Review: Defiance, C.J. Redwine

Title: Defiance (Goodreads)

Author:  C.J. Redwine (@cjredwine)

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Within the walls of Baalboden, beneath the shadow of the city’s brutal leader, Rachel Adams has a secret. While other girls sew dresses, host dinner parties, and obey their male Protectors, Rachel knows how to survive in the wilderness and deftly wield a sword. When her father, Jared, fails to return from a courier mission and is declared dead, the Commander assigns Rachel a new Protector, her father’s apprentice, Logan—the same boy Rachel declared her love for two years ago, and the same boy who handed her heart right back to her. Left with nothing but fierce belief in her father’s survival, Rachel decides to escape and find him herself. But treason against the Commander carries a heavy price, and what awaits her in the Wasteland could destroy her.


Series: The Courier’s Daughter #1
Genre: YA Dystopian Romance
Published: Balzer & Bray, August 28 2012
Pages: 403
My copy: The publisher via Edelweiss

Paper copies: • Depository
E-copies: • • Barnes & Noble


A while ago, the Cursed Ones rose up from deep within the earth and destroyed all the cities. The survivors banded together, forming safe city-states led by those who were able to protect their flocks from the dragon-esque Cursed Ones.

Rachel Adams is sure her father, Jared, is alive. He’s been declared dead by the leader of the city-state of Baalboden, Commander Chase, but Rachel refuses to believe it, and immediately starts plotting to take off out of the city to find him. Jared’s apprentice Logan is appointed Rachel’s new Protector, and the young inventor also suspects something is going on with Jared and the final mission he went on, but the two of them underestimate the lengths that Commander Chase will go to to have them perform his wishes and bring Jared’s mysterious package back to Baalboden.

Defiance is a rollercoaster ride of a book, extremely fast paced with plenty of action. It has an interesting structure in that it is split up into seventy-one short chapters, alternating between the point of view of Logan or Rachel, the two main characters. These short chapters help to drive the story along and kept me hooked, especially when the two characters are split up and I had to keep reading to find out what happens next.

I quite enjoyed reading Defiance, but for me there was an overarching feeling that there was too much discussion of feelings at the expense of actual story. There are a lot of horrible things that happen to Rachel and Logan throughout the story and we get to hear about how Rachel is dealing with then in intricate detail. I much preferred reading about Logan with his inventions and best/worst case scenarios.

The Commander was a nasty piece of work, but he just seemed to be a big evil baddy – I’m sure there should be some more depth to his character somewhere but we don’t get to see it. He kept reminding me of the Colonel guy from Avatar, who also played the community leader in that Terra Nova TV series, although he is a much harsher character than either of those two roles.

The community of Baalboden seemed a little weird to me. They have this strange misogynistic “Protector” system where women aren’t allowed out without their Protector, and girls are “Claimed” once they reach sixteen. If I’m reading the timeline correctly, they haven’t been living there for all that long together and surely some of them remember what life was like before the Cursed Ones came? Why would all the women just agree to a life like that, especially if it involved being punished so severely if you were caught breaking the rules?

I also found the romance a little over the top. I mean, Rachel started out hating Logan, but came around surprisingly fast. Logan seemed to suddenly realise that he actually did like her quite a lot after all, then it was on for young and old. I really think this style of romance would appeal to the teen market, but I think I prefer a bit more subtlety.

Overall, while I enjoyed reading about Rachel’s and Logan’s misadventures, there were parts of the story that didn’t really work for me. I will keep my eye out for the next in the series though, as Defiance was a promising debut from C.J. Redwine.

Warnings: Physical abuse, torture.


What did others think of Defiance?

  • “It can be difficult to find a new, interesting concept these days, but C.J. Redwine has thought of a great concept and executed it well.” – 4.5/5 – Stephanie of Stepping Out of the Page
  • “Although definitely not a favorite, I enjoyed myself immensely. And isn’t that the whole point of reading?” – Ash of Paranormal Indulgence
  • “Overall, I recommend this book because I loved the first part of it,  and it’s nice seeing a female character who is more into saving others than being saved.” – 3.5/5 – Ezzy of Parafantasy