of the fierce determination to right the wrongs in her world. I think Defiance really showed what human beings are capable of when consumed with great power. And what they’re capable of when they have no one to trust in but themselves. Suddenly life isn’t as precious in the light of your desperation and the fact that you have no one to rely on.
What bothered me even more than the violence of this book, was Rachel’s deep desire for revenge. It’s almost claimed her. Thankfully, she still has a soft part left, and I could feel her pain at her own actions and at the destruction reigning around her.

The romance in this book got a little iffy at points (with some details I really could have done without). It also became obsessive at times, as if the characters were wholly relying on each other to fulfill/make whole the other. … Which, I guess they were; they had no one else.
—Which leads me to another point. This book could have been so much less dark if only there was a spiritual side! Yes, Rachel would struggle with her lust for revenge, but in the light of God’s power, she would surely see the greater plan. Also, Logan and Rachel wouldn’t have had to feel so desolate without each other. So yeah, I could have used a little more light in this book, and little more hope despite the horrors raging around them.

On a better note, Defiance was a very interesting, thrilling dystopian read, and I sped through it despite my concerns. The whole setting, Baalboden, the Wastelands, the Cursed One (looks like a giant, fire-breathing, wingless dragon who shoots up from the ground), Logan’s inventions, the Protectors, the sheer determination to defy an evil ruler and free the Baalboden people … was quite fascinating. Rachel is a character to identify with, I think. She’s so human; with her stubbornness, her pride, her sometimes stupid, spur-of-the-moment decisions. –And her shattered soul, despite her will to be strong. Her struggle with the rage and need for revenge felt very real, but was also frightening. For the reader and character alike! Logan was identifiable too, from his calculation of all the options, to his love for Rachel, to his desire to defend and protect. Defiance definitely taught some lessons … but I wonder if the next books will continue the lessons into mercy and grace, or rather let revenge have its way??

I was satisfied with the way Defiance ended. In spite of the destruction and chaos, hope burned brightly.

Oh yes, I should mention that Defiance was written in a rather unusual way. In the like: “The weight of their pity is like a stone tied about my neck. I feel it in the little side glances, the puckered skin between frowning brows, the hushed whispers that carry across the purple-gray dusk of twilight like tiny daggers drawing blood. He isn’t coming home.” (Pg. 1 of Defiance). Despite my initial reaction to this different writing style, I soon didn't notice it anymore as I was drawn into the story.

So there it is. I can’t recommend it or rate it any more than 3 stars until I read the next two books and find out where this tale is going! I guess I just find the need to be careful with novels (especially dramatic dystopian books which thrill us so!), and make sure we’re not reading too dark, too revenge-filled stories. Books should really turn our minds toward God and His awesome power and unending love, one way or another. *smiles*

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