Rating: 4 of 5 stars.
Wait. Stop right there. Stop giving me the side eye for my 4 stars. Let me explain.
There are dragons.
Okay. They're kinda like dragons. Like, practically dragons, but they don't fly so they're basically dragon mutants or something but they have scales and wicked tails and they breathe fire. DRAGONS, OKAY. NOT-DRAGONS. KINDA-DRAGONS. DRAGONS ARE AWESOME.
There was some crazy stuff going on in the Defiance world. There was tyrannical leaders, and oppression and widely accepted misogynistic attitudes and highway robbers and fucking Tree People and sweet bread baking old men and secrets and spies and sword fights and crazy tech inventions and DEFIANCE (I C WUT U DID THAR) and it was a lot of awesomeness topped with a lukewarm romance. If you ignore the romance aspect of it (and good Lord, that was hard, especially towards the end,) it was glorious.
There was some question as to the time period this world takes place. I think it's the future, but we've gone backwards instead of fowards thanks to the discovery and accidental release of the Not-Dragons, so it's all very Olde World: Abandon All Equality Ye Who Enter Here, where women are once again property and men are misogynistic asshats for the most part and technology has a magic feel to it, rather than scientific. Think medieval with modern edges. This is what we're working with. And we have Rachel, 1/3 sappy teenage girl, 2/3 KNIFE WIELDING AWESOME. Rachel is not your average damsel. Rachel is fully capable of gutting you. Rachel will not hesitate to do so.
Then there's Logan. Logan is a "tech head," an inventor type, with a brain for solving problems and some impressive swordsmanship skills. I had some issues with Logan. Poor, orphaned, outcast Logan. Logan is a product of his environment when it comes to his thinking towards women in general and Rachel in particular. And yet, he's also progressive, because, usually, he views Rachel as his equal. I finally was able to overlook his neanderthall slips by reminding myself that this way of thinking was basically pounded into his head, the ol' Nature vs. Nurture thing. Once I viewed it that way, what would have made me angry enough to spit nails at his character, made me respect the fact that he mostly went against the popular attitude of his time.
Here, and only here, is my complaint: Rachel and Logan's "love." They both flipped. Fast. They have a history and in turn, it's made them come to a place where they can barely stand to be in the same room. Then Logan becomes Rachel's Protector (proper noun) and they start working towards a delicate friendship and then BAM. TRUE LOVE. ALWAYS. I WILL ALWAYS LOVE YOU. NAY. I WILL ALWAYS LOVE YOU. OUR LOVE IS DEEP AND TRUE AND SHALL LAST FOREVER.
Whoooaa, Franklin D. Roosevelt. Hold the motherfucking phones & shut the front door. Take that and rewind it back. There are dragons to fight and fathers and not-grandfathers to mourn and tyrannical leaders to take down. I know Ron Weasley said, "it's now or never," but that took seven freaken books. You got to pace that shit! Slow build! You can't just come at me like that, bro. I'm trying to focus on Not-Dragons and crazy leaders over here. I don't have time for this light switch love shit.
I mean, Rachel and Logan were going to happen. That was obvious. I wanted it to happen. My dog wanted it to happen. But it happened too fast. It felt like Redwine was trying to get EVERYTHING in to one book, in case she couldn't get a series out of the deal. Maybe that wasn't her thinking, but it's what it felt like. There was a lot going on and while it worked for the action part of the story, it made the love part hard to swallow.
Still, rushed and unbelievable love aside, I'm still giving this a solid 4 stars, leaning heavily towards 4.5. Because there was enough awesome there to make up for it. I mean, dragons and not-dragons alone deserve a full star and fangirly type squeals.