Defy - Sara B. Larson

So check out the books blurb…


A lush and gorgeously written debut, packed with action, intrigue, and a thrilling love



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?





When I read the description for Defy, I was excited to read it. To me it sounded like it was going to be similar to Eon, or Throne of Glass or Graceling. And for the first half of the book it was like those others…. But then it wasn’t.


Obviously we know what Alex’s secret is… He is a she who is Alexa. To save her life, Alexa’s twin brother Marcel hacked off her hair after their village was attacked to prevent her from being discovered as a girl and sent to the Breeding Houses. Yes, I said breeding houses and yes, it is what you think! In case you are dense, the breeding house is where all girls are sent to await being raped by soldiers in order to provide bodies to the Kings pointless war. A war started because a Sorcerer from Belvon killed the Queen.


Alex and Marcel lie about their age so that they are able to join the army. Eventually they move up in rank and join the Prince’s Guard. But Alex is the better fighter, in fact the best of the Prince’s Guard. An attempt was made on the Prince’s life and Alex is tasked to basically babysitting the Prince.


Let me stop here…


So we already know about Alex, then someone finds out her secret and all of a sudden years of acting like a boy go down the drain and she started blubbering like a baby. She also flushes, and blushes and does all these girly things. Apparently everything that she learned to keep herself alive is forgotten when her hormones rage. It’s rather pathetic, she should have been this warrior chick wielding a sword and slaying enemies. Instead, she lets the enemy get the drop on her, on multiple occasions. She also expects full disclosure from everyone and acts like a heartbroken little girl when she finds out that there are some things that she is not meant to know.


Then there is the Prince of Antion Damain who acts like a petulant little entitled brat. Somehow he turns out to be a love interest and I’m not exactly sure how. There’s a little bit of instalove going on. Prince Damian turns out to be not that bad, but like all bad love triangles he’s got split personality disorder and never fails to act like a total and complete tool. He is also the reason Alex acts like a little girl because he keeps all his secrets to himself. She feels like she can’t trust him and blah blah blah!


Rylan is the last corner of this highly ridiculous love triangle who was instantly put in the friend zone but doesn't realize it. He played the jealous corner really well. Kind of like he’s Jacob and Prince Damian is Edward.


I could have done without the whole love triangle and the middle half of the book. I enjoyed Defy until the middle, when everyone started to admitting that they knew Alex’s “secret”. She went from being a bad ass soldier with a wicked sword to a love struck whiny girl. I also enjoyed the end of the book, where everything comes together. There was a lot of foreshadowing in the book, almost too much. It left nothing to the imagination. By the time the end came I pretty much knew what was going to happen and why.


I would like to read the second one when it comes out, just to see where it will go. I just hope that it will be a little less Twilight like in the way the characters act.


This ARC was provided by Scholastic via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.