{Review} Defy by Sara B. Larson

January 30, 2014 Reviews, Young Adult 8 ★★★½

YA Review
Defy by Sara B. Larson
Kindle Edition, 336 pages
Published January 7th 2014 by Scholastic Press
Age Group: Young Adult
Series: Defy #1
Source: eARC from publisher (via NetGalley)

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

Defy is the first book in a new young adult fantasy series. It is about a young girl named Alexa that is forced to cut off her hair and act like she is a boy in order to survive. Her and her twin brother, Marcel join the royal family’s guard, when a war break out. Alexa becomes Alex and she is a truly gifted fighter. She is pretty much better than all of the other guards. I liked reading the sparring and fight scenes in Defy because her fighting ability was my favorite thing about Alexa. I loved watching her best pretty much any guy she was up against. Defy is a good start to what looks like it will be a good fantasy series.

I want to continue the series, because I am invested and interested in the characters but there were a few things about Defy that kept me from going from like to love. The whole setting of the book was a country torn apart in war, and I never really found out why. We learned some of the reasons later on, but I wanted more of a back story on the war and on what was going on in the countries. Some more details about the people added in throughout the story. I am hoping we will learn more about the different heritages and groups of people in the next book.

There is a love triangle in Defy. And while this in and of itself is not a negative for me, I came up on the wrong side of the love triangle. I fell in love with one of the guys and I was rooting for him so badly. I haven’t given up hope yet. Things can really turn around in the next book. The two guys vying for Alexa’s attention were Rylan, a fellow guard, and Prince Damian. Both of the guys were likable, but I had an instant draw to one of them. The other just had too many secrets. I couldn’t bring myself to ever fully trust him. All is revealed towards the end, but it was too late for me. I had already fallen for the other guy. So I was a tad disappointed when Alexa didn’t seem to feel the same way as me.

I really loved the writing in Defy. I thought that the characters were fleshed out and the story flowed along at a great pace. There wasn’t as much action as I was initially expecting, but the fighting and excitement really picked up at the end. I admired Alexa for her strength and will at the start for pretending to be a boy and having to hide herself from everyone, but it seemed like so many people knew her secret. And as soon as the cat was out of the bag with a few of the main characters, Alexa because noticeably more emotional and kind of girly. A few times during the story, I found myself liking her more when she was pretending to be Alex. That is not to say that I didn’t like Alexa or that I found her to be annoying, because I didn’t. She is a tough girl and very brave, and even her more girly side was not annoying. I just wasn’t expecting her personality to change quite as much as it did sometimes. Overall though Defy was a good read. Fans of romance and fantasy should check out Defy. I really enjoyed the story and it has the potential to become a great series!



*Note this post contains affiliate links. Any/all money made through my amazon affiliate account goes back into the blog for giveaways.

About Sara B. Larson

Sara B. Larson is the best-selling and critically acclaimed author of the YA fantasy DEFY trilogy (DEFY, IGNITE, and ENDURE) and the DARK BREAKS THE DAWN duology. Her next YA fantasy, SISTERS OF SHADOW AND LIGHT, comes out November 5th from Tor Teen. She can’t remember a time when she didn’t write books—although she now uses a computer instead of a Little Mermaid notebook. Sara lives in Utah with her husband, their four children, and their Maltese, Loki. She writes in brief snippets throughout the day and the quiet hours when most people are sleeping. Her husband claims she should have a degree in “the art of multitasking.” When she’s not mothering or writing, you can often find her at the gym repenting for her sugar addiction.

Michelle @ Book Briefs

8 Responses to “{Review} Defy by Sara B. Larson”

  1. Evie Seo

    Great review, Michelle! I completely agree, the setting wasn’t developed nearly enough, especially considering it’s a fantasy book and the setting plays a big part. I couldn’t help but feel confused at times. I definitely needed more information about the world, the conflict, the history and the cultural aspects.

    The major thing for me was Alexa though. Sure, she could fight, but it was… weird. I mean, we kept on hearing about her extraordinary skills and how good and strong and fast she was, but there wasn’t much in terms of ACTION. Mostly just words. It kind of annoyed me. I guess I expected more from her, maybe I wanted a heroine that would be more like Mulan, or Katniss. Alexa wasn’t it. Alexa was, well, girly.

    And I really didn’t care for the love triangle, either. It bothered me that it took such a huge chunk of the plot.

    Personally, I’m not sure if I’ll be continuing on with the series, but I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts if you decide to pick up the sequel! 🙂 Great review!!

  2. Alyn Yang

    I really want to read this book but I hope it doesn’t disappoint me like Throne of Glass did. I want to read and see in my mind a woman that is as great as she is supposed to be. I don’t want to hear about how great she is and get only one or two scenes to try and back up how great of a fighter she is. I’m one of those people that likes to be shown stuff, not just be told. Yes, it’s a bad world they live in but how is it bad? Well, I will still pick up a copy but I’ll have to wait until my library gets it.

  3. kimbacaffeinate

    Reviews are all over for this, and I admit despite issues I am very curious. I have decided to wait for reviews of book two before taking the plunge. I do hope you get your wish regarding the love triangle and that there is more world-building. Lovely review!

  4. Heidi@Rainy Day Ramblings

    I can’t make up my mind on this one. I have read some glowing reviews and some very negative ones. I am a stickler for world building so that would be an issue for me. Love triangle as well because I almost always come up on the wrong end of them as well.

  5. Lark @ The Bookwyrm's Hoard

    As Kimba said, the reviews are pretty mixed on this one, and yours reflects the same ambivalence: you liked it BUT. Worldbuilding and Alexa’s skills and personality seem to be the biggest issues. Thanks for the heads-up, as Defy is next on my reading schedule.

  6. Jaime Lester

    I am so up in the air about this book. I have read several reviews, and they range from bad to good with not much in between. It sounds like a book that I would enjoy, so I suppose that I just have to follow my instincts and decide that way. Either way, I love to read so it isn’t going to hurt me to try this one out!

  7. Ashfa

    I’m still on the fence about this one…. Love the fact that the writing is excellent but the love triangle is what irks me. Great review!

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