by Sara B Larson
Published by Scholastic Inc. on January 7, 2014
Genres: Young Adult Fantasy
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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?
I LOVED Defy!! Author Sara B. Larson does an incredible job of creating a fantasy story with all the elements that I love – mystery, action, swoon worthy characters, and the battle between good vs evil. This fantasy story reminded me of The Game of Thrones, which I am a HUGE fan of!!
Alex/Alexa is forced to pretend to be a boy in the Prince’s guard. Even though she has to maintain a strong and masculine mask to everyone, the author allowed us to see the softer side. As a guard she was loyal to her Prince but internally struggles with her disapproval of the King’s treatment of the people. Alex is a strong female character which I always love seeing in a young adult novel. She’s been pretending to be a boy for so many years, Alex is now dealing with her teenage hormones and realizes her attraction to the men in her life, Prince Damian and fellow guard Rylan. But we discover that they also have some secrets, that are just as shocking as Alex’s secret. A love triangle develops and I can’t decide who I like best for Alex. Both men are handsome and caring, and I couldn’t help but also cheer for both of them.
I thought the writing was flawless and this is an impressive debut. My only complaint is that I wished the synopsis did not reveal so much of the story. As I started reading Defy I couldn’t help but wonder when the trio will finally be held captive – so the synopsis did spoil the story for me. But I still LOVED this book and I can’t wait to read the next book!! I highly recommend this book to all fantasy fans!