Title: Defy (Defy #1)
Author: Sara B. Larson
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Release date: January 7th 2014
Buy on: Amazon | B&N | BookDepository
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?
I have always liked stories where a girl has to dress as a boy for some reason that only she knows and to see all the things she has to do to not be discovered..So I really enjoyed Alexa´s story.
In the prologue we see fourteen years old Alexa and her twin brother Marcel, in front of their house on fire and devastated by the murder of their parents, so at that moment as orphans there is only one future for them, because when the king´s army arrives, Marcel will be "recruited" in the army and Alexa will be forced to "serve" in the breeding house, and because that´s a future that none of them wants for Alexa, they decide to disguise her as a boy and so they can join the army. Three years later in the present Alex and Marcel are in the elite guard of Prince Damian and despite having seventeen years old, everyone believes they actually have twenty and Alex is the best swordsman in their group, that´s why after an attempt on the life of prince Damian, she is assigned to stand guard all the time out of his bedroom, so when Damian prince is kidnapped, Alex and Rylan end up being taken hostage along with him.
Alex is strong, smart, agile and the more skilled with a sword in Principe Damian´s elite guard, she has to pretends to be a guy to not end up in the "breeding house"; at the beginning of the book this place is described and only remembering about it gives me chills, because all orphan girls of all ages must be brought to the house and once they reach their reproductive age, they´re forced to have sex with the soldiers, in order to get pregnant and have so many future soldiers as they can. So despite being a girl, Alexa does her best to control her feelings and not let them compromise her, so despite being surrounded by men (some of them very attractive), she tries to feel nothing for any of them especially her best friend Rylan, which she has begun to notice but try not to think about him much, since her main concern is to not be discovered.
Something I did not like about the book is the love triangle ... because it always has to be the best friend the odd one because al though Alex has been attracted to Rylan for some time, she had never allowed herself to do anything with that feeling for obvious reasons, so when she begins to interact more with Prince Damian inside and outside of the palace she gets to know a new facet of him, so Alex feels attracted to Damian.
Overall, the book is action-packed with intrigue, romance and very entertaining. The story has potential to improve in the following books and I liked the addition of the sorcerers .... when they make references to fire sorcerers I had a flashback and I remembered the Invernos of the trilogy Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson, but not as good as the latter.
Something that annoyed to many, but I didn´t mind much was that ...
Is that when they finally discover that Alex is a woman, she ceases to be so tough and starts to behave like a girl and begins to blush (a lot) every time she´s near Prince Damian.
But in the end I really enjoyed it and I would like to read the next book.
I received an eARC of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange of an honest review.