Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Defiance by CJ Redwine: Review + Guest Post

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C.J. Redwine
Series: Defiance, #1
Publication date: August 28th 2012
by Balzer + Bray


Within the walls of Baalboden, beneath the shadow of the city’s brutal leader, Rachel Adams has a secret. While other girls sew dresses, host dinner parties, and obey their male Protectors, Rachel knows how to survive in the wilderness and deftly wield a sword. When her father, Jared, fails to return from a courier mission and is declared dead, the Commander assigns Rachel a new Protector, her father’s apprentice, Logan—the same boy Rachel declared her love for two years ago, and the same boy who handed her heart right back to her. Left with nothing but fierce belief in her father’s survival, Rachel decides to escape and find him herself. But treason against the Commander carries a heavy price, and what awaits her in the Wasteland could destroy her.

At nineteen, Logan McEntire is many things. Orphan. Outcast. Inventor. As apprentice to the city’s top courier, Logan is focused on learning his trade so he can escape the tyranny of Baalboden. But his plan never included being responsible for his mentor’s impulsive daughter. Logan is determined to protect her, but when his escape plan goes wrong and Rachel pays the price, he realizes he has more at stake than disappointing Jared.

As Rachel and Logan battle their way through the Wasteland, stalked by a monster that can’t be killed and an army of assassins out for blood, they discover romance, heartbreak, and a truth that will incite a war decades in the making.

*A copy was provided by HarperCollins for review purposes*

In a futuristic setting with walled-in cities to stave off a monstrous killing machine, Defiance is a mix of dystopian and fantasy that has a very interesting premise, although its characters did leave me feeling kind of uncomfortable, as well as annoyed.

As it started out I began to really like our female lead, Rachel. She was tough and confident, knowing how to take care of herself, unlike other women in this city. As the book progresses, I found she made a lot of impromptu decisions – trying to escape without a strong plan in place for example – which pestered me a little, leaving cracks in the image of an intelligent and wise character I had thought her to be. Still, I didn’t downright dislike her as a character, but I never grew to love her either. As for our male lead, Logan, he comes off as a very condescending love interest who acts more like he’s highly irritated by Rachel than he’s (apparently) falling in love with her. At one point during a rather unpleasant arbitrary conversation where she asks simply “What is that supposed to mean?” — a phrase that I’m sure you, like myself, use regularly and are quite able to interpret — his reaction is “Maybe if I enunciate clearly, she’ll understand.” Then when she doesn’t fall for his lines: “Speaking slowly solved absolutely nothing.”… This is about where I realized I’d gotten really disturbed by his personality and the fact that he was apparently the love interest we were meant to root for. I never grew to like him one bit, consequently making the romance in this book fall flat for me. Which is a shame because if not for my issues with these characters, this book could have easily blown my mind.

Luckily, the premise still kept me engaged. The slow moving plot in Defiance is actually done attractively and lets you savor the entrancing, yet terrifying world that we’re introduced to. The leader of this city is an evil creep who will get under your skin as only a great villain can. Yielding power over this whole town, he’s turned it into an old school anti-feminist culture reminiscent of an era way past gone. With a leader that dishes out executions if a woman dares walk through the market alone, the tone of the book is very dreary and distressing. I, myself, am a fan of darker reads so I did enjoy this world building quite a bit. I was also kept fascinated by the idea of a fire breathing beast roaming just outside the walls, giving the book a little fantastical feel. Throughout this story, we’re switched between Rachel and Logan’s POV, giving us a journey in both views, which is especially appreciated in cases like this where they’re in two different situations, fighting for their lives. Once we get in the thick of it, it becomes a highly intense read that has just the right amount of action to keep you on your toes until the end.

Even though I wasn’t taken by the characters, I still found Defiance’s premise entertaining. There is a lot of bloodshed, and a dim future that makes us doubly curious about book two. I think fans of fantasy may just see themselves lost in this dangerous world.  

3 Hot Espressos

Guest Post by C.J. Redwine
5 Favorite Movies 
(AKA Movies I Would Dress In Costume For. In Public. To The Everlasting Shame of my Kids.)

1. Harry Potter (#1, 3, 5, and both 7s. It’s probably cheating to lump them all together like this, but that’s what I am. A cheating author who cheats. Also? I showed up for the premiere of #6 dressed as Minerva McGonagall. My hubby was a Death Eater. Yeah. That’s how we roll.)


3. The Dark Knight (“Why so serious?” Oh, Heath. What an artistic genius you were.)

4. Pirates of the Carribean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (Why IS the rum always gone? I don’t know, Captain Jack, but I’ll help you look. You know, forever. If that’s what it takes.)

5. The Princess Bride (The most quotable movie of ALL TIME. Inconceivable? I do not think that word means what you think it means. Hallo! My name is Inigo Montoya! You killed my father. Prepare to die. He’s only mostly dead. Mawwige! Mawwige is what bwings us togever today!…. I’ll stop now or this is just going to go on all day.)

Honorable Mentions (Totally allowed in a favorites list! Right? RIGHT?)

6. Sherlock Holmes #1 & #2 (Robert Downey Jr, Jude Law, and super smart writing? Please, sir, may I have another? PLEASE?)

7. Mary Poppins (I regularly rewatch this. I can sing every song. Please don’t ask me to at a book signing because once you start a MP sing-a-long, you don’t stop until you sing them ALL and that can get very … awkward. For others. It’s hard to make me feel awkward. I own that shizz.)

8. How To Train Your Dragon (Just. So. Amazing. I cried. Ugly cried. Ridiculously ugly cried. Also, I really want a cute blac dragon as a pet. Feel free to bring me one if you have a spare.)

9. The Lord of the Rings. (My Precioussssss.)

10. Inception (Dude. This movie messed with my head. MESSED WITH IT. I still can’t think of that last shot of the spinning top without feeling a surge of disquiet that makes me nuts. It’s like hearing a symphony and being denied the last measure. Nothing resovles inside my head! It’s just hanging there, waiting to taunt me with it’s unfinishedness!)

In retropect, I realize I should’ve just titled this my Top Ten Favorite Movies because clearly I am unable to limit myself. I am, however, too lazy at this point to go back and revise so … it is what it is. What are some of your favorite movies?

Thanks so much for dropping by, CJ! And I’ve loved every single one of these movies, (except I haven’t seen Sherlock 2 yet) so obvioulsy you have fab taste! 😉 – Inception literally blew my mind! O_O


C.J. Redwine loves stilettos, lemon bars, any movie starring Johnny Depp, and books. C.J. holds a degree in English Literature from Pepperdine University and now lives in Nashville, Tennessee with her husband, four kids, two spastic cats, and one long-suffering dog.

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Canadian blogger, wife, mother, coffee lover, and sarcastic at heart! She has had a love for all things bookish since before Amazon and eReaders existed *le gasp*. You can also find her organizing tours and other fun things at Xpresso Book Tours.

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35 Responses to “Defiance by CJ Redwine: Review + Guest Post”

  1. Nick

    Aww! 🙁 I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy this book as much as you wanted to Giselle, but I can see why you didn’t like it. I agree about Rachel’s poor decisions. It annoyed me a little too. :/
    I liked the story itself though.
    Great honest review, Giselle.

    Those are some pretty epic movies! 🙂 Some of my own favorites are in it. 🙂

  2. Silverlight

    I really enjoyed the plot of this story, and I really loved the menacing,unique beast. I can understand your points about the characters, IMO, I think it would of faired better without the romantic elements? All in all it didn’t sway me from loving this book.

    Lovely review, and guest post!

  3. Amy

    Awesome review and guest post. It’s too bad that you didn’t enjoy the book more. I have been starting to like fantasy more so I think I would enjoy it. I do get annoyed with characters easy though, so that might bother me a bit.

    Love the movie list. I have to agree with most of those!! I think The Princess Bride is my all time fave!!

  4. Rachel @ Unforgettable Books

    Agree with so many of those movies. Especially The Dark Knight and Princess Bride!!!!! Indigo is the best! The scene of Indigo and Westley fighting is hilarious.
    Lovely review Giselle!!!!! I always trust your critical opinion. I’m glad you liked the plot overall, even if you were disappointed with the characters, with Logan.

  5. P.E.

    Nice review and post! I can see what you mean about the characters, but I think I’ll read Defiance anyway because the plot does sound interesting. 🙂

  6. Kristilyn (Reading In Winter)

    Great review, Giselle! And what a great guest post! Fabulous movie picks — The Princess Bride is an AWESOME movie, with SO MANY quotes! I love it! And the Batman movies ROCK, as do the Sherlock Holmes ones!!

    Thanks for sharing!

  7. Alexa

    I can’t wait to read this book! And I would totally dress up like a Sherlock Holmes, Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings character 😉

  8. Katie @ BlookGirl

    What a wonderful, thorough review! I am a bit disappointed that you didn’t love this, as I’ve been wavering on whether or not to read it and I was _really_ hoping it would be good. Oh well! I may still give it a read, but only after I borrow it from a friend or the library. I _hate_ jerk love interests! >.<

  9. Mel - Thedailyprophecy.

    Harry Potter, Tangled, Sherlock holmes and LOTR. Hell yeah! And Inception really messed with my head too; I can’t stand it! Awesome interview.

    About the story, such a shame that you never fell in love with the characters. Especially because you liked Rachel in the beginning. The villain sounds great and I liked the overall story, so I’m definitely going to read it 🙂

    Thanks for sharing!

  10. Molli @ Once Upon a Prologue

    Hmm, fair review! Rachel was a bit too rash for my taste sometimes, too! But she and Logan had that whole love-interest-with-history vibe going on that I SO dig…a lot. So naturally, I fell for them. 😀 I liked the plot as well. It’s too bad the MC’s didn’t grab you but I’m glad you did enjoy Defiance!

    I LOVE CJ’s Top 5/10. Amusingly enough, most of those would be on my list, too. ESPECIALLY HP and Inception!

  11. Keertana

    Wonderful review and guest post, Giselle! I’ve seen a lot of mixed reviews of this novel, but I have to say that yours seems to cover all the positives and negatives perfectly. It definitely seems to be a fascinating read, but I doubt I’ll be particularly taken by Logan or even Rachel for that matter. Still, I’m curious to read it when it releases next week and I loved Redwine’s response to your question! She really did pick some great movies, didn’t she? 😉

    Ivy Book Bindings

  12. Aneeqah

    Lovely review Giselle! I’m really looking forward to reading Defiance, although now I have definitely lowered my expectations. The characters sound a bit…strange. But hopefully I’ll still like the book! CJ has awesome taste in movies! I loved Tangled, Inception, and How to Train Your Dragon. All of them are so awesome!

    Fabulous review! <3

  13. Maji Bookshelf

    Rachel seems like a character I would enjoy reading! and I love most of the movies C.J. Redwine mentioned as well! She does seem to have awesome taste! Thanks for sharing Giselle! Great post!
    – Farah @MajiBookshelf

  14. Jenni @ Alluring Reads

    Oh dear, that guys sounds like a pompous jerk. It’s too bad the romance didn’t do a bit more for you but at least the setting was spot on. I’m looking forward to reading this one when it comes out!


  15. Christina

    Oooh, yikes. I’m sorry you were so creeped out by Logan. I liked him okay, but I didn’t ship them as a couple much at all, because of his attitude. He acts more like a father figure than a boyfriend. I’m kind of hoping that the wild boy from the end becomes her love interest. I would be really excited to see a shift like that, especially if the POV stayed the same.

  16. Danny

    I loved Defiance and .. this Top 5 *chuckles* Movie list perfectly fits my taste! I would need to add Star Wars, but the rest?
    Harry Potter. how I loved these movies *sigh*
    Lord of the Ring? Epic – no other words needed!

    And every movie with Robert Downey Jr and Johnny Depp are always a bringer 🙂

  17. Mary @ BookSwarm

    Seriously, I can’t wait for this one. I’ll choose to ignore Logan and the supposed romance and focus more on the kick-assery! And I’m all over CJ’s top 10 movies…except Inception. I just…no. Not my thing, I guess.

  18. Amber Elise

    Although this is SUPER random, your review pretty much sums of my reaction to Glitch. Wrong book I know but it’s what I thought of!

    Haha, thanks for the review! Sorry it didn’t live up to the hype!

  19. ShreShre

    I’m not much for blood-shed (makes moi queasy) but the premise sounds really good,so I’ve been waiting for this one forever 😛 Thank god it received at least a 3 from you, otherwise…..<– my heart. lol. So sorry you didn't like it as much as you thought you would 🙁 But there are many other books that are amazing and waiting for you, so cheer up 😀 Surprisingly, I have watched ALL of those movies and loved them too 😀 Thanks for the amazing review and guest post Giselle!

  20. Kara_Malinczak

    Yeah, you are not the only blogger who complained about the love interest, Giselle. So don’t feel you are alone. I am going to pick up this book, but I know I’m gonna hate that dude too. I hope, like you, that the premise and storyline are enough to keep me engaged. Lovely review as usual.

  21. Candace

    I have seen some mixed things about this book but I still look forward to reading it.
    Tangled! I LOVE that movie! I’m not sure there’s another movie that made me laugh that hard. And yes, once you start singing Mary Poppins songs you cant stop until you’ve song them all. Its just not possible!

  22. Jessi (Geo)

    Tangled, How to Train Your Dragon, and Pirates of the Caribbean. WIN. If I didn’t already love her from reading Defiance, it is definitely a sure thing now. XD

  23. Kristin @ My ParaHangover

    OMG!! So many awesome movies!! I think I have halloween costume ideas now!! Except my kid is 6 so he won’t be embarassed! And Inception is my fave movie (“Quick, kiss me.” – oh Arthur!!)

    Another great review, Giselle! I’m actually married to a “Logan” so I totally get the character 🙂 They are a pain in the ass… but I love him so (tee, hee)

  24. Aylee

    Hum, I can see you’re totally right about Logan, Giselle. I didn’t realize it to the full extent myself when I read Defiance, but can completely see your point of view and now I’m a little annoyed with him too! Bleh. Well, at least the premise was awesome, like you said. And also, C.J. Redwine has excellent taste in movies!