Defiance has the goods to make my heart go boom boom. AND YOU GUYS! I fricken loved every minute of CJ Redwine’s debut novel, Defiance, even when main character Rachel was being annoying and stubborn and a total teenager, but I kind of get ahead of myself. Anyways, despite expecting high fantasy and getting something that was little bit dystopian instead, Defiance made for a decent end of summer read. There is fighting and swords and PATRIARCHY WHOOP WHOOP and duh, making out. Me being the sort of reader I am, I was totally satisfied.
If you don’t like hitting the ground running or being dauntless with your reading choices, chances are you will probably not be into Defiance. You see there is not a 50 page introduction of the world Redwine has built, how it works with a this is going on because of X and which is why Z is the way that it is. Hell no, we are dropped into the action and it is freakin’ legit.
Defiance is a story that is told in dual perspectives. We open the book in Rachel’s perspective. She is freaking out because her dad, Jared, has been missing beyond the wall for so long that he is presumed dead and so Rachel gets to listen to her dad’s will and last testament. She gets some pretty bad news. The boy that spurned her a few years ago, Logan, is her to be her new Protector. Of course, Rachel decides her dad must still be chilling out in the woods some place and plots to go after him.
OH OH and the other point of view? Logan’s. Bro, Logan has duty written all over him. He’s totally one of those OH NO I CANNOT BECAUSE IT IS MY DUTY TO BE HONORABLE AND PROVE MYSELF sort of guys and is what I would call incredibly endearing. Anyways, Logan and Rachel start to live together, but because this is YA there are zero sexytimes, sigh. THEN, lots of tragedies happen and we get to see what is going on in the world outside of Baalboden where the two live.
You guys, I don’t know if the society of Baalboden is a critique of patriarchy on purpose or not, I sure as heck hope it is, because it’s pretty awesome in that I actually might have picked up on it and I NEVER pick up on things. OKAY SO in Baalboden if you are a woman, chances are your life sucks. You are expected to be a homemaker and to cook and sew and pop out babies. You are not allowed to leave the house without a male protector. Plus, the leader of Baalboden, the Commander is a total misogynist. This dude advocates violence against women who defy him or women who are associated with people who defy him. He’s totally awful.
While reading Defiance I drew little connections to the war on women and how it seems like some dudes totally want control over female bodies, because the Commander has total control over the women and it is eerie to me. Maybe I am looking for feminism in all of the wrong places, but this is totally like The Handmaiden’s Tale only with a LOT of differences. I mean, in that ugh women have no power sort of way.
My crazy reading too much into the text of Defiance mumblings aside, I want to touch on Rachel as a character. I will not lie, at first I felt bad for Rachel because she’s dealing with a metric ton of tragedy in an awful society. Then I got incredibly annoyed with her because she wouldn’t sit down and shut up until the timing was right, resulting in some more tragedy. Then I realized, oh my god, I am being an awful person because I want her to be the feminine ideal – the quiet well behaved lady and when she wasn’t, I was irritated.
So, I had to check myself. Once I considered Rachel’s actions in the context of her upbringing and her awful, no good, very bad situation, I realized, yeah if I had brass lady balls like Rachel, then chances are I would do the same thing as her. So, what I would suggest when reading is to put yourself exactly in her situation OH and make yourself think like a teenager then you will probably have a lot more compassion.
As for Logan, we are in his head for half of the book so we really get to know him. YOU GUYS Logan is kind of like Data from The Goonies only older and probably way better looking. He’s constantly using his intellect and brain to invent things. His inventions often come in handy and are totally as useful as slick shoes. Logan definitely balances Rachel out. He’s more calm and collected. He actually thinks things through, rather than act on impulse like Rachel. I have to admire that in a character. PLUS he treats Rachel as an equal, what a novel concept! Another great thing about Logan is that he has this whole hope of redemption thing going on, which is very endearing to me. There’s nothing quite like a character with the determination and something to prove, ya know?
However, Defiance is not without flaws. You guys there was TOTALLY not enough kissing. Like, there is SO much action and fighting and tragedy and evil. Toss a girl more than one single bone, please! I mean, the build up is great and I highly doubt I am spoiling anyone with half a brain, but ARGHGKEYBOARDSMASHARGHHHHH I just want a few extra instances and maybe some tongue? Okay, I guess there’s more than one kiss but not ENOUGH if you are all about the swoons.
That stated, the lack of makeouts every other page is kind of a small price to pay for the badassery contained within Defiance by CJ Redwine. For real. Friends, Rachel is a character I would totally want to be for Halloween if I actually had useful skills, with a badass black cloak and a weighted stick to beat the heck out of people with, she is awesome in her style and accessories. Y’all, this is a book that prompted me to rage at the society, to wallow in vicarious self-pity, and to ship two obvious characters very, very hard. Basically I am going to end this with a very April statement and say YO READ THIS BOOK.
Disclosure: Received for review.
Other Reviews of Defiance by CJ Redwine:
Elizziebooks – “OMG WE FEEL YA GURRRL.”
Bibliophilic Monologues – “I loved this novel to bits”
Fictionally Inclined – “I think you would be hard-pressed to not enjoy this book”