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.
It's been sixty days since Rachel's father failed to return from his latest mission in the Wasteland and, as the law demands, he is declared dead. The law also demands that Rachel, a single woman, must be given into the care of a new protector. Rachel expects that her new protector will be Oliver, her father's close friend and a man who is almost like a grandfather to her, but to her shock her father's will names Luke instead. Despite her fury at being bound to the boy who had once rejected her profession of love there is nothing that either Luke or Rachel could do about it. In the walled city of Baalboden the Commander's word is law, and both Rachel and Luke remember what happens to those who cross him.
But Rachel has a plan. Deep down she knows that her father could not really be dead and she is determined to find him, with or without Luke's help. Luke too believes that Rachel's father is still alive and he intends to put his unique skills to work to in order to create the tools he needs to traverse the Wasteland and find his mentor. But neither can anticipate the Commander's hatred or his need for revenge and when he foils their plans for escape the two will do whatever is in their power to find Rachel's father, and protect each other.
Loss and anger roll off of the pages as Rachel is forced to mourn a father that she does not believe to be dead and to move in with a man that she intensely dislikes. But we quickly learn that even though, in this world, women have no control over their own lives- are not even permitted to go outside on their own- Rachel is different. Rachel is strong, independent and intelligent, traits that can get her killed if she's not careful. Thankfully Rachel has Luke, who is determined to protect Rachel despite her animosity towards him and his own reluctance to be responsible for her.
The narration in Defiance alternates between Rachel and Luke's point of view so that we get to know and care for both characters equally. We quickly find out that Luke isn't quite the villain that Rachel makes him out to be, though she discovers that for herself soon enough. Where Rachel is passionate and quick to act Luke is thoughtful and composed, always weighing every option. Though Luke's caution is born of experience, as we eventually learn when we find out more about his past. Some secrets, though, are never fully revealed and I expect we will find out more about them in the next book.
While Rachel and Luke's opposing viewpoints and temperaments lead to miscommunications and even danger, their shared struggles do bring them to an understanding and appreciation of each other.
While I was glad that the tense emotions between Rachel and Luke didn't last for too long I was disappointed at how quickly the romance took their place. There wasn't much of a build up to it- Rachel goes quickly from hating him to thinking about him romantically while Luke fights to hide his attraction which eventually builds to a realization of his true feelings (though why he had rejected Rachel in the first place is never actually spelled out). I suppose this is a small thing since it's not like they jump into bed together but I would have liked their to have been a bit more subtlety in the way the romance was developed. On the other hand I've always been a sucker for knight-in-shining-armor stories and while Rachel is no damsel in distress I couldn't blame her for quickly falling, again, for a guy who will breach any obstacle to come to her rescue.
Defiance is an enthralling, fast-paced ride through an apocalyptic world of malicious villains and frightening monsters. The commander is a malevolent presence whose intense hatred of Luke is as much a mystery to the book's characters as it is to the readers, though I do have some guesses. The story is full of loops and bends not hinted at in the book synopsis and so I was constantly on edge trying to guess what might happen next. While I'm not going to give any more away I will say that I was very happy with the ending, which wasn't a cliffhanger (you can let out your breath now) and did wrap up the story in a satisfying way while leaving me still wanting more.
I am very much looking forward to the next book in the series and for the answers I hope to find there.
Thank you to Edelweiss for providing me with an ARC of Defiance for review.
Defiance is scheduled to be released on August 28, 2012