Phew, it's finally over. "Defiance" was a challenge for me. A gritty blend of YA fantasy & dystopian themes, it seemed, at first glance, to be exactly the kind of book I would enjoy. Until I started reading it. The world Redwine has created is a dark one. I don't mind that, usually. I didn't even mind the loathsome Commander, because every good book demands a villain we all secretly hope will come to a nasty end. And I loved Logan. He is an ideal hero, perfectly balancing brains and brawn, and I rooted for him the entire way. Without him, I wouldn't have survived this book. Rachel, on the other hand....oyyy. I spent most of the book wishing she wasn't in it. I wanted to cheer for Rachel, I really did. She's beautiful, fierce, and isn't afraid to stand up to herself, to speak out against the injustices she sees around her. All very admirable qualities. Here's the problem. That fierceness of hers? It's unrelenting. She's constantly angry, constantly growling and snapping at the people around her. I understand her bitterness, to a point, and I'm even willing to forgive a certain amount of unpleasant behavior because, you know, life sucks and all. I get it. What I don't get is why I was subjected to page after page of it. Where's the balance? The flashes of humor, warmth, or any other kind of redeeming characteristics that will convince me this character is someone worth reading about? Rachel only had a handful of warm and fuzzy moments. The rest of the time, she oozed negative energy. I dunno, maybe it's me. Maybe I've been spoiled by too many good books, written by authors who know how to write likeable, well-rounded, kickass heroines. All I really know for sure is Defiance's Rachel came up miserably short.