Title: The Defiance (#2)
Author: A.G Henley
Published: July 21, 2013
Series: Brilliant Darkness (first installment, 'The Scourge')
Amazon Summary: It hasn't been long since Fennel, a Sightless Groundling, and Peree, her Lofty Keeper, fell in love and learned the truth: the Scourge, and their world, are not what they seem.
Fenn and Peree are determined to guide their people to the protected village of Koolkuna, but first they must convince them that everything they believe is a lie. An impossible task, especially when someone seems hell-bent on trying anything--even animal sacrifice and arson--to destroy the couple's new bond and crush the frail truce between the Groundlings and the Lofties. Not everyone wants to uproot their lives in the forest, and those who stay behind will be left terribly vulnerable.
Fenn and Peree's resolve to be together, and the constant threat of the Scourge's return, push both groups to the breaking point. Unable to tell friend from foe, Fenn must again decide how much she's willing to sacrifice to ensure the future of the people of the forest.
Only this time, the price of peace may be too high to bear.
(Read my review of the first installment of the Brilliant Darkness series, here, first! Otherwise spoiler alert:)
From chapter one something unsettling occurs and puts the first half of the story in a slightly eerie light. Someone's out to get Fenn and you'll speculate if it's from the inside or the outside. This was where I was most frustrated that Fenn couldn't see and that this person terrorizing her was getting away with it so easily.
However, I had an inkling that (not only who it was but) that it ultimately wasn't going to leave such a big dent in the storyline. It kept you on your toes and reminded you not to get too comfortable but it didn't really conflict the story the way it could have. By the time everything was revealed it didn't matter anymore (though there will be a little twist in the revelation.)
I had a huge problem with Moray. Who else. If you've read the first installment you'll know this character attempted rape and murder on Fenn. Prior to this, his family had threatened to kill Fenn's little brother and plotted against Fenn's "adoptive" mom, Aloe, whom was one of the Three.
These are quotes from 'The Defiance': "
".. He [Moray] didn't face any other consequences [except for a bitten tongue which Fenn caused him] for attacking me and leaving me to die in the ground.. Neither did his family.."
".. The new Council didn't have the will to really punish Moray's family after all our losses"
Reading this practically made me see red. What the actual what?! Unbelievable and unrealistic that a man capable of such horrid things was free to prance around being obnoxious and disgusting towards the victim and no one thinks twice about it.
Not only this but Moray is the one to get assigned to protect Fenn when she's working alone in the caves. Oh-kay.. clearly the fact that he'd forced himself on her, tied her up, and pushed her into a pit (that later filled with water) to die, means absolutely nothing.
All of this was just impossible for me to get past since Moray is in a lot of the story (even if he tried redeeming himself later on, it could never be enough.)
I actually really felt for Fenn's friendship with Calli and how her best friend had turned into someone she didn't know if she could trust anymore. But I rooted for Calli. And I loved Bear, he was so wonderful. Despite his feelings for Fenn, he was an amazing support and really made an impact on the story and in Fenn's life.
There were some superb character development, for sure.
Speaking of chosen. I'm not short of love for Peree. 'The Defiance' was definitely much more centered around the love between the Groundling and the Lofty and the people working against it. I couldn't help but wanting to scream, "Their love hurts no one!"
Fenn doesn't leave for Koolkuna until more than half of the book. I found that it was a little slow in the beginning because Fenn just kind of hangs around and gets into trouble when you want her to pack her things and just go and be free. However, when she's finally off I needed to read until the very end.
'The Defiance' definitely had some surprising, shocking, emotional, and heartwarming turns. I was satisfied with the ending even though it ended in an intriguing twist and I'll be waiting to read the third installment!