Defier: The Girl Who Stood by Mandy Fender

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From the cover: “Seventeen-year-old Lennox Winters is no stranger to loss. She’s lost her parents, her home, and is in constant danger or losing herself. As she struggles with what to believe she encounters Christ in a way that she cannot ignore. The raised scar on her chest reminds her she has a purpose. Kept alive by her newfound faith and accompanied by her loyal best friend, Lennox bravely emerges into a world at war on a quest for the truth. Only after Lennox has journeyed through perilous territory, eluded biologically altered predators, and overcomes the most intense of challenges does the real work begin.

“Will Lennox continue to fight for faith no matter how personal the cost?

“The fate of humanity rests in the answer.”

Sounds like a great book, right? That is exactly what I thought when I read the description. I went into this book with very high hopes, so excited to read it. Unfortunately, I am very sad to say that it didn’t meet my expectations.

Let me clarify that statement: the general idea of the book is great for a Christian young adult dystopian story. However, this novel finds itself in serious need of some honest and informed beta readers and a really good editor. The grammar problems, even for a grammar lover like me, can be forgiven if the overall story flows nicely, the plot devices are well-structured, and the characters are nicely drawn. I didn’t find that to be the case in Defier. There are many situations in the book that severely stretched the fabric of plausibility, almost to the point of absurdity, which could easily be rectified if the plot were well-developed. It felt as if the author really wasn’t sure where the story was going, so she just shoved in devices and situations to move the story along, but which seemed rather inexplicable to me. And if a character did something unexpected, an annoying explanatory aside was randomly thrown in to explain the history behind that choice. Lots more telling than showing, as English teachers are wont to say.

But, believe it or not, I don’t think this book is horrible. There are some poignant moments that hold a lot of beauty and truth in them. Again, the basic idea of the book is great. The theme of standing up and being brave in Christ is awesome. This could be a wonderful book, but it needs some work to get it there. I sincerely hope that she finds someone to help her polish it, and that she puts out a second edition soon. Until then, however, I don’t feel right recommending it to you, my fellow readers. Bummer!

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