Home / Books / YA Book Review: Defiance by C.J. Redwine

YA Book Review: Defiance by C.J. Redwine

Confession time: I was giving Defiance the ole’ side-eye squint at first. I wasn’t too sure what this book was all about, but I came around. It was more than I expected and hoped.

Book Review: Defiance by C.J. Redwine

GoodReads | Amazon | Author Website

defiance cj redwine

Title & Author: Defiance by C.J. Redwine

Genre: YA Fantasy – Dystopia, Dragons

Release Date: August 28, 2012

Series: #1 in the Defiance series

Publisher: Baltzer + Bray

How I Got the Book: Bought


“Within the walls of Baalboden, beneath the shadow of the city’s brutal leader, Rachel Adams has a secret. While other girls sew dresses 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 one who handed her heart right back to her. Left with nothing but a 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.”

Rebels With a Cause

In YA, there is no shortage of spunky heroines. Defiance is no different – Rachel has been raised by her father (a tracker) to be resourceful, strong and smart. This makes her stand out in the small post-apocalyptic village of Baalboden.

Women there must always be accompanied by a protector and are submissive and obedient. Rachel’s protector is her father, but since he went missing on a recent mission for the Commander, her estranged friend Logan has been asked to take up that duty.

What I loved about Rachel is that she’s tough and sweet at the same time. She fights for what she believes in, but what happens along the way makes her doubt herself and her mission.

For me, I feel most connected to characters when there’s an emotional and personal journey. Characters who stay static and just have a one-track mission, which is replaced by another one in the following sequels are just too plain jane for me. Rachel’s growth and progression throughout the book really held my attention and kept me turning those pages.

Now – I HAVE to talk about the romance in Defiance. It was the best I’ve read in awhile. I think because it starts off with the idea that Logan had already rejected Rachel.

She was young and infatuated with him – and told him! He declined, saying he needed to focus on this work. So instead of Defiance starting with Rachel swooning over Logan in typical YA fashion, she instead is super pissed at him (duh).

So already, the dynamic is completely different. Also, kudus to Logan for being a smart nerdy type! Nailed it!!

Dragons FTW

Normally, I love dragons! But there are mean and killer in Defiance. Also, they are called “Cursed Ones.” I couldn’t help but smirk a bit every time the “wyrms” where called that.

There is some pretty interesting mysteries associated with the terrible Cursed One, so I’m very interested to see where Redwine takes part 2 of the story.


A solid YA debut. The characters are what drove the story for me, and the action scenes and tracking of Cursed Ones only helped. Defiance looks like the beginning of a beautiful series.

About Lisa Parkin

I'm a hardcore lover of young adult fiction and have been reviewing books since 2011. Other interests include Downton Abbey, heat lightning storms, Harry Potter land and (begrudingly) one orange tabby.