Review: Defiance – Sarah Jayne Tanner


Sarah Jayne Tanner


in series:
1 of 1



August 2015



Down in the city’s underbelly, Noah, a smart-mouthed combat fighter, has been sold against his will to Dream Scenarios, an exclusive organisation specialising in body-switching technology. Stripped of his freedom and forced to cater to the whims of the elite, Noah cannot resign himself to life as a puppet of Dream Scenarios and its wealthy clientele.


to delve into Defiance:

This book sensitively deals with the issue of human trafficking.
It announces its presence without being too graphic so that it doesn’t step
away from the YA genre. This supports what we believe all meaningful, memorable
dystopias should – it raises awareness of human rights issues happening in
today’s world but places it in a future society. By showing this issue in a
more distant time, it allows us to see just how horrendous it is, and to apply
it to our
own lives (perhaps to prevent it from becoming reality).

Refreshingly, Defiance strays away from the trend of heroines and
focuses the story around a male voice. We have been waiting for something like
this for a while – a young adult dystopia that believably portrays a male,
Noah, standing up for his rights. It doesn’t always have to be females who
voice their opinions about society as Sarah Tanner proves in Defiance – we need
a range of protagonists in these types of books to be able to take what we need
to from them, and apply their attributes to our own lives.

Do you ever get bored of protagonists always finding love in the
short number of pages in a book? Do you find this as unrealistic and
frustrating as we do? Well, this is a book you should read. Rather than
revolving around love interests and complicated relationships, Defiance looks
at the importance of friendship. It explores companionship by developing
believable bonds between characters. Also, that family doesn’t have to be
created through blood. Through Noah’s voice, we see how loyalty, love and trust
can lead you to creating your own family who stick by you no matter what.

Compared to real life, the issue of social class is openly talked
about – the divide between the rich and poor is clearly presented from the
start. As the story progresses, despite the huge economic difference between
them, the characters still unite because of their shared experiences.

Modern slavery isn’t the only topic explored. Sarah Tanner looks
into the issue of consent and what it means to have control of your own life
and body. This is a real-life concern in our technology obsessed society where
privacy violations and hacking are becoming too common. In Defiance, this is
taken to a whole new level – those willing and able to pay can use someone
else’s body in place of theirs for a short time. It might sound far-fetched and
unrealistic, but Tanner does a fantastic job at opening your eyes to what is a
worryingly believable future.
we could change anything it would be:

A stronger beginning – a hint at what is to come. We properly fell
for the book part way through the middle, the opening just didn’t grab us.
Having said this, it does act as a way of easing us into the Noah’s world,
allowing us to get to know him before his whole world is turned upside down.

At times it was slightly hard to keep track of which background
character was which. There was quite a lot happening and slightly too many
names to keep track of. Despite this, the character development was so rich it
didn’t really effect the experience – you are able to stay aware of the key
moments and characters that are most relevant to the story.

*  Whilst the overall feel of the book
was enjoyable and gripping, the end felt quite rushed. This was disappointing
as Tanner had managed to build very realistic foundations for the dystopia and
story for it to suddenly come down to the last chapter to resolve it all. This
wasn’t a huge issue (the book was still highly readable)
but it is something that we would tweak if we could.

Age recommendation – YA

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