“What if the voice in your head didn’t belong to you?
‘On the cusp of sleep, have we not all heard a voice call out our name?’”
From the inside cover:
In a world where long drinks are in short supply, a stranger listens to the voice in his head telling him to buy a lemonade from the girl sitting on the dusty road.
The moment locks them together.
Here and now it’s dangerous to listen to your inner voice. Those who do, keep it quiet.
The voices have purpose. And when Pilgrim meets Lacey, there is a reason. He just doesn’t know it yet.
Defender pulls you on a wild ride to a place where the voices in your head will save or slaughter you.
Defender is an action-packed, adventure novel; Pilgrim and Lacey travel through the wastelands, everyone they meet is a potential threat – who hears a voice that isn’t their own and who can be trusted?
I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and was caught up in the adventure of it all. This novel had shades of Bird Box, in the sense that the majority of civilisation had been wiped out due to hearing voices that made them kill others and themselves. But Defender is not a horror novel, it’s very much a post-apocalyptic thriller with some fantastic action scenes.
The main protagonists are extremely likeable and you root for them from the very beginning. Lacey is a wonderful character, still a teenager but her bravery and strength is second to none. All she wants is a ride to another town to find her sister; she hasn’t left her house in years and is about to get the shock of her life when she sees how the world is now. Pilgrim is very much the protector of the group, although he doesn’t share much about himself, you can see his kind and caring nature under his ‘loner’ persona and you warm to him very quickly. He and Lacey had a very endearing relationship, a chance meeting in a dangerous world where a glass of lemonade is shared, quickly becomes a heart-warming friendship, where one never leaves the other behind. Voice, as in a voice that lives inside your head, is very much its own character – even declaring that its happy to be called Voice – a great character who injected some much appreciated dark humour into this novel.
“His eyes were unflinching. The guy would make a good poker player.
Or serial killer, Voice said faintly”
Along the way, Alex, joins the trio on their journey and very quickly becomes a staple part of the group. For some reason, I never really took to her character the way I suspect I was meant to. I just didn’t trust her; it turned out to be a good thing because it added an extra level of tension to the read because I was always second-guessing her, wondering if she would betray the group.
I really liked the descriptive detail in this novel, Todd created a wasteland you can visualise, with some great enemies for the quartet to encounter. There were a few shocking moments along the way that left me never knowing where this plot was going, thus making it a wild ride indeed.
Defender is the first novel in a four-part series, so while the book clearly ends, the story is not over but Todd chose a good point to end the novel, wrapping up one adventure and starting another – enough to leave me eagerly awaiting book 2: Hunted. As this is the first book in a series, there are more questions than answers, which I’m sure will be addressed in future books. However, I would have liked a little bit more information about the enemy the quartet are facing, I wasn’t entirely sure of the enemy’s end goal. Nonetheless, I really enjoyed this novel and will for sure be reading book two!