Wow! This one really took my breath away. Defiance by A.L.Sowards is not a romance like I normally read. This is a story set during the latter part of World War II, and it is a gripping journey. Our young hero is Lukas. He’s just barely graduated from high school and is anxious to be drafted and go serve his country. His older brother, Bastian, who is home after losing his leg, tries to warn him about what he will see and experience. But Lukas, like most normal 18-year-olds, wishes his brother would leave him alone. He already knows everything, right?
Lukas wants nothing more than to be a pilot, but when he fails his vision test, his options are limited. He’s sent into the infantry and when he gets out on the front line, he wishes he’d listened closer to Bastian. War is ugly. War is frightening. War doesn’t care if you’ve had enough sleep (or any sleep at all) or whether you’re half-starved. When you must hold the line at all costs, nothing else matters.
This story is intense. Sowards did an excellent job with research and wove facts into this book so flawlessly that I felt like I was right there alongside Lukas through every scene–the fun ones with his girl back home, and all the ugly ones once he was shipped out to the front lines. My emotions got battered, and I wanted to cry a lot as kids got killed and the war revealed all its ugly heads. The battles in this book took place in Luxembourg as the Germans are trying to push their way through to Bastogne in a last ditch effort to win the war in 1944-45.
The battle scenes and dialogue seemed so real to me. Like I said above, I felt like I was right there. I could smell the heavy scent of kerosene campfires and feel the ash and smoke smother me during the shellings and bombings. I felt Lukas’s fear as he shot at German soldiers and ran for his life. He eventually gets caught and as this book’s title suggests, the ultimate battle he must fight is to uphold his pride and dignity when the enemy is determined to beat him down as a POW. His spirit must show defiance, and hold true to his beliefs and humanity.
This was an excellent book. Characters were developed and complex. The plot was intense and had lots of twists and tear-inducing scenes. The emotions it evoked were strong. No sitting on the fence with your heart for this book. Overall, it was the perfect book. I can’t think of anything I didn’t like about it. I’m still just sitting here feeling kind of awed by the story and what the character went through. Bravo, Amanda Sowards. This book rated 5 all across the board (Amazon, Goodreads, and my highly critical Sweet Scale). It deserves awards.
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