I don't know why I didn't review this last year. I think I may have read it during Splash into Summer, and I'm always lighter on content after an event as I regroup. Either way, I was remiss, because I adored DEFIANCE and it was a favorite book last year. I just finished re-reading my copy so I can move on to brand-new release DECEPTION, which I've been highly anticipating and will review for you once I finish it!
Jared is tough, a top-notch tracker. If anyone can survive in the wastelands, it's him. When he doesn't return from his courier mission after a sixty-day grace period, the Commander of Baalboden declares him dead. In Jared's will, he leaves Protectorship duties of his daughter Rachel to his apprentice Logan. Neither Rachel nor Logan believe that Jared is dead. Rachel attempts to sneak out and find her father, only to be captured by the Commander, who thinks she knows more about her father's disappearance than she says. Constantly under surveillance, Rachel and Logan make plans to escape Baalboden, but the Commander is always one step ahead, and he will stop at nothing to get what he wants.
DEFIANCE is a fantasy novel. There are both post-apocalyptic and dystopian elements, but that's never the focal point the way it is in other books with the same labels. There's a lot of fantasy involved, and the book feels both old-fashioned and futuristic at the same time, a duality I enjoy. I'm never quite able to wrap it into a timeframe. What is The Cursed One, for example? Is it a creature of myth like a dragon, or a horrific newfangled piece of technology? (I'm reviewing this before I read DECEPTION, so my thoughts aren't tainted by new ideas yet!)
Rachel is a strong female protagonist. In a world where females can't be without Protectors, which feels like a step backward, Jared has raised his daughter to be strong, independent, and able to take care of herself in order to survive. She is no weakling, and I'm glad that Logan appreciates that and doesn't want to change her or force her into submission. Rachel is almost too headstrong, and often gets herself into trouble; I look forward to seeing her evolve and grow. And Logan is a great character, too. He invents some awesome tech gear, and you can tell he's super-smart and creative. He's covering up a painful past, and there's definitely more to him than meets the eye. For some reason, the Commander hates him--and always has. Why? I'm dying to find out!
The book is told in two perspectives and alternates between Rachel and Logan. Both have their own distinctive voices, so it's easy to see when the perspective changes, unlike in other fiction with dual POVs. It's also necessary, because Rachel and Logan aren't together for the entire duration of the book, and you can see what both are experiencing when they're apart. You can also feel more of their emotions, which is good, since the two are oblivious when it comes to what the other is thinking. There's definitely a romantic tilt, though nothing happens for most of the book, just building tension. When these two do kiss for the first time? Definitely one of my favorite kissing scenes in recent memory. I love the unique setting and manner that C.J. Redwine used here, and forgot how much until I re-read it. I'm looking forward to seeing what trouble Rachel and Logan managed to get into in DECEPTION.