This is a wonderful, engaging, and riveting trilogy I will reread and enjoy, over and over again. CJ Redwine is an extraordinary author who grabs you heart and soul from beginning to end.
Publisher’s Description: In this final installment of C. J. Redwine’s Defiance trilogy, a rich postapocalyptic YA fantasy perfect for fans of Graceling and Tamora Pierce, Rachel Adams has been kidnapped by enemy forces and is being taken to Rowansmark while her love, Logan McEntire, is imprisoned and awaiting trial, unable to leave Lankenshire. As uneasy alliances are tested and their enemies plot against them, will the two manage to find a way to rid their world of the tyrannical Commander and destroy the tech that controls the deadly Cursed One once and for all?
Major spoilers ahead!
Oh, where to begin, where to begin. It’s no shock I adore this series – and although I was saddened to see it end, it could not have come more full circle with all my expectations. It soared beyond them, even.
Deliverance begins with a separation of two souls – Rachel has been captured by the enemy, Ian McEntire and the Rowansmark army. We learned in the first two books that Rowansmark is the city-state that believes pain is punishment, and if you can’t survive what you are given, you basically become unworthy. Ian forces Rachel to atone for her crimes and as she comes to terms with the pain embedded within her (as well as physical injuries) she realizes she’s stronger than her despair. Without the blindfold of doubt covering her, she begins to plan. She knows Logan will move heaven and earth to find her – and as you read on, she discovers allies in places she least expects. Quinn is her constant, silent, and ninja-like companion as he evades their enemies through the shadows. And there’s someone in the jail cells – someone she’s believed dead (and no, not her father) and someone who may hold the key to both her and Logan’s salvation.
Logan is imprisoned in Lankenshire, a city-state he thought might ally with them until he brought an entire army bearing down upon them. Trapped in a cell with Willow and some of the Baalboden survivors he trusts most, he struggles to come up with a plan that will best Carrington and Rowansmark’s armies, hopefully gain him allies, and get him back to Rachel. With pain marking every step of his journey, Logan manages to escape with the help of his worst enemy, Commander Chase. Knowing he’s going to be betrayed, he comes up with a plan that will deliver him to Rowansmark and stay one step ahead of everything and everyone that’s betting against him.
Though I won’t divulge on how it ends, I will say that Rachel and Logan eventually meet up and they’ve both come a long way from their dark moments held in Defiance and Deception. They’re stronger. They’re more in love than ever. And they’re ready to face whatever comes at them. A war erupts in Rowansmark and there are losses on both sides. Pain becomes a way to feel alive – and love becomes the bond that holds everyone together as one.
CJ Redwine blends multiple storylines together in beautiful sequence, giving it just the right amount of emotion that pulls readers in based on their abilities to relate to the feelings of love, loss, and strength. I’m amazed by her creativity – from the creation of the “Cursed One” or taninnyn, to the use of technology and weaponry, to the beautifully flawed characters that you fall in love more with every page. Great ending to a phenomenal trilogy. Five hearts all the way!
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Welcome to Saturday Shorts where we feature short stories and novellas. This novella both preludes and coincides with the story that begins in Defiance.
Publisher’s Description: A thrilling, dangerous adventure, this prequel novella to C.J. Redwine’s Defiance and Deception features Quinn, a popular character from the series.
Quinn Runningbrook knows a hundred ways to kill a man and make it hurt. He can track, ambush, and torture his prey with terrifying skill—just like his father taught him. But every kill consumes another piece of him, and Quinn longs to stop, to save himself and his sister Willow from becoming like his father—a man who kills for entertainment.
But when Quinn refuses to torture a group of trespassers caught too close to the Tree Village where his family lives, and instead kills them quickly, he disobeys a direct order from his father . . . and Willow is forced to do it instead. Suddenly, Quinn isn’t the favored apprentice to the family business of “protecting” the Tree Village anymore. Willow is.
When Jared Adams—a courier from the nearby city-state of Baalboden—is caught traveling too close to their borders, Willow is ordered to torture him for information. But Quinn knows that Jared doesn’t deserve torture or death. And he realizes he has to take action…or the fate chosen for Willow and himself by their father will remain carved in stone.
The novella follows Quinn and brings up the backstory of his former tree-life hell. Quinn and Willow’s father is a bloodthirsty hunter who knows Quinn doesn’t really have the heart to kill an innocent. However, once his vicious dad sets his sights on bringing his young daughter up to speed, completing things her older brother won’t do, Quinn decides to step up and it puts him in a world of hurt.
Quinn crosses paths with Jared Adams, Rachel’s father, and his trouble gets worse. He knows he’s supposed to kill Jared, but can’t make himself do it, so instead brings him to the tree village for questioning. His father isn’t pleased and forces Willow to kill Jared – an act that Quinn stops. In a rush of fury, Quinn kills his father in a fight to the death, and the siblings are exiled for his crimes.
The story is briefly mentioned throughout the Courier’s Daughter trilogy as Rachel tries to figure out the enigmatic history of her most trusted friend and guardian. Quinn, though a potent killer, is marred by his scars but a better man for it. I love this story because it shows how Jared and the Runningbrook siblings meet – and the perilous journey that begins with a choice. CJ Redwine shows off her skills as she runs through each and every emotion, action, and decision that keeps making the storyline better and better. A five, naturally and recommended to short story fans.
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A lot of people think sequels fall flat. I had no doubt that this series would be one of the exceptions because, you know, it’s C.J. Redwine and she’s amazing! The second book of the Courier’s Daughter trilogy has higher stakes, intense action, and of course more kissing scenes! Be warned readers, spoilers ahead.
Publisher’s Description: Baalboden has been ravaged. The brutal Commander’s whereabouts are unknown. And Rachel, grief stricken over her father’s death, needs Logan more than ever. With their ragged group of survivors struggling to forge a future, it’s up to Logan to become the leader they need—with Rachel by his side. Under constant threat from rival Carrington’s army, who is after the device that controls the Cursed One, the group decides to abandon the ruins of their home and take their chances in the Wasteland.
But soon their problems intensify tenfold: someone—possibly inside their ranks—is sabotaging the survivors, picking them off one by one. The chaos and uncertainty of each day puts unbearable strain on Rachel and Logan, and it isn’t long before they feel their love splintering. Even worse, as it becomes clear that the Commander will stop at nothing to destroy them, the band of survivors begins to question whether the price of freedom may be too great—and whether, hunted by their enemies and the murderous traitor in their midst, they can make it out of the Wasteland alive.
In this daring sequel to Defiance, with the world they once loved forever destroyed, Rachel and Logan must decide between a life on the run and standing their ground to fight.
Possible spoilers beyond this point.
Deception picks up right where Defiance leaves off – Baalboden has been destroyed by the Cursed One and the Commander has teamed up with an army — an army bent on revenge against Logan and Rachel. Now a grief-stricken Rachel and insecure Logan must lead a large party of survivors through the Wastelands – through the untamed wilderness and abandoned cities – while trying to maintain morale and keep everyone alive. But what starts out as a race against the Commander becomes a fight for survival as the Wastelands fill with danger – and a wolf in sheep’s clothing is picking their numbers off one by one… a traitor that happens to be from Logan’s mysterious past.
Let’s get real here. Even without the army pressing down on them AND even without the saboteur in their midst, the fact that Logan has to step up – while his girlfriend is lost in a storm of emotions, while everything is betting against him – and guide a bunch of inexperienced citizens who are used to their safe walls and lack of knowledge says so much about the strong characters C.J. Redwine writes. Logan’s intelligence and logic follows him throughout the whole series as he navigates through all the stuff I mentioned above. Though he’s not a character who’s entirely confident all the time, he expresses his confidence through Rachel. Logan continues to be one of my favorite lead male characters because of how engaging he simply is. It’s hard to find a teenage boy in books who encompasses both the physical and mental skills girls falls in love with. Not to mention in my head, he’s a little blonde cutie.
I also love Rachel. She’s fierce and I have the feeling that if she existed in some strange universe I was a part of, she’d be the kind of character I’d go “sic ‘em!” and she’d be all over that. She’s a natural fighter – which also means she fights off her feelings too. She’s lost two people already (and loses another halfway through this particular book) and she’s overwhelmed by grief. Though Logan does his best to hold her together, Quinn also steps up and becomes a great friend, supporting her in ways that Logan sometimes can’t. Which of course, causes a bit of friction – but nothing to fear Logan fan girls; we all know who Rachel is meant to be with. But with everything that’s going on, Rachel kind of numbs herself against the pain, an action which allows a certain traitor to take advantage of her.
By the end of this book, you’ll be emotionally charged. So much anger, happiness, hope, and despair within one book. It’s beautiful – the way things fall apart – and written in such a way that it gives readers a taste of their own adventure as they follow the perilous journey Logan and Rachel through everything that is thrown at them. This sequel is perfect for people looking for lots of action, mystery, romance, and the one thing you should never give up: hope. Once again, Deception will receives a five from me. C.J. Redwine owns my soul and I like it. 🙂
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It always takes me a while to compose myself after reading this series. There are so many things I like and absolutely nothing I don’t. This is one of my favorite trilogies and C.J. Redwine is one of my favorite authors.
Publisher’s Description: 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.
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.
Possible spoilers beyond this point.
Defiance is set in a post-apocalyptic world destroyed by the “Cursed One,” a leviathan type of creature that lives underground. Though details within the story suggest it is set in present time, the world itself is thrown back into the dark ages. Great civilizations have been transformed into “city-states” which are far and few between once used to be states and larger cities. Technology is rare to find – cars have been replaced with carriages, for example – and knowledge, at least within the main city of Baalboden in this first book, is limited. It makes for a world with deep secrets and even more dangerous enemies.
Rachel Adams narrates part of the story and Logan McEntire tells the other half. Rachel is a strong, independent, and emotionally-driven girl trapped in a world where she’s told what to do, where to go, and what she can know pretty much 24/7. It makes for a fabulous set up when we’re introduced to Logan (who has my heart forever) who’s the incredibly intelligent and yet awkward boy who once broke Rachel’s heart. Throughout the story, each perspective gives an insight to the way both characters think – and as their world begins to crumble, they realize just how badly they need each other.
In an adventurous tale, we begin with the introduction of the Commander, and Rachel’s most trusted friend, Oliver. Rachel’s father has been missing, lost during a courier mission. Presumed dead, the Commander insists Rachel’s guardianship be transferred onto someone new. Though it was supposed to be Oliver – to both Rachel and Logan’s surprise, the protectorship falls on Logan instead. And so begins their story. Rachel is determined to prove her father is still alive and wants to search for him. Logan also wants to find him but keep Rachel safe. Tensions of the heart arise, both characters wanting to find Jared in their own ways – but when disaster strikes in the worst way, the two finally get past their issues and work together. Only the plan fails and things get worse. Separated, Rachel must fight her way through a treacherous world outside the walls of Baalboden where empowered women are mistrusted, alongside a stranger with an agenda of his own. An imprisoned Logan must find a way to escape and find Rachel. As each fights through the wilderness battling the “Cursed One” and their own personal demons, it becomes a race of time in a world where everything and anything is betting against their survival.
This story has breathtaking romance as each character grows with every encounter, even when they’re trying to tear the other down. Logan and Rachel simply shine like diamonds and I love reading as their story unfolds. The emotion in this book goes from humor to sadness in seconds and hardcore fight scenes to tender romantic nights. Defiance is a rollercoaster of adventure, told with beautiful writing with characters readers can truly fall in love with. I give this book a SHINY FIVE.
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