Defy By Sara B. Larson

Author: Sara B. Larson
Category: Young Adult
Publisher: Scholastic
Release Date: 1-7-14
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? – Goodreads














Defy took the girl hiding in plain sight trope and introduced a world and a story that, while not perfect, was certainly fun to read.  Alexa and her twin brother watched their parents slaughtered and have ended up in the army.  The world of Defy was horrific in places, with a King that “breeds” soldiers by enslaving women who are unprotected.  When reading about these horrible houses here the women are kept, you can certainly see why Alexa made the choice that she did.  As the story unravels, she is put into contact with a prince and a guard who end up becoming the only people she can really trust.  Alexa is string and tough, and the many well written fighting sequences really drove that point home.  Some of the twists seemed a bit predictable, but I did like the world where the story took place.  It was full of secrets and magic, which is always a plus, for me.

Yes, there is a love triangle.  I have never found them to be problematic, so it was not an issue for me, but I did feel that the three really weren’t developed as characters, especially Rylan.   However, I think that the action of this book was the focus of the story.  The battles and espionage were integral to developing the world, so while I wanted more from the people, I still felt it was a good story. Overall, this was a solid first book in a series.  Those that like fantasy will be pleased, I think, and it moved at a good pace without hitting any slow spots.  I would like to see more character development for Alexa as well as for the Rylan an the Prince.  I am intrigued by the way the two Kingdoms interact and I feel that there are still stories that will be told about the history between the two places, so I will be looking for the next installment in this new series.

I received this galley in exchange for my honest review.

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12 responses to “Defy By Sara B. Larson

  1. At first, I was all gunho for this book but a love triangle? Ehhh. Not sure if I like that. I hope that the action will over power the love triangle and maybe I could read it.

  2. This one was a decent read for me. I really like the world and how different it was for high fantasy, (more jungles please!). The love triangle was kind of pointless…it didn’t really need to sold as a ‘love triangle’ in the summary because I barely noticed. I’m glad you enjoyed it and I’m hoping to see more character depth in book two.

  3. I’m not a big fan of love triangles, but some of the reviews I’ve read say it develops in a non-annoying way, so I’m willing to overlook that part. I’m not happy to hear that the three characters aren’t very well developed, but the action sounds cool. I think I’ll check this one out. Thanks for your balanced review!

  4. I didn’t particularly enjoy Defy, sadly. I wanted to like it, as I’m a big fantasy fan, but it really disappointed me. I think I just wanted MORE of everything — especially a connection with the characters and story. Glad to hear that you at least liked it more than I did!

  5. Oh, it’s so nice to read a positive review of this book for a change! I haven’t read it yet because the Graceling-esque cover made me suspicious.

    And I’m not terribly fussed by love triangles, either–I actually find them to be really compelling sometimes.

  6. I felt almost the exact same way about this one! Not a favorite, but a solid start to a new fantasy series. I didn’t really see the point of Rylan’s character. We learned next to nothing about him and I almost felt like he was there just to force the love triangle which kinda annoyed me. I hope in the next book he either kinda falls out of the picture (which I don’t think will happen) or he gets way more developed. I did love Prince Damian and I am dying to know more about him. I definitely wanted more politics so I’m hoping we see that in subsequent books as well.

  7. this sounds intense!! I don’t really mind love triangles either, but it sucks to hear that you think the characters weren’t really developed! Still plan to check it out though! Great review!
    – Farah

  8. Love triangles never keep me from reading a book. Most of the time I don’t mind them either, especially if they were present in the first book like this one. It’s when they pop up in sequels that I get upset. lol Anyways back to the book, glad to hear this was a solid first book in a series for you!

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