Defy by Sara B. Larson
Release date: January 7th, 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
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?
First thoughts? MULAN! Yes, the comparisons between the movie and this book are bound to happen. A young girl disguises herself as a man to become a soldier during a war. But this book has so much more going on! Besides a tough heroine, it has magic, evil sorcerers, a mysterious prince and a kingdom at the brink of collapsing.
The story is about Alexa (or Alex) who watches as her parents are murdered by a sorcerers. To save her from a life as prostitute, her quick thinking twin brother cuts of her hair and helps her pretend to be a boy. Excellent with a sword, Alexa and her brother become members of the prince’s personal guard and must protect him from assassins. I really liked Alexa. She’s tough but still feminine. It’s also completely believable that she could pass off as a male guard because of her skills with a sword. Her father had trained her alongside her brother. There were also magical elements involved, but I won’t go into that. You need to read the book!
Now, there was a love triangle. I usually avoid love triangles at all costs, but it was so obvious who she was going to chose that I didn’t mind. The other love interest was there, he sulked, but it wasn’t the main focus of the story. That said, it didn’t have to be in the novel at all. It didn’t really add or takeaway from the story at all. It was just…there. What I really did like was Damien, the male lead. I completely disliked him at the beginning of the book. Too stuck up and rude for my liking, but poof! I suddenly found myself liking A LOT! I don’t want to give things away, but he’s one of those characters that are not what they seem. He’s full of secrets and surprises.
So, I loved the book! It was a fast paced read that I stayed up all night to finish. The plot was pretty predicable, a battle between good vs. evil, but you forgot about that because the world and characters draw you in. It’s a fun escape and an adventure I can’t wait to continue in the sequel, Ignite.