I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Defy by Sara B. Larson
Genres: Fantasy, YA
Published by Scholastic Press on January 7th
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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?
Defy by Sara B. Larson is my first debut author of the year. Defy sort of reminds me of Mulan because the main character dresses as a boy to be in the king’s army, but for different reasons and to me that is where the similarities end.
Alex (Alexa) and her brother Marcel’s parents died in a raid on their village. They knew that the king would round up the girls and put them into breeding houses, and Marcel was not going to let that happen to his sister. They are twins so he makes her cut her hair, and they join the king’s army instead. Their father was a fighter, and he taught both how to fight and Alex was actually better than her brother. They soon made the rank of guards for the prince.
Alex couldn’t stand the prince most of the time as he seemed like such a brat, but then sometimes when they were alone, he seemed different. As Alex grew older it started to be harder to hide that she was a girl and had to make her binding around her chest even tighter. It didn’t stop her from being a great fighter, if she wasn’t so young she would have made captain of the guards. She also couldn’t help her growing attraction for her friend Rylan and for the Prince.
Someone is after the prince and Alex will do everything she can to keep him safe, but then her, Rylan, and the Prince are all taken captive. Things don’t really seem as they appear, but one thing is the Prince acts a lot different now than he used to. The Prince also doesn’t seem to mind being held captive which has Alex not sure if she can trust him. Also, Alex finds out that both Rylan and the Prince know that she is a girl. They are also both vying for her attention, and she finds herself attracted to both of them.
I enjoyed all the characters, but anyone has read this book will know why I become extremely upset around the first 11 percent into the book. I almost put it up I was so mad. It was just one of those things that makes you mad at any book or movie. Anyway, Alex (Alexa) is a really tough female character and that appealed to me. She also had the feminine side to her that let you know that she might be tough and act like a boy, but she was still a girl. Rylan, is probably my favorite male character. He is Alex’s best friend and he has loved her from afar for a long time. Prince Damian is a little snooty at first and acts like a real brat, but once he starts acting like he should you warm up to him, but I am still team Rylan on this one. (maybe I just have a thing for the underdog).
Defy was a decent fantasy adventure, but I think it was just lacking something. I found it interesting, but at the same time a little boring and didn’t feel like the pacing of the book was fast enough for me. Also, I just hate love triangles!!!!! Why does every YA book seem to think you have to have them to be successful. The ending was the best part as it had all the good action, and I liked it enough to read the next book in the series.