by Sara B. Larson
Ebook, 336 pages
Published January 7th, 2014 by Scholastic, Inc
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 setting is AMAZING. The story sets mainly in Antion, which is a fantasy kingdom set in a jungle. It’s so rare to see jungle setting in a book other than about camping, so it’s interesting to see how the people build a life from the forest and how they going through life through the heat and humidity of the forest.
- Our main character, Alex (or Alexa) is a buttkicking female character! She kicks butt literally as she is part of the Prince’s guard, but she’s also fierce, quick in logical thinking and strategizing, and not afraid to stand up for what she believes in.
- The plot is soo good, there are a lot of plotting and political intrigue between the kingdom involving sorcerers and assassins.
- The pacing is quick, we got around knowing the kingdom and the people and then we got plenty of action along the way. It’s refreshing to read a fast paced book after some slow paced one.
- I should’ve run the other way when I saw “thrilling love triangle” but I didn’t, and now I pay the price.
- Alexa, a fierce prince’s guard, became soft, and not in a good way. She turned from being logical to not being able to think about anything except of how gorgeous Damian is, how blue his eyes are and all other physical superiorness Damian have that she reminds us every pages of the book.
- The romance overtook the badass plot and it became cringe worthy. When there are fight scenes, all Alexa thinks about is Damian’s figure. When they are strategizing, all she thinks about is how blue his eyes are. And so on. There is not a moment where Alexa is focusing at the task at hand after the romance started.
- Love triangle what? It was obvious who Alexa would ended with since the first love interest made his appearance, the second interest is just wasting his time. The overall romance is not well-developed and they are bordering on insta-love.
- The villains are not fleshed out well. We do not know their motives or intention and their evilness and ultimately, their demise, feel comical.
- Due to the fast pacing, the characters became underdeveloped. What’s worse, all the characters are very trope-y. Alexa is the badass female character, Damian is the bad boy with more beneath the surface, and Ryland is the best friend. I would love to get to know them better, which the story actually give a lot time to, but instead of getting to know the main characters, those time were used to advancing the romance.
Overall? Defy is an interesting fantasy story with fast paced and intriguing plot, as well as different setting. Sadly, the characters were underdeveloped and the romance ended up overtaking the plot. Despite the promising start, it fell into trap with all the tropes it have and ended up being a generic and unmemorable story.