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Defiance of the Fall Book 1 Review Image

Defiance of the Fall Book 1 by JF Brink | Review – [4.5/5]

Defiance of The Fall Book 1 Review

The Trail of Tales

Character Development
Plot
Writing Style
Pacing
Worldbuilding
Enjoyment

Summary

Average Reading Time: 11 h and 49 m – Source

Defiance of the Fall is a LitRPG (Literary Role-playing game) fantasy book by JF Brink. It revolves around the life of Zachary Atwood, a simple man from Earth forced into a role he could barely handle. It is a story of growth, tragedy, and overcoming impossible odds.

In this story, Earth faces a cataclysmic event and the greatest possible opportunity – Integration into the Multiverse. It is inundated with cosmic energy, and evolution is kicked into overdrive as humans and beasts grow far beyond their former limits. Elements of myth are mashed together, and given an origin story that makes sense, and it ignites your imagination of what could be.

Also, this just so happens to be my favorite book series so far.

4.5

Where to Read:

  • Amazon (Available on Kindle Unlimited)

Due to the nature of book reviews, there will be some spoilers from Defiance of the Fall Book 1 by JF Brink in this review article. I will strive to keep major plot points a mystery, but what you consider “Main Plot Material” may differ from my definition.

To help mitigate spoilers, I’ve implemented a system to combat them. Important plot information has a special spoiler tag added to it to hide small bits of spoiling text. When you hover over this text, don’t panic, your cursor will disappear to make reading it easier. Moving your mouse away will restore the cursor. A spoiler looks like this: Spoiled text example.

Another form of spoiler avoidance I utilize is the collapsable block. It looks a little something like this:

Spoiler Example

Clicking on this will expand the hidden content and spoil it.

If you use a screen reader or view this review on a mobile device, these solutions may not be effective. You have been warned.

Defiance of the Fall book 1 cover
Source: Book Cover

Defiance of the Fall Book 1 Synopsis

The System has descended on Earth, and billions of lives are lost in the span of a few months. This integration into The Multiverse is bloody and full of tragedy. Zachary Atwood is one of the lucky few who remain, and he must fight in order to survive the new world order.

Can he protect those he loves? Will he survive the harsh new reality? Only time will tell, as he stands Defiant of the Fall of Civilization as we know it.

Meet The Cast

This series has 203 characters by book 13. I’m only going to list a few prominent characters to keep this article a sane length and to avoid accidentally introducing a character that appeared in a later book.


Zachary Atwood (Zac)

Class: [F-Rare] Hatchetman

Zachary Atwood From Defiance of the Fall Book
AI-Generated, Human Edited Image of Zachary Atwood

Zac was an animator for a marketing company before the integration took place. He is perfectly average in every way. At first, anyway.

From the very beginning of the integration, The System has had it out for him. It forced him into incredibly unfair situations from the first moment it materialized on Earth.

But that is only the beginning of his problems – the area he was camping in turned into an island, and it was full of demons!

Now he has no choice but to take the hatchet he had packed for gathering firewood and use it to struggle against impossible odds.

He dons the name Super Brother Man on the ladder, a name his sister will know. If she is alive, that is.


Class: [F-Rare] Shadowblade

Ogras Azh’Rezak

Ogras is a scheming and manipulating demon of the clan Azh’Rezak, and the Incursion General of the invasion started by The System, which he calls
“The Ruthless Heavens”.

He has an incredibly paranoid outlook on life and is a bit of a womanizer. Ogras also loves to drink and party, but he acts decisively when he needs to act.

During the Inclusion, he is very confused as to how his men are being defeated left and right and eventually encounters Zac, the cause of all his headaches.

All he wants to do is relax and have a nice glass of wine, but there ain’t no rest for the wicked.

Ogras Azh'Rezak from Defiance of the Fall Book 1
AI-Generated, Human Edited image of Ogras Azh’Rezak

Veth Abarak (Abby)

Role: Administrator

Abby from Defiance of the Fall
AI-Generated Image of Abby

Veth Abarak, or Abby, is the Stargazer administrator assigned to Zac after he establishes a base of operations shortly after the integration. She is haughty and withholds information from Zac in order to further her own agenda.

She is similar to a beholder, in that she is just a floating eye, but lacks combat skills and capabilities. Instead, she deals with administration tasks and makes establishing Port Atwood easier.

She also provides some hints to Zac about how The System works, as he lacks a lot of information since he did not get to attend the Tutorial, due to reasons only The System knew.


Role: Chairman of the Thayer Consortia

Calrin Thayer

Calrin Thayer is a Sky Gnome and the chairman of a mercantile company that has been on the decline for over 500 years. He takes a gamble and decides to put his HQ on the market for newly integrated D-Grade planets.

This decision is what ultimately tied the Thayer Consortia to Zac, and their business relationship was born shortly after the establishment of Port Atwood.

Calrin is a greedy individual, who values the profit and growth of the Consortia above all. He uses this greed to great effect, and Port Atwood benefits greatly from his underhanded and shady business dealings.

Calrin from Defiance of the Fall
AI-Generated, Human Edited Image of Calrin Thayer

Character Development Breakdown

  • In his adventures, Zac meets a ton of characters. So many that it is difficult to keep track of who is who sometimes.
  • Some characters only make a brief appearance, and then are never seen again.
  • Almost every single character in this book series that isn’t fodder for Zac’s growth has incredible depth to them.
  • Each character feels unique.
  • The descriptions of characters lets your imagination picture them easily in your head.

The Bad – A Ton of Characters

Defiance of the Fall is a long book, so there are a lot of characters that are introduced to fill it out. So many, in fact, that I sometimes struggle to remember who somebody is if they have a lesser role in the story. Sometimes, that role is to simply be present to showcase how brutal The System can be – someone near the top of the ladder meeting a swift end, for example.

I find it very difficult to criticize this point because those short-lived characters ultimately move the plot forward and act as an element of world-building, so it isn’t exactly bad per se. But since I have to mention something bad, it would be that there are just a lot of different characters in this book.

I don’t take off any stars here, though, because of the next point:

The Good – Fleshed Out Characters

I find it mind-blowing how Brink is able to create so many characters (203 of them as of the latest book!), yet fill just about every one of them with insane levels of depth. Not only that, but they all feel unique, and each character becomes more distinguished as they grow in the story, thanks in part to the Dao System

It gets to the point that you can identify some of them just based on the description of their moves. Plus, it helps that the book is told from a third-person perspective.

There are several characters that I resonate with, and the conversations between them paint a vivid picture of the events that take place throughout the book. All in all, Defiance of the Fall is a mastercraft of Character Development.

Plot

The plot of Defiance of the Fall is an epic adventure, where Zac must battle for his life. It focuses heavily on aspects of character growth and interaction, all in an effort to adapt to a changing world before it’s too late. It’s a mad dash to the apex of strength and beyond, where failure means death.

Major Plot Point Spoilers

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Writing Style – A Bit Repetitive, But…

One area that Defiance of the Fall falls behind the curve is the simplistic, and sometimes repetitive writing style. There are many instances where Brink chose to write carbon copies of a sentence on the same page. For example,

A bestial roar snapped him out of his thoughts,…

Chapter 2 – A New World | Defiance of the Fall Book 1

The roar he just heard could be a freaking tiger or bear for all he knew…

Chapter 2 – A New World | Defiance of the Fall Book 1

…panic and leave him stranded here with whatever was roaring.

Chapter 2 – A New World | Defiance of the Fall Book 1

“COME GET IT, PIECE-OF-**** DOG!” he roared…and with a great roar, it started barreling straight towards him again.

Chapter 3 – Battle Tactics | Defiance of the Fall Book 1

And those are only a few such examples where there are repetitive descriptors used throughout, and that is in just the first three chapters. As there are 112 Chapters plus the prologue in this book, you can see how these repetitive descriptors add up.

With that said, this didn’t bother me. I never really picked up on the repetitive nature of the book while reading it, and I was still drawn into the story because of the other aspects of the book that were incredibly well written, such as the Plot, Pacing, worldbuilding, and the depth of each Character.

Pacing

Pacing is the lifeblood of any book. If you go too fast, you overwhelm readers and they can drop the book. Go too slow, and you bore the readers, and they drop the book. Striking a delicate balance is key, and is easily the most difficult aspect of writing a book.

With that said Defiance of the Fall has little issue keeping the pace, except when switching perspective to a character that I am not very interested in.

  • This book takes over 11 hours of constant reading to finish. Because of this, some sections feel like they drag.
  • Character perspective swaps to characters I don’t particularly like dampen my excitement.
  • Maintains a level of quality storytelling throughout the entire book.
  • I find myself wanting to know more with each chapter I read.

The Good – Enduring Pace, Despite Book Length

For most of the book, despite how long it is, I always had the urge to keep reading. In fact, it got me in trouble with my girlfriend a few times when she wanted to spend time with me. It is very difficult to put down this book, so you might want to set an alarm before you start a reading session so you don’t get lost in the book for hours and hours.

It’s quite an accomplishment to keep someone reading a book for over 11 hours. It is a feat of strength when those 11 hours turn into weeks from reading all of the books in the series, and eyeing Amazon waiting for the next book series with furious anticipation. This was me when I stumbled upon Defiance of the Fall. And hopefully, you feel the same way when you start reading it!

The Bad – Character Perspective Swaps are a Razor’s Edge

However, as this is a review, I need to be as fair as possible, and as such, I must deduct a point here for pacing, as it does, admittedly drag at several points throughout the story. Such is the danger of writing a book that is so long.

I felt like most of those points were when the perspective swapped away from Zac to do some character-building for another character. I don’t particularly enjoy those character swaps and would prefer staying with one character, but I understand why JF Brink decided to write the book this way. After all, if you never swapped perspective, the story might feel a little bland.

I digress. Some characters just don’t resonate well with me, and when their turn was up for character building, I grew disinterested, wanting to get back to what Zac was doing.

Worldbuilding

You know when I mentioned that each character was filled to the brim with depth? Well, this translates directly to the Worldbuilding aspect. Each character has goals, beliefs, wants, and needs, and feels like an actual person. Descriptions of how they feel, smell, and what they see are portrayed throughout the entire book. And those characters feel anchored to the world as if they belonged there from the beginning.

Beyond the individuals, there are small groups of like-minded adventurers, Towns scattered throughout the world to give a sense of global progression and even powerful factions. These groups tend to have a common interest at their core, and they are expertly portrayed as organizations to fend off the chaos of the world. After all, the Defiance of the Fall doesn’t stop with Zac.

Additionally, there is a mashup of many ancient monsters of myth and legend, along with references to all sorts of religious stories from various cultures. Defiance of the Fall gives credence to these legends and tells the story of their origins in the wider multiverse, some of which originated multiple millions of years ago.

This sort of inspiration pulled from human culture is a pleasant experience. JF Brink is a master at weaving them into the tapestry of lore that sets the foundations of the series going forward.

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The LitRPG Aspects

The System imposes many challenges but introduces video-game-like aspects that allow Zac to grow more powerful, and quantify his strength in numerical values. However, unlike a video game, once you die, there is no coming back. This leaves a sense of urgency throughout the series, as not all battles are a cut-and-dry success.

There are battles in which you are almost certain Zac would fall, or succumb from his grievous injuries despite his razor edge victory. Yet, he pulls through and is stronger for it. In that way, the book feels like it took pointers from the Dragon Ball series.

JF Brink keeps us on the edge of our seats, and I love every minute of it.

The Dao

In addition to the LitRPG aspects, there is the Dao, a mysterious force that all of existence touches. This force acts as a force multiplier that changes flavor based on a character’s understanding of the world around them. This force is used exceptionally well and is what allows characters to feel unique, despite using similar weapons.

Each character can touch upon the Dao, planting a seed of understanding (Dao Seed) that they can nurture and further the understanding of a particular concept. Later stages of understanding include Dao Fragments, Branches, and beyond, but those don’t come into play until later books.

Overall

As I stated at the very beginning of the article, Defiance of the Fall is my favorite book series. There are some flaws, of course –

  • If you are reading carefully, you might spot some spelling errors (Dac instead of Zac being one of my favorites)
  • Pacing can be a little slow at times
  • It’s a LOOOONG book
  • Book 2 is titled “Defiance of the Fall Book 2” and so on.

But if you can get over those minor issues, I have a feeling you’ll fall in love with this series as I have. I strongly recommend getting this book, especially if you have a Kindle Unlimited Subscription.

Pick up Defiance of The Fall Book 1 by JF Brink

Defiance of the Fall book 1 cover

Now that you have an idea of what Defiance of the Fall is about, you can get lost in this epic LitRPG Adventure for yourself!

I hope you enjoy Zac’s adventure as much as I did!


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