ARC Review: Defy (Defy #1) by Sara B. Larson
I received this book for free from the mentioned source in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book nor the content of my review.
Defy by Sara B. Larson
Series: Defy #1
Published by: Scholastic Inc. on 1/07/2014
Genres: Fantasy, High Fantasy, Magic, YA
View on: Goodreads
Grab it: Buy on Amazon
About the Book:
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?
Defy is a captivating High Fantasy debut novel that left me breathless chapter after chapter. Set in both a brutal and magical world, Larson delivers a magnetic cast of characters littered with secrets, hidden agendas, and enough jaw-dropping moments to keep readers eagerly thirsting for more.
Alexa Hollen’s life is flipped upside down when her family is murdered by a sorcerer right in front of her eyes. With no options in front of them except for the breeding house and the king’s men knocking at their door, Alexa and her older brother Marcel decide to transform Alexa into Alex and join the king’s army. For several years the disguise works. Both Alexa and Marcel quickly rise in the ranks of the army and become members of Prince Damian’s personal guard. Known as the skilled fighter Alex, Alexa is unbeatable and even manages to best the thirty-six year old captain of the guard. A feat no one has been able to do before. She takes pride in her skill and is always challenging herself to improve while maintaining the growing breasts and feminine curves hiding behind her uniform. Though with each day it was becoming increasingly more difficult to conceal her identity and the growing urges that come with growing up. And just when Alexa allows herself to feel safe among the other men, her world is slowly torn asunder when an attempt is made on Damian’s life and her brother is killed. Now, Alexa must decide who to trust in a world where everyone is keeping secrets.
Defy has a plot reminiscent of Throne of Glass. There is a great deal going on underneath the surface of this novel. While the politics and political schemes of each kingdom is very intriguing, it’s the nail-biting secrets that will keep readers engrossed and constantly on their toes. Each character plays an integral role in adding tension, love, hate, lies, and mystery to the plot. With the turn of each page and the end of each chapter there is something new to discover and more mystery to uncover. Alexa’s life is shrouded by deceit. Not only by people she considers her comrades but also by her own family. Discovering who to trust becomes a daunting task for our seventeen year old heroine and definitely proves that some deception is not always bad.
Over the course of the novel as we watch Alexa’s world come unraveled, we see a young girl who re-learns how to be a girl. Her values begin to shift, feelings for two worthy men become known, and she is forced to deal with her nontraditional beauty and self-esteem issues. Defy is a novel of true self discovery and personal growth. With so much loss and heartache surrounding many of the characters readers are often times left wondering will Alexa survive or will she succumb to all the emotions. I felt for her. I cried for her. Mostly, I cheered Alexa on as she found her way when often times the author led us to believe there was no way. Defy left me in awe of its world, its characters, and its amazing story of loving others more than you love yourself and the sacrifices people make for one another. It’s a story I highly recommend for fans of extraordinary high fantasies with spellbinding worlds and beautifully written characters.