Author: C.J. Redwine
Series: The Courier's Daughter #1
Date: September 2012
Source: ARC from publisher
Genres: Dystopian, Fantasy
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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.
Defiance is an incredible book, with each page like a move in an intricate, high-stakes chess game between the characters. It was beautifully written and full of unexpected twists. Best of all, it has Logan, who in the author C.J. Redwine’s own words is like the love-child of Sherlock Holmes and MacGuyver.
The book is set in a dystopian city-state society, where citizens live in walled cities in fear of a Leviathan-like ground monster called The Chosen One. Baalboden, the city where the story starts, is ruled by the sinister, power-hungry Commander Chase who tells Rachel that her father, a courier, hasn’t returned on time and has been declared dead. He hands over her Protectorship to her father’s young apprentice, Logan.
The story was well-plotted, working both character-driven scenes and high action. Even when I thought the story was going the way I expected, Redwine managed to catch me out at every turn. It kept me on my toes the entire time. The words were also beautifully crafted and showed a great range from humorous awkwardness, real heart-wrenching emotion and everything in between.
The book uses an altering point of view narration between Rachel and Logan, and subsequently both main characters were incredibly well-developed. Their motives, priorities and feelings matured with each chapter. Rachel, with each passing loss grew from being stubborn, determined, and impulsive to more thoughtful, grounded, and detached and I came to admire how she coped with the cruel hand fate dealt her. Logan, always logical and well-planned, started to act on his emotions a little more. It was a nice contrast as they took on some of the other’s personality traits–they are an extremely well-matched pair.
The narration style also allowed us to get into the hero’s brain, and boy was it a good one. I wanted to take a blanket and snuggle up inside the head of our resident inventor. Logan grew up as an outcast orphan, his mother sentenced to death for breaking the law at the hands of the Commander. He taught himself how to wield a sword and to invent tech in order to create a better life for himself and there’s nothing I enjoy more than a smart, skilled fighter. Logan also has a strong sense of justice, loyalty and fairness, and when mixed with a certain awkwardness makes him extremely charming. I especially love his logical mind, always thinking through best and worst case scenarios, always having a plan of action, always succeeding in finding a way out of each passingly worse situation. This is definitely someone I would want as my Protector—or, you know, to Claim me.
The Commander is an excellent villain, the perfect mix of ruthless and controlling. He was a genuine threat to Rachel and Logan throughout the book and I always felt nervous during each of their encounters. Sweet Oliver was a great father figure to them both, someone they loved and respected and he was comforting. There are also glimpses of other minor characters that I have a feeling will grow into their own in the second book and I can’t wait.
I highly recommend this book if you’re a fan of anything dystopian, fantasy or if you’re just in need of a new book boyfriend. Best Case Scenario: You love the book. Worst Case Scenario: You dislike the book, but love Logan anyway. It’s a win-win. Trust me, Logan won’t let you down. “If you can’t believe that right now, believe in me.”