Defiance is a rather dark book about a young woman trying to find her father after he fails to make it home on a courier mission in the wilds, which is haunted by this underground creature called the Cursed One (basically a dragon). The package he was carrying is something that her town’s dictator desperately wants.
Life is complicated for our heroine, Rachel, having grown up in a society that represses basic freedoms for females and makes them dependent upon their male “Protectors.” However, her father’s raised her to be able to hold her own in this world by being proficient in weapons, camping, and tracking.
Rachel is forced to join up with Logan, her father’s apprentice, her Protector after her father’s failed return and (surprise surprise) her long-time crush, to try to find him and the mysterious package he failed to deliver.
Defiance is told from the alternating viewpoints of both Rachel and Logan, two people with vastly different thought processes. This adds nice layers to the story by looking at everything through such different lenses.
Pros are characterization (I mentioned it above but, with the exception of the dictator, every character is well-drawn), some of the descriptions, and pacing. The society is also interesting to explore.
Cons include the bad guy, predictability, and some interactions between Rachel and Logan.
As concern’s the villain: he’s a straight up bad guy. We don’t know why. He’s just entirely evil for the sake of being evil. It would be nice to add more layers to his character so the reader can understand more of his motivations.
Additionally, the two tragedies are a bit predictable. The second one seemed unnecessary, as well as eliminating some very interesting options the author could have worked with if she’d chosen a different route.
Overall, some of the personal monologues and dialogues between our main characters are stretched—either through repetition, inconsistency, or melodrama. I’ve written more on this below, if you’re not afraid of spoilers.
The whole wavelength controlling the Cursed One’s movements seemed a bit far-fetched to me. I can understand one wavelength aggravating it and one making it go away, but different wavelengths making it go right or left? I don’t buy it. Besides, if there were some bond created between beast and human, there would be so many delicious issues and implications and things to explore.
Some of the thoughts relating to Rachel and Logan’s relationship were repetitive. But perhaps even bigger of an issue, and overall my biggest problem with the book, was the way the author had her main characters flip-flop over Rachel’s identity. They would talk about irreparable damage and her never being the same and her becoming something else. Then a second later they would be all “hold onto the hope, you’ll always be this wonderful person.” I can understand this coming from Rachel alone—she goes through a LOT in this story and would obviously have issues with incorporating that into her identity. However, Logan’s waffling is less understandable and forgivable to me.
SPOILER ALERT OVER
Overall, as the first novel written by this author, it’s a good start. Defiance is the first of a series and I intend to read the second novel. This is a good book to read for anyone who enjoys stories with a lot of action and romance.