Published: August 28, 2012 (Balzer + Bray)
Format: Digital ARC from publisher via Edelweiss
Summary: 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.
My Review: I had never heard of Defiance until a few weeks ago, when I ran across a review of it over at Bewitched Bookworms. The synopsis sounded very interesting, and the review made me even more eager to read it! I quickly acquired a copy and absolutely flew through it. There was almost nothing I didn't like about this book. From the sparse yet imaginative world of Baalboden and the surrounding Wasteland, to the writing style, to the alternating points of view so I could see the stories of both protagonists, I enjoyed Defiance immensely.
The two main characters were Rachel and Logan, both of whom were freaking awesome. Rachel was dedicated, loyal, and independent. Not to mention that she could take on three fully-grown guys at once with her super fighting skills, courtesy of her father's rule-defying instruction. Logan could kick your butt, make you swoon, and invent some immensely useful contraption at the same time. Alas, though, your swooning would be for naught, because Logan totally only had eyes for Rachel, even though he fought it for a while. The build-up between these two was spectacular, and the chemistry between them was blatant from page one. Speaking of chemistry, there was sparring! Romantically charged sparring/fighting is totally one of my favorite things ever in books, and Rachel and Logan pulled it off wonderfully.
The world of Defiance was engrossing and very easy to get lost in, and the characters were a very big part of that. It had quite the cast of secondary characters, and many played very important roles. There was the old family friend Oliver, the barbarous Commander, the helpful yet mysterious sibling duo, and several others.
Defiance was not a light read; there were many dark elements to it. Rachel and Logan's journey was anything but easy, with obstacles ranging everywhere from the Commander to the malevolent Cursed One that could set you ablaze almost before you could get a chance to run away. In addition to this, there were many internal struggles both - especially Rachel - had to deal with throughout the course of the story.
I think you would be hard-pressed to not enjoy this book. It had a little bit of something for everyone: strong heroine, brilliant-but-gorgeous hero, heart-pounding romance, adventure, suspense, villains, paranormal/fantasy elements, and a very dystopian setting. Defiance was a winner all the way around, and I can't wait to read the sequel!