Released: September 6th 2012
My Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5
Find it on Goodreads
Rachel’s world is confined to the protective walls around her city. Beyond them are violent wanderers, extreme terrain, and a danger straight out of legend: a beast called the Cursed One that devastates everything in its path.
When Rachel’s father goes missing, she is desperate to search for him. But her attempts to flee the city bring her to the attention of its overbearing ruler. His efforts to control her make the world within the walls seem as dangerous as that outside.
Her only chance at escape is Logan. Once her father’s apprentice, and now her only protector, he feels that helping her might mean losing her completely. But if he can put his feelings aside, they might be able to save more than Rachel’s father. They might be able to break down the walls, and set their people free. (from Goodreads)
I enjoyed Defiance a lot. I never thought fantasy and dystopia could be mixed together, but somehow it just...worked. I was really engrossed in the story and could feel how the characters were suffering and it was all just very cool.
I really liked Rachel. She was pretty badass, and could handle swords and knives, but she was also clever and could think on her feet. She could look after herself and used her wits to get herself out of tight situations, and I liked that she never gave up on her dad, even when everyone else thought he was dead. She was determined to find him, no matter what it took. Another reason I liked Rachel was because I felt her reactions were realistic. She was a bit reckless at times, but she was driven by anger and other mixed up emotions, so it was understandable. Plus, she was still furious and embarrassed about what happened between her and Logan two years ago, so she acted angry and aloof towards him, which I think was pretty believable – she felt humiliated, so who could expect her to be all polite and civil? To be honest, I loved all her interactions with Logan, from the beginning where they were arguing, to the end where they were in a relationship. And Rachel was just so likeable. I could understand all the pain and hurt she was feeling and I just wanted everything to work out for her! She was treated so unfairly by a lot of people and it seemed like it was just one bad thing after another for her.
Logan was another great character. I loved the fact we got to see from his point of view as well – in fact, the alternative perspectives worked so well in this book, I couldn’t imagine it being written any other way. I loved Logan’s point of view because we got to see inside his head – he was very smart; an inventor who worked with tech, a logical guy who liked to plan ahead and make sure of every detail. He was so cute actually, and sometimes awkward (which I just thought was adorable), but he seemed to really care about Rachel (and I loved seeing how his feelings for her slowly changed) and wanted to find her father just as much as she did. He was the apprentice of Rachel’s dad and having that job changed his life for the better, so he was immensely grateful towards Rachel’s father and everything he had done for him. His relationship with Rachel developed at a nice pace – not too fast, not too slow, and the chemistry between them was fab – there was so much tension and lots of awesome almost-kisses too! Logan’s internal thoughts were also hilarious at times, and made me laugh out loud at some points! It was funny seeing Rachel through his eyes because half the time he didn’t even realise what he thought about her, and was surprised by his own feelings. He did have more than a few faults though (I do always say perfection is boring, but some things about him did irk me a bit) – while he wasn’t forcefully controlling, he expect to get his way and for Rachel to just listen, and some things he said made me raise my eyebrows. But I’m putting it down to the environment he grew up in, because being an orphan and mistreated by so many people I guess it would be hard to escape the views and laws that were enforced. And at least he wasn’t as bad as the people who just blindly followed every rule without even thinking about it.
There were lots of other great characters too, including Oliver, who was Rachel’s surrogate grandfather and who just so cool and funny and not the kind of person to beat around the bush (when he tried to have the sex talk with Rachel, oh my God, I laughed :P). I also liked Willow, a girl Rachel met later on in the novel. Willow was blunt and always spoke her mind, which I loved, but was also very loyal to her brother and I’m looking forward to seeing more of her. The Commander, however, was despicable. He was a villain all right, but he tried to pretend like he was helping the people when he was just oppressing them. Women were treated so awfully, and he viewed them as second class citizens, not even worth of education. He was the type of person who didn’t care how many lives he took as long as he got what he wanted – he was responsible for undoing the equality people fought for so long and ugh. He was horrible. Throughout the whole book, I was just hoping that Logan and Rachel could finally punish him for all the terrible things he’d done.
Plot-wise, I loved everything that was going. There was so much I didn’t expect, I have so many questions and I already can’t wait to find out what happens next! The book was extremely well-paced and as a bonus, there was no cliffhanger! The world-building was great as well, I could really imagine how everything worked in Baalboden, and how even though most citizens seemed to accept the way they lived, there was this murmur of discontent among those who realised just how terrible and unfair the system was.
Overall, Defiance was a compelling read and I loved the combination of fantasy and dystopia. We got a government gone mad alongside a terrible rampaging creature that destroyed everything in its path – pretty awesome, if you ask me.