Monday, January 6, 2014

Review: Defy by Sara B. Larson

Defy (Defy, #1)Defy by Sara B. Larson
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Publication Date: January 7, 2014
Amazon / Goodreads / B&N
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?
My Thoughts:
What a fantastic debut by Sara B. Larson! After I had read the synopsis of this little gem, I knew instantly that I had to get it. Defy will appeal to fans of C.J. Redwine, Maria V. Snyder, Rae Carson, Trisha Wolfe, Kristin Cashore.

I loved Alexa (aka Alex) as she was a brave and strong female protagonist. When a wicked strong sorcerer killed her and her twin brother Marcel's parents, Alexa and her twin made a decision that ultimately saved Alexa from a very dark future. She was a fierce fighter and gained a reputable position among the Prince's guard.

Marcel was a brother every girl could only hope for. He was Alexa's best friend and he was always there to protect her and guide her. Alexa posed as a guy, she had to be careful around the other guards, watch her tone and push emotion away. It wasn't a land that protected their women. Quite the opposite actually due to the nasty, twisted king Hector. He declared war for power and also made everyone believe sorcery was evil and  to hate them and magic. Yet, he had the dirtiest of them working as his guardian and advisor. This king was as sinister as they come and the things he did were just unimaginable.

Prince Damian was nothing like his father. He came across as if he was lazy and didn't care, but there was soooo much more to this man than he led people to believe, and that was his self defense mechanism. As everyone in Antion was guarded, and the Prince was no different. Prince Damian will turn you off at first, but then you really get to know his character and the tides turn. I loved his character and found him to be a hunky, intelligent, and strong male lead.

I just LOVED Jax! He was the most honest, cutest little boy ever. He stole my heart right away.

"I saw Damian save you. Mama said he exposed his secret because he cared too much about you to let you die. She said love can either make a person stronger or weaker, and she hasn't decided if he's getting stronger or weaker yet"

There is so much mystery, magic and action within those pages and I can tell you, you won't soon forget the courageous journey these Antion warriors take to overcome the wicked king Hector and his evil sidekick, Iker.

The further along in the story I got, the more intense it became and I found myself staying up late into the night to finish this gem. I loved that the author created such an intense story that pulled me in. There wasn't anything negative to say about this book. The secondary characters were fantastic and filled with stories of their own. They all had a past or a negative association to the king. And they all had a common interest in taking him down. There are two love interests that vie for Alexa's attentions, but her heart only wanted one and in the end she had to make a difficult decision and one she thought was best. I'm not going to lie, I was hoping for that HEA, and in a way we get it, but in the other, I was a little disappointed in her choice. But, I totally understood why she did what she did. And that right there shows her loyalty and strength.

Defy is full of action, mystery, magic, death, and romance. This is one debut that I will keep on my favorites shelf and am highly anticipating the next.

Thank you, Scholastic and Netgalley for providing a copy. This has in no way altered my opinion or rating of the book.


  1. Great review! Great book! I really wanted the HEA too, but that's no fun, right? I've "dealt" with the ending and think it was probably for the best....

  2. I enjoyed this one too! I'm very excited to read the next book. I thought the love triangle was done well and not that present in the story (which made me happy). great review!

  3. I liked this one lots! I really did like Alexa. For me, I thought it was kind of mulan-ish and I loved that!

    The only thing I didn't like was the romance. Ugh. She's been a guy for so long, I felt like a romance didn't make sense from where she stood at the moment.

  4. I liked this one enough, but wasn't thrilled with it. I think it was lacking in character development to be honest. And the romance bothered me a bit. But for a debut I think she did a pretty good job. It can only get better, in my opinion.