Defiance by C.J. Redwine
While the other girls in the walled city-state of Baalboden learn to sew and dance, Rachel Adams learns to track and hunt. While they bend like reeds to the will of their male Protectors, she uses hers for sparring practice.
When Rachel's father fails to return from a courier mission and is declared dead, the city's brutal Commander assigns Rachel a new Protector: her father's apprentice, Logan—the boy she declared her love to and who turned her down two years before. Left with nothing but fierce belief in her father's survival, Rachel decides to escape and find him herself.
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.
Not gonna lie, about 90 percent of the reason I picked this book up is because one of the main characters is named Rachel. I'd never read a book that has a protagonist with my name, and as silly as it sounds, I was really excited to pick it up. (Does anyone else experience the excitement of encountering characters with your name in books? I've come across some secondary or minor characters named Rachel before, but never a main character, so, it made me really curious to pick this book up. :) It was cool to see my name sprinkled throughout the book. I know, I know. I'm a total dork.)
I've noticed some people classifying Defiance as dystopian, but I would say that it's high fantasy. Defiance takes place in a city-state called Baalboden that is walled in to protect the citizens from outside dangers. It is ruled by the Commander, who is pretty much a dictator. Under his rule, every woman is assigned a Protector, either a father, older family member, or husband, and women are expected to obey their Protectors completely. This whole Protectorship thing was incredibly frustrating to read about because HELLO?!?! ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?! but it was also really cool and interesting, and, let's be real, not too far off from what has happened in history.
Defiance is told from the alternating points-of-view of Rachel and Logan. Rachel is kind of a badass. In a society where women are not allowed to go certain places without their Protectors under threat of execution, Rachel is the girl who completely rejects the whole idea of what a woman's purpose in society is. Her father taught her to be independent and strong, and he made sure that Rachel became a skilled fighter. Rachel is tough and strong and impulsive, and, well, defiant. Logan is Rachel's father's apprentice. Growing up as a poor orphan, Rachel's family took him in and treated him as one of their own. He is intelligent and logical, and he loves inventing. His inventions help himself and Rachel a lot throughout the book, and the advanced technology he uses is an interesting contrast to the high fantasy setting.
Logan's steady logic balances out Rachel's wild and impulsive behavior. The two of them are so different from each other that their strengths cancel out each other's weaknesses. What one of them lacks, the other has. The two of them complement each other so well, and throughout the book, they become partners. They both rely on and protect each other. Because their relationship is so balanced and perfect, they obviously fall in love. Duh. I really like their relationship, and I appreciate that there is no case of insta-love. As the two of them spend more time together and get to know each other better, they gradually begin to develop feelings for each other, and they realize how important the other one is to them. After all of the terrible things they have been through, all they have is each other, so their relationship feels very natural and realistic.
For the most part, this book is exciting and fast-paced. There are some parts in the middle that seemed a bit slow to me, but the beginning and end are crammed full of action. Logan and Rachel deal with different kinds of danger, and the stakes are always high. They're strong and smart, and they are willing to fight for what is important to them. I really liked reading about these characters, and the situations they find themselves in are the results of a well-crafted plot.
Defiance is an adventurous high fantasy story with a taste of romance. It isn't hard to get lost in the strange and unfamiliar world of Rachel and Logan. I really like the characters, the setting, and the plot of this book. Though I wouldn't say I'm truly-madly-deeply in love with Defiance, I can't think of anything bad to say about it. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for an adventure story. I would also recommend this to people who are named Rachel, because seriously, how cool is it to share a name with a main character?! :D