Monday, 20 January 2014

A Review for Defy by Sara B. Larson

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Posted by Donna
Release Date: January 7th, 2014
Finished Date: January 19th, 2014
Publishers: Scholastic Press
Genre: YA, Fantasty, Romance
Source: For Review
Format: eARC
Pages: 336
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?

The Review: "It's always been you, you know that, right? From the first moment I realized you were a girl - it was always you."

What a fantastic debut novel by Sara B. Larson - Defy just stole a piece of my heart!

At the age of 14 after witnessing the death of their parents, Alex and her twin brother Marcel are forced to lie to the King of Antion in order to stay to together and train to fight to protect their country. Their lie is that Alex is really Alexa - a girl. If Alexa is ever discovered she will be forced into a life in the breeding houses, where she will be forced to breed new warriors for the Kings war. Three years later, Alexa and Marcel are now apart of the King's elite guards and guard the kings spoiled and arrogant son - Prince Damian. And with Marcel doing everything in his power to keep Alexa save - even though she's the best fighter amongst the guards - what could go wrong? It's not until something happened that Alexa is suddenly thrown in Prince Damian's life, more closely than ever, so keeping her secret is even more important than ever. When Prince Damian is kidnapped by a powerful sorcerer, Alex and her close friend Rylan are taken too. It is there they discover something much more disturbing than the war that has been happening - the truth. Alexa and her friends have a chance to change thing once and for all, but it's not going to be easy.....but can they do it?

I first came across Defy a few months ago and knew I wanted to read it, and after just literally finishing this book, I'm bursting with so many different emotions that I feel I need to shout at the top of the roof tops, READ THIS BOOK NOW! It honestly feels like such a long time since I've felt this much passion towards a book, that I feel the need to write a review straight away. I was worried before I started reading because I had seen a few mixed reviews, but I'm so glad I never let them put me off because Defy really did take my breath away...and I urge you all to read it.

What drew me to Defy in the first place was the whole 'Disney Mulan theme' going on - I don't know if that it was intentional, but either way, it completely worked for the world that Sara B. Larson has created. Alexa's world is scarily terrifying if you're a girl/women, or even if you're a boy/man. Imagine growing up in a world where you're choices are taken away from you, you're children are never safe and you're always in a war that has no signs of ever stopping because of a King that only cares about himself. Well that's what Defy was. But what a fantastic journey it was.

I completely adored Alexa from the get-go. There's just something about her character that makes you give her your full attention. Her story is not easy but some how she manages to get through. She's a strong and fast fighter - the best at what she does. And because she is the best, she's picked by Prince Damian to help protect him. Prince Damian is someone that hides his appearance and for one, I'm grateful he did. I don't want to tell you too much about his background because it will spoil the many surprises in this book, but I will tell you, it's very hard not to fall for the Prince. I loved Damian and Alexa's scenes together. They are both very secretive character and reading their stories unfold was amazing.....watching them try to trust each other was amazing. The love triangle isn't the main focus of the story but it's something you always think about mainly because we see Alexa struggling with her feeling for both the Prince and Rylan. I do believe there is a clear winner - and hopefully many of you will agree who that should be.

It wasn't just the characters that made me fall in love with this book, it was just everything about it. It's unique and written very well, it has many surprises along the way to keep you on your toes, and it has a very interesting history too. The ending was not at all predictable - if anything, I judged how this story would end before I even finished it, so I was certainly surprised that it ended the complete opposite of how I thought. It does have me questioning what's in store for the sequel, but I can't wait either way.

I for one can not wait for more from Sara B. Larson because Defy is a must read for 2014, and like I said before, I hope you'll be giving this new author a try, it's not one you want to miss out on.

"True beauty is what lies inside of us, not what the world sees. A beautiful shell that houses a vile soul becomes sullied over time. But an outer shell, imperfect as it may be, that houses a beautiful soul shines with that beauty, radiating it for all who have eyes to see."

3 comments:

Natalie Cleary said...

I agree with everything you said!!! I was hesitant to read it when it said there was a love triangle but it there wasn't really one!! Alexa had a clear favourite and they are perfect together. I loved it and am definitely getting the HB for my shelves :) Great review!!

Alexa Pages of Forbidden Love said...

Hmm this one sounds really good and I have to admit I like the name Alexa :)
I do think it sounds a lot like Tamora Pierce's books though and so it makes me wonder how different it will be. I want it to stand out not blend in with my favorite fantasy author's work.

Thanks for the great review!

Brandon said...

We did a book trailer for Defy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1M3Aj1SaDBM Let us know what you think and if you have any advice for us.