I had trouble starting Defiance, peeps. If not for fellow readers and bloggers on Goodreads urging me to continue reading I would have DNFed this book and missed out on much awesomeness.
Rachel and Logan's characters are pure unadulterated kickassery. Vivid, avenging angels in their blazing glory, who keep going in the most impossible situations.
The book is violent, explosive, reads like an action-flick and once you keep going you don't stop until the very end.
So, why 4 star rating then?
Like any action flick, Defiance suffers from lack of any decent world-building. I could not for the life of me understand the mechanics of the Cursed Ones aka dragons with no wings who live underground; what is happening now around the world... As I understand the book with its peculiar mix of dystopia and fantasy concentrates on North America. What about the rest of the world?
OK, you say, decade after the Cursed Ones came out of the depths of the Earth civilisation as we know it is destroyed. How? Logan fights one of them and finds out that explosions weaken them. You're telling me that military around the world couldn't use missile strikes on any of these creatures (creatures that do not fly as far as I'm aware) and then cut their underbelly like these two youngsters did? Mind boggles.
So, the world is destroyed by the Cursed Ones, now we have city-states with commanders protecting their cities from them, and nobody knows how. Again, when you find out how they do that, mind boggles at the improbability of the situation.
Here comes my worst pet-peeve ever. Subservient status of women. Are you effing kidding me? Women fought for equality for centuries and it only took 10 years to make them into brainless spineless creatures who do not know how to read and can't go out anywhere without a Protector otherwise they risk being flogged to death.
Rage, rage. That's what I felt.
I admit that there is a possibility of that, but still it takes only 10 years?!!! Not even few generations. You know what? I don't believe it. However evil that Commander was, you are talking about a tiny city-state. Just put poison in his soup and be done with the jerk. Find someone better or take your chances with the Cursed Ones. I would.
This is what I hated in Eve by Anna Carey, and this is what really discouraged me in Defiance. Look, if it was just fantasy I wouldn't have questioned it, but it's a dystopian as well, so there should be some sort of believable transition period between the world as we know it and what it becomes later. I didn't see it or it wasn't explained properly.
If you can get past it, the book is really enjoyable. Logan and Rachel together are a marvel. They communicate instead or shutting each other out, they share their grief and love for each other, they are true partners, equals with their own strengths and weaknesses. Rachel is a fighter, Logan is an inventor who thinks out of the box, although he can fight and track just as well if not better. Rachel is just far crazier than him, and I'm so proud of that girl! She was breathtaking!
So, I do recommend Defiance but with reservations. C.J. is a talented visual author who invokes visceral reactions from her readers, and I would definitely read any of her future books.