Defiance by C.J. Redwine
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.To read the ending of Defiance, hit "Read More" but beware, there are many spoilers ahead!
After Logan is thrown in jail, Rachel sets out with Melkin to get her father's package. She doesn't trust him at all and he underestimates her until they are attacked by The Cursed One. Melkin is impressed with the way Rachel handles herself and Rachel is surprised Melkin goes through so much to save her when The Cursed One goes after her in a tree. They gain an uneasy alliance after Melkin saves Rachel from drowning when Melkin reveals that the Commander has his wife locked away.
This statement is confirmed in Logan's chapters in jail when we see Melkin's pregnant wife across from him. Logan is beat by the Commander so he can get information out of him. He finds out that Melkin is charged with killing Rachel after Rachel finds the package and Logan feigns being worse than he is. A girl comes in and gives him medicine for his pain and fever as well as food and says there are people on the outside looking after him. After the Commander comes in and Logan has regained his strength, Logan tells Melkin's wife that Rachel will kill her husband because she is a great fighter and Logan agrees to stop her if he can if Melkin's wife tells him what signal her husband is suppose to give the Commander. She tells him that Melkin is to light a torch in a known tree when he has the package and with that knowledge, Logan uses the explosives hidden in the seams of his coat to break free from the jail and dig out of the town.
Rachel and Melkin stop at one of Rachel's father's abandoned houses and Rachel sees her dad's footprints that are relatively fresh. Melkin and Rachel realize they are being followed and Melkin offers to go kill their trackers. When he doesn't come back, Rachel makes herself a target and realizes that whoever is tracking them is very dangerous. She is almost captured by the tracker when Melkin appears and they slip off together. Melkin says they were tailed by two guards from their town but those guards were killed by a tracker from a nearby town that is even more dangerous. Their friendship starts to expire as Melkin grows colder and Rachel decides she doesn't care. They reach the second safe house which is burnt to the ground. Two Tree People about her age are hanging around and bring her to her father's grave where they tell her that her dad saved them. Rachel goes into a deep depression and swears to kill the Commander and The Cursed One which is made easier when one of the Tree People, Quinn, gives her the package her father died to protect which is a device that controls The Cursed One.
Rachel decides to use it against her father's wishes. That night, Melkin tries to steal it away and Rachel kills him. She tells herself Melkin would have killed her first but as he is dying he tells her he only meant to take the package and not hurt her. She sees this is true when she finds his knife by his pack, no where near where they fought and she sinks into an even further depression.
Logan tracks Rachel until he runs into an entire group of trackers and soldiers from Rowansmark. He leads them away but can't find the tracker. He is so close to Rachel he decides to follow her instead. He's still very hurt from getting beat up and is running himself ragged. He finds Rachel and watches from below, waiting for the tracker to jump out. When he does, he jumps the tracker and the other Tree Person, Willow, shoots the tracker. Rachel and Logan reunite but Logan notices right away that something is broken inside of Rachel. He confesses his love for her later in a lake and she refuses it, not feeling worthy anymore, but he doesn't allow it and they end up together. Traveling back to their town, he works on making Rachel talk and healing her internal wounds.
They reach their town, come up with a plan and Logan lights the torch to signal The Commander. Knowing how the device works, they call The Cursed One and have it attack the Commander. The controls don't work and The Cursed One attacks the town instead. Rachel and Logan save everyone they can. Some people blame them for the attack and others stay with them to start the rebellion. They stand in the ashes of the town that once kept them safe and Rachel decides they will find The Commander (who escapes) and she will get justice for her father. Logan and Rachel stand side by side holding hands, firmly together.
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