Author: Sara B. Larson
Genre: YA Fantasy
Series: Defy (Book 1)
Publication Date: January 7, 2014
Format: Hardcover, 336 Pages
ISBN-10: 0545597587 (Scholastic Press)
ISBN-13: 978-0545597586 (Scholastic Press)
Reviewed by: Bridget
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?
Quick & Dirty: Defy is an epic story with the perfect blend of action and romance. This is a must read for all fantasy lovers.
Opening Sentence: The crackle and hiss of the flames devouring our house couldn’t block out the screaming and wailing of those who were still alive.
Alexa Hollen has been pretending to be a boy for years now. Her home land has been raging a long war against another kingdom and the casualties have been many. Alex watched her own parents get murdered before her eyes by the enemy, but to keep from being separated from her brother, her only option was to disguise herself as a boy. Together they join the king’s army and eventually become members of the prince’s guard. Alex is not just a good sword fighter, she is the best, and no one has been able to defeat her until she comes up against a sorcerer. There was nothing she could do to stop the prince and herself from being abducted.
They are taken on a treacherous journey and Alex fears the worst is still to come. But as Alex’s secrets start to come out, it turns out she’s not the only one with something to hide. Alex doesn’t know who she can trust or what to believe. With two men battling for her heart and the kingdom depending on her, Alex is about to find out what she is willing to give up to protect the home that she loves.
Alexa is my type of heroine. She is strong, talented, and can keep up with any boy. But she is also feminine, caring, and extremely loyal. For the last three years of her life she has pretended to be a boy, to save herself from the king’s breeding houses. Now she is the best fighter and the prince’s personal guard. She is the type of female you can really look up to and I really respected her. I found myself cheering her on throughout the story and when she was hurting, I could really feel her pain. She is also selfless and willing to risk everything for the country she loves. I loved Alexa, and honestly I can’t wait to see where her story goes next.
I’m going to start off by saying there is a love triangle; personally I really love a well written triangle, so to me it added to the story. In all honesty, the triangle is a pretty small part of the story, so if you aren’t a fan, I don’t think it will bother you that much because there is a lot more going on in the plot that will keep you interested. Now onto the two hot boys vying after Alexa’s heart. First up is Rylan. He is also a member of the Prince’s guard. He has been one of Alex’s closest friends and she has always had a crush on him, but of course she could never act on it. Rylan is consistent, caring, and always there for Alex when she needs him. Of course he is good looking and an amazing fighter as well. His relationship with Alex is sweet and tender. He would be the perfect choice for her and falling in love with Rylan would be so easy.
Next there is the gorgeous Prince Damian. He is a spoiled prince that doesn’t care about anyone or anything, at least that is the front he is putting on. Underneath that he is actually very intelligent and full of surprises. He has a deep love for his land and the people in it. His life has been hard and he has had to keep secrets from everyone in order to survive. He loves to push Alex’s buttons and is always trying to help her improve. They have a lot in common and undeniable chemistry, but he is the crown prince and Alex is just a simple guard. If Alex gives her heart to him she is only going to get it broken in the end. Suffice to say Alex has a pretty tough decision to make between these two amazing guys.
Defy is an epic high fantasy book that left me completely speechless once I finished it. From the first page, I was completely engrossed in the story and found that I couldn’t put it down. The world that Larson created was captivating and magical. The plot was suspenseful and full of so many great twists that kept me guessing right until the end. The entire cast of characters were fantastic and I loved each and every one of them. Larson’s writing was imaginative and descriptive, she was able to pull so many emotions out of me that I actually felt like I was a part of the story. This is Larson’s debut novel and she has already made me a fan for life, I will gladly read anything she writes. The ending was very satisfying, but it did leave me with one of the worst book hangovers of the year. The sequel is one of my most anticipated releases for 2015. I honestly can’t say enough good things about this book, it really was that good. If you are a fantasy fan or are just looking for an amazing book this is a must read.
I walked quickly across the room and did as the prince asked. When I turned, he stood by his bed, shirtless, his chest and arms coated with a fine sheen of sweat. His extremely well-muscled chest and arms. His stomach was flat and chiseled. He was as strong as any of the men on his guard, perhaps even more so than most. In the warm light of the candles, Prince Damian was almost painfully handsome. I suddenly felt too hot. Like all the heat in the room had surged into my body, coalescing deep in my belly. Lightning flashed, filling the room with bright white light, making me flinch.
“Was there anything else?”
My eyes widened when I realized I’d been staring at his body. My cheeks f lamed, making me grateful for the low light of the candles. “Sir, you’re covered in sweat. Are you taking ill?” I asked, keeping my voice low and gruff. Manly. It was as good a cover as I could come up with. No one looked like that unless they exercised — a lot.
“I’m in perfect health.” He shot me a wicked grin. “As you may have noticed.”
1. Defy (January 7, 2014)
FTC Advisory: Scholastic Press provided me with a copy of Defy. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.
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