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I Defy Your Defiance

A review of C.J. Redwine's Defiance, a book I had to pull out the old fake family emergency trick to get away from.

I Defy Your Defiance

BOOK REPORT for Defiance by C.J. Redwine

Cover Story: Blah Blah Blah
BFF Charm: Hell No
Swoonworthy Scale: 6
Talky Talk: S/He Said-S/He Said
Bonus Factor: Tremors
Relationship Status: I Faked A Family Emergency

Cover Story: Blah Blah Blah

Sorry, I just don't have much else to say. The woods, lots gothy black, a bow and arrow that brings to mind Katniss, and the ever-present fiery red hair (what's up with that? I mean, I covet ginger locks as much as the next girl, but why are there SO MANY redheads on YA covers these days?). Yawn.

The Deal:

Back during the 21st-century energy crisis, oil companies drilled deeper and deeper in search of fuel, only too dig too deeply. They woke strange fire-breathing beasts who destroyed most of Earth's civilizations and who drove survivors into walled city-state compounds. Rachel lives in Baalboden, ruled by the leader of the U.S.'s doomed, last-ditch military effort to exterminate the monsters, where all women live under the aegis of male Protectors and get "claimed" at the age of 18. Rachel is fierce and independent, and doesn't need a man to boss her around or take care of her. The Commander is ruthless, probably hiding a dark past, and has Rachel in his crosshairs. Rachel's dad was one of Baalboden's best Trackers, but he never returned from his last mission, and now Rachel and Logan (her father's apprentice, and the boy who rejected her declaration of love two years earlier) are on a mission to find her father and the secrets with which he disappeared -- before the Commander can.

BFF Charm: Hell No

Look, Rachel, I appreciate that you've been through hell and back, but HONEY. Someone needs to sit you down and explain that homicidal rage does not equal strength -- sometimes it takes more strength to put your personal lusts for revenge aside for the greater good. Also, being tough and taking care of yourself and not needing a man is awesome, but if you don't want to be alone and friendless (I don't mean man-less), you've got to learn to communicate and compromise, because girlfriend, you are SCARY. Please don't kill me for speaking truth, kthnxbai.

Swoonworthy Scale: 6

Despite my lack of friendly feelings toward Rachel, and my intense automatic prejudice against any guy named Logan, thanks to Gilmore Girls (sorry, Veronica, but Rory's Logan came on the scene for me before your Logan did, so he was already ruined), there was actually a fair amount of chemistry between the two. I chalk it up to the dozens of tingly near-kisses.

Talky Talk:S/He Said-S/He Said

The book alternates between Rachel's and Logan's points of view, but I found myself getting confused about who was narrating. It's not an even chapter-by-chapter switch, which is actually cool and a good thing because it's less forced, but both characters sounded too much alike for me to distinguish between them. Logan did have a "Best Case Scenario/Worst Case Scenario" exercise he liked to play, so whenever that popped up I thought 1. "Oh! It's Logan" and 2. "Animaniacs' 'Good Idea/Bad Idea' segments!".

Additionally, the whole premise fell flat for me. Maybe I'm just jaded about dystopias (I'm not), but it didn't feel compelling. The oil-crisis explanation was pretty thin, and as much as I love my sandworms, both in Dune and Beetlejuice, I had to laugh every time the "Cursed One" -- one of the fire-breathing dragon-worms -- appeared on the scene. Yes, they're really called "Cursed Ones" (or maybe there's just one last surviving worm? I didn't really figure that out). The technology mix was weird, too. I get that without fossil fuels, people go around in wagons and rowboats and shit, but there's an element of high-tech inventions (Logan's an INVENTOR) that, while making sense if they could scavenge old materials, still didn't mix well. I'm also not a fan of steampunk, though, so there you go. 

Bonus Factor: Tremors

Ok, so I just said the fire-breathing dragon-worm was kind of lame, but it did put me in mind of some great OTHER fictional deep-earth-dwelling worms, and that's cool.

Casting Call:

Mia Wasikowska as Rachel

Relationship Status: I Faked A Family Emergency

Book, I gotta come clean. Remember during our one and only date, when I got that phone call I HAD to take? Right after I'd gone to the restroom to wash my hands before dinner? The one that was my mom/dad/brother/best friend/dog/dog's best friend who was sick/in a car crash/just broke up with a one in particular (I honestly can't remember what excuse I used)? Yeah, that was a big, ol' lie -- one of the oldest ones in the book, after, "Let's just be friends," and, "It's not you, it's me," -- and you fell for it. I feel kind of bad now, but let's be honest. There's just no chemistry. It's not you, it's me, so why don't we just be friends?

FTC Full Disclosure: I received my review copy from Balzer + Bray.  I received neither money nor cocktails for writing this review (dammit!). Defiance will be available tomorrow, Aug. 28.

Meghan Miller's photo About the Author: Meghan is an erstwhile librarian in exile from Texas and writer for Forever Young Adult. She loves books, cooking and homey things like knitting and vintage cocktails. Although she’s around books all the time, she doesn’t get to read as much as she’d like.