February 14, 2014

Review: Defy by Sara B. Larson

Title: Defy (Defy #1)
Author: Sara B. Larson
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Release date: January 7th 2014
Source: Netgalley
Format: egalley

Rating: 3.5/5

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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?

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 ...
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.


  1. I'm really excited to read this book. I keep hearing a lot of positive - also negative - things about it but I'll just see for myself. Besides, I love high fantasy books with kick-ass leads (absolutely love Fire and Thorns) so I hope this doesn't disappoint. I also love a good love triangle in a book but I hear this has a bad one and the a lot of readers didn't like it. Including you :) But I'm glad to hear you enjoyed it overall.

  2. I heard so many great feedback about the book, I really, really want to read it. I'm quite hesitant though 'cause I'm not a big fan of love triangles and sometimes the romance just ruins a book for me.
    Great review! :)

  3. I really want to read this book because even though everyone is saying it is only so so it reminds me of Tamora Pierce's Tortall series. In that series she has plenty of women having to dress as men in order to try to save themselves from fates they do not desire. Plus I have to say I love the main character's name ;)

  4. Ugh! I guess reading the blurb, I hoped that just because two men loved her, doesn't mean she can't choose between them. Wishful thinking. Regardless of that, I really like the sound of Defy. I think there is a distinct possibility that I could really enjoy this one!

  5. I've read and heard so many good things about this book so I was really excited to read it. I just love books about girls disguising as guys and all the things that could potentially happen once its discovered that he is actually a she :)) hopefully it is as good as it sounds.

  6. I have this book but haven't had the time to read it yet. I'm not sure how I feel about the love triangle but I'll figure it out.

  7. I've read a lot of good reviews about this book. Thanks for sharing yours! Adding this to my TBR list.

  8. Defy was was one of my most anticipated reads on 20124 but I don't think I'll read it. Not after the reviews I read on GR mentioning that the love triangle was unbearable. It looks like the book lacks word building too.

  9. This book sounds really good, but I wish there wasn't a love triangle. You can create romantic drama between just two people, after all. I think I'll pick it up anyway. :)