Defiance by C. J. Redwine
Author: C. J. Redwine. Website|Twitter
Published: 6 September 2012 (Atom)
Book Depository: Paperback
Source: Own/received as present
Plot Summary (from 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.
I'd seen a lot of this book on Twitter and Goodreads last year and it was on my Amazon wishlist for a while, so when it finally arrived for Christmas I was delighted! Defiance follows Rachel who is placed under the protection of her father's apprentice Logan when her father fails to return from a courier mission and is declared dead.
I absolutely love books told from multiple perspectives, especially when we get the male perspective too (Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater etc.) so I was really happy to are we get both Rachel and Logan's point of view through alternating chapters throughout the book. I fell in love with both characters and their voices and it helped give even more insight into the world.
The olden day type city where Rachel and Logan live is ruled by the Commander, a horrible dictator who makes a cracking villain. The residents also live in fear of the Cursed One - a fire breathing creature who lives below the surface of the earth, occasionally breaking the surface and destroying the surrounding wasteland. There was this wonderful atmosphere of fear from all the characters that really demonstrated how powerful the writing was. The nature of the way the city is ruled in that that the citizens are kept behind a wall 'for their own protection' gives it that unnerving element where you as a reader know how wrong the situation is.
One of the things that really made this book one I could get so passionate about was the way women are treated and how Rachel becomes this strong female character who defies the oppression of women that surrounds her. In the city of Baalboden young women must not be out without their 'protector' and at seventeen are 'claimed' by a man. They're even denied a proper education which just made me so angry, but I loved that Redwine has tackled that subject so brilliantly. It made me really root for Rachel as well. She's a real fighter!
The romantic element to the story was done so well. The two main characters have a history together so there's a real connection there - as opposed to something that comes out of nowhere. You can tell they genuinely care for each other, even when their situation is unclear. What they go through together really strengthens that bond and I loved how that developed throughout the story. It just felt so different from other YA relationships - a real breath of fresh air! I think it helped I was so fond of both characters. Logan is so creative and loyal - I adore him! I liked that he played such a key role in the story as well.
There's still so much I want to praise about this book, from the spot on pacing (even when the characters are travelling for days - where the story could have dragged - it didn't at all!) to the rich, creative world it takes place in. The writing in general in this book blew me away. The scenes in the market, for example, were so vivid that I could almost smell the surroundings and taste the food! It's a book I want to go out and recommend to everyone right now, and the climax to the story has me on tenterhooks. I'm dying to read the sequel already! This is really a book to savour and treasure.
What to read next: Deception by C. J. Redwine, the unreleased 2nd book in the Courier's Daughter trilogy
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