Author: Sara B. Larson
Finished: December 23
Expected Publication: January 7th 2014
Is it wrong to already want the second book to come out, when the first, Defy, hasn’t even been released yet??
A lush and gorgeously written debut, packed with action, intrigue, and a thrilling love triangle.
Alexa Hollen is a fighter. Forced to disguise herself as a boy and serve in the king’s army, Alex uses her quick wit and fierce sword-fighting skills to earn a spot on the elite prince’s guard. But when a powerful sorcerer sneaks into the palace in the dead of night, even Alex, who is virtually unbeatable, can’t prevent him from abducting her, her fellow guard and friend Rylan, and Prince Damian, taking them through the treacherous wilds of the jungle and deep into enemy territory.
The longer Alex is held captive with both Rylan and the prince, the more she realizes that she is not the only one who has been keeping dangerous secrets. And suddenly, after her own secret is revealed, Alex finds herself confronted with two men vying for her heart: the safe and steady Rylan, who has always cared for her, and the dark, intriguing Damian. With hidden foes lurking around every corner, is Alex strong enough to save herself and the kingdom she’s sworn to protect?
Something about this book just grabbed my attention and refused to let it go. I think that it did a really great job at tugging on my fairy tale heart strings from when I was a young reader with the royal characters Sara included. I have a soft spot for strong main character leads who are girls but also the heroine, as Alex(a) is. For a while, books over shadowed just how strong women can be and Defy does a great job of showing how strong Alexa is but also the strength of the male characters, Rylan and Damian.
This particular book has gotten a lot of heat for the love triangle that starts to appear. But I disagree, mostly because I didn’t view it as a love triangle at all. Alexa has always liked Rylan like a brother, and maybe confuses the feelings she has for him for a page or two, but in her eyes, she has always only seen Prince Damian. She is his personal guard of course! While I think that maybe love triangles, as much as I love them, have become slightly overused in the fantasy genre specifically, the Defy “love triangle” is not much of a triangle at all. There was no doubt in my mind who Alexa truly loved in a romantic sense. Not to mention that Rylan wasn’t and interesting character at all. Snore fest. I would be so upset if Alexa ended up with him, he is a poor replacement to her lost brother at best.
I really enjoyed the element of mystery throughout Defy. The plot is rich with secrets that you want to find out but can only truly discover if you keep on reading. It’s not an easy book to predict what the next chapter holds. I found that while the secrets and misleading kept and done by Damian may have been aggravating for Alexa to deal with, it really did make for an interesting story. The only secret I had a slight problem with was the one Alex(a) had thought she kept so secretly. I thought it was not believable that noone really thought she was a boy. Most of the people who suspected her real gender would/could have had her carted off to the breeding houses. I think that it should have been a more tightly kept secret, and when revealed it would have added a lot of anticipation and excited for the reader.
I want to refute a lot of the negative comments the book is getting, if only to defend the book and author itself. I hate when people don’t look at a book as its own book, comparing it to another has no real positive affect. Many people say that they don’t like it because it reminds them of other books that have already been done, but let’s be honest with ourselves people.. there are so many “cop cat” books out there and this is not one of them. Just because there is a girl pretending to be a boy and fight does not automatically make it a knockoff of Mulan
. Honestly, it’s frustrating to read people bash a book because they have similar components to others. Like a fight between royal families. Okay maybe
not the most original motivation for a war in a book, but it’s the extra content added that counts and contributes to the uniqueness, which Defy
Another is that the cover is being compared to Graceling, a book I absolutely adore and sure I see the similarities. But let me go find you at least a hundred book covers with a jacked shirtless guys or a hot guy making out with a girl. Similar but different. Not a copy.
I actually saw a many reviews that I just wanted to comment “no honey, no.” Like when someone mentioned that the characters were unrealistic….NO. You don’t say? It’s a fantasy book for a reason obviously they are not real, I mean unless one of you out there is a sorcerer and wants to let me know! I think I am just going to have to agree to disagree with the horrible things being said about this book. I loved every second I spent reading it and I cannot wait to get more. All I ask is that you give it a chance because it might surprise you in the same way that it surprised me.
And with that rant over, Cat out