Juliette is devastated, and the darkness that’s always dwelled within her threatens to consume her. An explosive encounter with unexpected visitors might be enough to push her over the edge.
Synopsis from Goodreads
I was incredibly disappointed by Restore Me, the prequel to this book, so it took me a while to decide if I would continue with Juliette and Warner's story. Ultimately, I decided that I still really wanted to know how the series was progressing and I was keeping my fingers crossed that Defy Me would be a stronger book than its predecessor because I still really liked these characters.
Much Stronger Story
Happily, I found that Defy Me was overall a stronger book, largely because the characters themselves have been given slightly more depth and we finally see something actually happening in the story. There's much more movement of the plot, as we are in new places, learning a lot about Juliette/Ella's history, and seeing much more character growth. The change of scenery was a good choice for this book, as Sector 45 was getting pretty stale. I also liked that the book picked up seconds after the previous one ended, so we had the chance to see just how much manipulation is happening in this world. Also, Ella's parents are THE WORST!! Anyone who though Anderson deserved the "Worst Parent" Award will definitely change their mind after meeting Ella's mom and dad. Literally soulless.
FINALLY Some Answers
Yes, we are finally given answers to questions that have been on our minds since Shatter Me: where is Juliette really from? What is her connection to Warner? Where is her sister? What is the ultimate goal of all these awful leaders? And will Kenji ever find love? While we don't know everything, we're definitely given more plot points to unravel and they couldn't come soon enough. I don't want to give any spoilers, so I won't give away the answers to these questions, but Mafi did a decent job of answering them and giving us some new ones to focus on.
Multiple POVs (Including Kenji!)
A good decision for the second trilogy was to write each book through multiple perspectives. With everything that Juliette/Ella is going through, and the amount of time she spends away from the other characters, this trilogy would have been a pretty big mess without the perspectives of Warner to stabilize them. We also get a lot of flashbacks in this book that start to develop these characters further (although, at 5 books in, you'd think they'd be pretty well developed...) and the relationships they have with each other. The only letdown for me here was Kenji's POV. His voice seemed very juvenile when compared to the take-charge personality we saw in the first few books. I still liked this POV addition, but it felt very forced and just as a way to add in a new romantic relationship.
Defy Me has reignited my hope that this series that a planned ending (even if I still believe that Restore Me was pretty insulting to readers). If you didn't enjoy any of the previous books, I really wouldn't recommend this series; it's not the strongest dystopian fantasy series out there. That said, for those who did like the previous books, I feel like you're going to LOVE this one. The series finally is expected to come out next year, and I'm pretty interested to see what finale Mafi is going to give us.
FINAL RATING: 3/5
Hi, I'm Alexandra! I love reading (largely YA fiction, but sometimes I'll read "adult" books), playing board games, Nutella, and binge-watching TV shows on Netflix with my husband.
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