Defiance CJ Redwine Book Review

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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.

Defiance CJ Redwine Book Cover


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

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April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.
About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.


  1. Hahah, I wanted more kisses too! But that villainous dude is villainous, man. I totally shivered every time a scene with him came up.

    • Wouldn’t that have been fantastic?

      Ugh I could not stand the Commander. I was like the kid in The Princess Bride — WHO KILLS PRINCE HUMPERDINK only with the Commander.

  2. LOL @ ‘throw a girl more than one bone’! Niiice. I loved this book- I loved the action and evilness! And I loved Rachel! I’m not sure why- I just love how she is totally comfortable with herself and is so fiery and passionate. AWESOME BOOK!

  3. ThIs is one that I may be reading next! It’s been on my TBR for so long! Can’t wait to get to it! Thanks for the review! 😉 Happy Friday!

  4. AHHHH! My copy came in the other day and I seriously can’t wait to read the crap out of it. Although I am disappointed to hear of the lack of kissing. That’s a bummer. But this world sounds awesome!

  5. Bahahaha, this review is fantastic. Also one of your longest in a long time. I really liked the action and stuff too, and could have done with more kissing, I guess, though I didn’t ship Logan and Rachel much at all so maybe not.

    You’re totes on point with the Patriarchy and Handmaid’s Tale comparison. This goes in the same family of ‘women are only for babies and cooking and cannot be trusted to DO THINGS.’ Ugh. Men are the worst.

    Man, I totally didn’t feel like Logan treated her as an equal most of the time. I don’t know. I didn’t hate him, but I thought his attitude towards her was a bit too parental, which made the whole romance vaguely unsettling for me. Thus the not being sure if I want them to kiss more. Actually, I would love for a new love interest to appear and take her away from him and he can find someone else too.

    • Haha this is actually my longest review EVER. Usually I prewrite, but this one was due so I made an outline and then just rambled on each outline topic. I went off-script!

      Sigh, patriarchy is indeed THE WORST. I hate that women are only useful for cooking and reproduction shit.

      I get your point about Logan, however, I think in the context of their society with the protectors and his affection towards Jared and Oliver that is why he may have been so parental. So, I was willing to see it as he treats her very well in the context of her society and he’s not exactly trying to snuff out her fiery spirit, ya know?

      And no no NO to a love triangle!! LOL.

  6. I think you have me convinced that I MUST read this and soon. It sounds really good!

  7. Now you have me wanting to read Defiance even more than I already wanted too. It definitely sounds like something I would devour in one sitting. =)

  8. Holy shizz I want to read this book again!!!!! Haha, I love your reviews. Have I told you that lately?

    I agree there was not nearly enough swoony times, but the ones that were there were great!

  9. Haha, there was so much personality in this review, loved it!

    Baalboden sounds like a crappy place to live but it’s great that Rachel’s character made you stop and think about your perception of how you thought she should act. I hadn’t really considered this book but now I think I should get a hold of it 😉

  10. because this is YA there are zero sexytimes, sigh THE TRUE TRAGEDY OF YA. I mean, they’re teens! Living together!

    Your review made me SUPER excited for this book.

  11. I really like the sound of Logan; I love the honorable guy who puts his duty first and shoves down his own personal preference. I haven’t been eying this book because I didn’t like the cover but now that reviews are popping up, I’m much more interested in it.

  12. Great review!! I can’t wait to read this book- I have an ARC and got a hardcover the other day. Harper really wants me to read this book. Glad to hear it’s really good!!

  13. Yep, so I definitely want to read this book now! And did you happen to make a manly-type voice when you were writing this, “OH NO I CANNOT BECAUSE IT IS MY DUTY TO BE HONORABLE AND PROVE MYSELF”? Because as I read that I used a manly-type voice in my head. Maybe it’s just me? lol Anyway, rockin’ review, April!

  14. You have TOTALLY convinced me. YO I TOTES WANNA READ THIS BOOK NOW. (See what you’ve done, I’ve got a bit crazy after your hyped review!)

    I’m all about the swoons so it’s kinda disappointing to hear that there aren’t enough but I must say, even with it’s faults, this book sounds BADASS!

    Thanks so much for luring me with your gorgeous review, you have definitely piqued my interest!

    P.S – You should be proud of this review, it rock’s 🙂

    • Thank you, Rebecca.

      Despite the lack of a lot of swoons, Defiance is totally badass. I really enjoyed as you can see from the above. I do hope my hype doesn’t ruin it for you. 🙂

  15. Sounds good, April!

  16. I really loved your review. This was an intense book from start to finish. So glad you liked it too.

    Jenea @ Books Live Forever

  17. I love your new layout!

    Also, YES. Loved this book, dealt with the same issues regarding Rachel, thought about a lot regarding feminism/patriarchy/Baalboden, & MORE KISSING NEEDED.

    Oh, and thank you for the mention. 🙂

    • Thank you Sharon! I love this layout as well 🙂

      Isn’t it interesting how we are sort of, hmm how do I describe it, influenced by society to think a certain way about feminity and what it should look like? I like that Defiance challenged those assumptions.

      I am more than happy to mention you 😀

  18. Everyone seems to be loving this! And lack of kissing doesn’t really bother me. I guess I’m weird, but if the characters are kissing for more than a couple of paragraphs, I’m rolling my eyes, waving my hand in a circular motion and saying to the book, “Let’s move it along.” I need to get back to the action! So this sounds like my kind of book. I can’t wait to check it out! Great review, April! 😀

  19. Wow, I was already excited to read this but now I am even more pumped! Bumping this up my TBR list. Great review!

  20. Thank you for being apart of the tour April! I really enjoyed your rocking review! I agree, this needed more kissing, but aside from that, this book kicks butt!

  21. Awesome review, just AWESOME FRIGGEN REVIEW. :]