Dec 20, 2013

Defy by Sara B. Larson Review

Defy by Sara B. Larson
(Defy, #1)
Release Date: January 7, 2014
Publisher: Scholastic Press; 336 pages
A lush and gorgeously written debut, packed with action, intrigue, and heart-racing romance.

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?
Saying I love this book is putting it mildly. That's like saying I love books. I don't just love books, I need books just like I need more of this series. Seriously. I'm going to be honest here and say Defy hadn't really been on my radar for long. Sure, I heard of it but it wasn't a book I was seeking out. Then, netgalley went and sent that invitation email to read this book and I can't pass up that opportunity. It's the best way to get me to read books that were on my radar but not really on my radar. Let me tell you, it was the best decision I have made in a long time. I've already gone and pre-ordered my copy of this book because I need to hold it in my hands and hug it and just sit on my shelf with all my other pretties. I tore through this book, I kid you not. I was at work, you know, supposed to be working but instead I was sneaking off places with my phone and just reading in dark corners when I could. I read half of the book that way. Yes, you read that right - I read half of this book in dark corners while at work (ssssh, don't tell my boss).

Fantasy books are my weakness; you throw one my way and it's almost a guarantee I will pick it up and devour it (almost always). From start to finish, I was invested in this book. From the moment we meet Alexa, watching as her parents are murdered, to the end when . . . oh, I'm not telling you the end. My heart broke within the first few chapters and it never mended. But it broke in the best possible way.

Alexa, who goes by Alex, hides the fact that she's a girl, in order to survive. Her fighting skills are great enough to get her in to the army along side her twin brother, Marcel, who have both moved up to the Prince's personal guard. I love love LOVE the relationship between these two - I have a soft spot for great sibling relationships in books. Surprisingly, I don't read enough of them so when I do, I grab on to it and hug the {bleep} out of it (yes, I just censored myself).

I know love triangles are very common and overdone in YA books, I know this but you guys - this is a love triangle I can totally ship. I love both Rylan and Damian. Both very different guys but both spectacular in their own ways. I like them for Alexa and I like them on their own. This doesn't happen often. Actually, in fact, there's only one other love triangle that comes to mind that I love as much as this and that would the Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare triangle; Will, Tessa and Jem. When a love triangle is done properly, you should have trouble deciding which guy you like more. Though, I'll be honest, I'm leaning (slightly) more toward one guy but it didn't start out that way. I saw the triangle from the beginning and I was so eager to see where it would progress because, remember, to everyone else Alexa is a boy.

Both of the boys are fantastic, strong leading men. One is her boss, in a sense, and the other is her co-worker - if we're comparing these characters to work. I don't know where that comparison came from but there you have it. Prince Damian is a diva, to put it mildly, a spoiled, angry brat like we imagine all royalty to be. His father is worse - he's pure evil and he needs to be stopped. There is an ongoing war going on between two kingdoms and it doesn't look like it's letting up any time, soon.  The further in to this book you get, the more you learn about how rotten King Hector is. The more you want to get up and fight alongside Alexa to take him down. The one thing the King hates more than his enemies are Sorcerers. He wishes them all dead and he doesn't allow them in his kingdom. There are so many surprises along the ride regarding Sorcery and it gets me so excited for the next book.

I know this review is very vague but I'm having so much trouble putting my feelings in to words for this book. If I keep going, I'm just going to gush and fangirl over this book and trust me, you don't want to read that. I also am not big fans of comparing this series to other series but I can't help myself. If you are fans of Rae Carson's Fire and Thorns trilogy or Sarah J. Maas' Throne of Glass series, you'll want to check this book out. It is right up our alley (which is why I probably love Defy so much, I'm a huge fan of these two series. Like obsessed huge.). If this book isn't on your 2014 list of books to buy, it needs to be.

Thank you so much to Scholastic and netgalley for allowing me the chance to read this book in exchange for an honest review.


  1. Wooww! That was a really awesome review. You've sold me! I always love a good fantasy too. If the love triangle is anything like Jem and Will, I'm pretty sure it'll be amazing. You've put this book on my radar now! Thank you for sharing. :D

  2. Yay! I'm so glad you liked my review & it's convinced you to read this book! I don't think the love triangle is as great as Will/Tessa/Jem but it's definitely up there, you know? I really hope you enjoy the book!!!

  3. Yay! So glad you liked this so much. Me too. And I've read some lukewarm ones so I'm happy I'm not alone in loving this.

  4. Wonderful review! I too LOVED this book! So glad you liked it!


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